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My kids (11 and 8) have started learning chess. Is it a good idea to beat them sometimes to discourage them?

Jimmy Wales

Here’s what I do.  Before we play, I ask my daughter if she wants to play “the teaching way” or straight.  “The teaching way” means that after each of her moves, I help her analyze it and suggest improvements and point out any errors that I see.  Such games tend to be very closely matched since, after all, it ends up being her+me against just me.

But she also enjoys playing straight sometimes, and then what’s fair is fair.

I think it’s absolutely a bad idea to let a kid win falsely to boost their confidence – it’s false confidence.  But I also don’t agree with a hardcore “never let them win until they force it”.  I have found my hybrid “teaching way” to allow me to teach her the game more quickly.

I should point out that she’s a lot smarter than I am and so I’m only hastening the time of my own doom. 🙂

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