Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: Family Chess Training–The Odds Game

The Odds Game is a practical way to introduce family chess competition once the children have grasped the basics of piece movement and general rules that govern chess play.  In many cases, it is quite probable that sons and daughters learn to play chess outside  the family circle and to share this joy with mom and dad requires a reverse learning role.  It would be most desireable to have a chess book that explains and teaches the elements–how pieces move and capture; the purpose of pawns and pawn promotion; checkmate of the King.

Lets assume that with this accomplished the most inexperienced (beginner or novice) may find interest lost with initial setbacks.  To remedy this and encourage  practice to make such play enjoyable and a challenge, the idea for introducing a handicap system was developed as given here:

  1. Pawn and move; the pawn removed is always the f7 pawn. (KBP);
  2. Pawn f7;  and two moves;
  3. Minor piece–remove the white side Q-Knight; move Q-Rook Pawn  ( a2-a3 )
  4. Remove the  a1Q-Rook;
  5. Remove the a1 Q-Rook and minor piece (Q-Bishop or Q-Knight);
  6. Remove the  d1Queen;
  7. Remove the (a1/h1 ) two Rooks;

Paul Morphy was noted for giving Q-Knight odds after returning from Europe against the top players assembled so such odds play existed probably since the modern rules were in place. In the 1800s according to The British Chess Annual such play was seen also in organized handicap tournaments. The rules were changed and eventually such Odds tournaments were discontinued as organized events. This was most likely due to the introduction of the chess rating systems employed at the time.

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