This posting is Part Three of my review of J. Bosch & S. Giddins (Eds.), The chess instructor 2009. Alkmaar, The Netherlands: New in Chess. Part One was posted on Monday, November 2nd and Part Two on November 9th. In Part Three, I pick out some interesting guidelines and quotations from the chapter Alexander Vaisman: Honoured Trainer of the Ukraine. Vaisman begins by discussing God-given talent for chess. In his opinion, some children have that gift and others do not.
Blitz chess is a good way to see who has a talent. But a gift must be developed, through parents, general education, choosing a trainer, hard work, and tournament play. On the last topic, Vaisman has several interesting observations. First, he chides FIDE for holding world championships for students as young as 8 years old and under. He wrote, “The FIDE officials clearly do not care about the fact that such competitive burdens are undoubtedly harmful for the development of young children. There is no other branch of sport that runs World Championships at such age levels.” Vaisman recommends dividing chess preparation into tournament preparation (preparing for tournaments, playing in tournaments, and analysis of the performance) and general preparation (50% of one’s time).
This calculation means about 50 days or 50 games per year for actually playing in tournaments. In the US, where more than one game per day is usual for tournaments, I am guessing more games would be played. Vaisman’s upper limit for tournament games for a young player is 60 per year. For general preparation, Vaisman recommends general manuals of chess from Lasker Capablanca, Nimzowitsch, and Reti. These manuals can teach openings, middlegames, and endgames. Also important for general preparation are the laws of chess strategy and the games of past chess greats. Opening theory should wait until much later, because it is complex. Like building a house, start with the foundation (the general manuals) not with the roof (specific opening lines).