Specifically, Black is disadvantaged by always being one move behind. While being subject to this disadvantage, what is an effective method or exercise to teach children/beginners the following principles while opening as Black:

  • Control the center.
  • Protect (castle) the king.
  • Connect the rooks.
  • Rooks to the center file(s).

For instance, if I were to introduce the Caro-Kann Defense as a means to this end, would there be any of the above points that might be missed? Or if not missed, maybe points that might be better conveyed if learning them from a different defense?

  • Can you narrow the question a little, or clarify it? "Principles of defending as Black" is impossibly broad, whether you're teaching children or not. Given that answers to this question will necessarily be subjective (not a bad thing, but they WILL be) it is best to make sure it's focused from the start. Nov 11 '13 at 21:39
  • Ok @JonathanGarber, I've re-written it so I hope this reads as a little more focused.
    – Aaron
    Nov 11 '13 at 22:55
  • Because amateurs waste moves, and beginners doubly so, White's opening move advantage is basically nil after maybe the 4th move.
    – Tony Ennis
    Nov 12 '13 at 1:59

It seems that your question deviates from the the point that Black is at a disadvantage. Instead, you seem to mention opening principles that are color agnostic. Controlling the center, protecting the king, and developing pieces are the three key idea in the opening.

I wouldn't worry too much about teaching specifically attack and defense. These are actually higher-level concepts that are taught at a higher level.


Sorry, probably not the answer you're looking for, but I have taught a lot of kids to play chess.

The opening advantage is insignificant in games of kids vs. kids. In fact, I try not to make a point of it, or to leave it as an open question for them to answer.

All that being said, the best defense is a good offense. I just teach them to play active moves, to develop their pieces, and be aware that "loose pieces drop off" (Nunn). Let the pieces fly (whether literally or figuratively) and let God sort out the details.

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