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May 2 - Chess Puzzles

HYPOTHESIS: Having kids teach each other helps lessons stick. 

PROCEDURE: For the start of Chess Puzzles this morning, as we've done the past few months, I quizzed Lyric (my youngest) on the six chess pieces. He got 5 of 6 again (still a little tough to remember the bishop!) - no progress, but no steps back, so I'll take it. For what it's worth, he was calling a knight a knight (instead of "horse") and a rook a rook (instead of a "castle"). 

But then I switched it up a bit by having Zephyr (my oldest) teach Lyric how each piece moves. The responsibility thrilled Zephyr, and Lyric seemed to pay pretty close attention. I think it was a simple trick that reinforced the lesson for both kids. 

Then Zephyr and I set up for a game.  

Zephyr contemplates his first move.  

Zephyr contemplates his first move.  

I was impressed by Zephyr's focus this time... He seemed to pick up how to interpose with pawns since last we played.  

The main lesson I think I end up teaching Zephyr with Chess Puzzles is that a King in check can only do three things:  

  1. capture the checking piece
  2. interpose another piece between the checking piece and the King, or
  3. have the King flee

We go over those three options every time I put his King in check, and I think it's starting to sink in. Today, we ended on this position: 

Was it checkmate? We investigated.  

Was it checkmate? We investigated.  

As I got him in this position, we went over all the flight squares for the King and showed what piece would be covering that square, determining that yes, this was checkmate. Just in time as we had to leave for school.  

RESULTS: as I said, I could see some progress in Zephyr's game this morning, and Lyric paying attention to how the pieces moved was a big step forward for him. More to come, but once again, very happy with what we achieved.