The Chess Tutor is a Windows program for the learning of chess, based on the internationally successful Stappenmethode by Brunia/van Wijgerden, with which more than 400 000 children and young people have already learned chess. Cor van Wijgerden is a chess IM (International Master) and a former national trainer for the Netherlands; he also, being a teacher, has the necessary pedagogical background.
In the first step, the elementary knowledge is acquired which every successful chess player needs. It is here that the Stappenmethode differs fundamentally from other teaching methods. For example, at the start delivering checkmate plays no part. After all, you do start learning to drive with parking. The early stages of the program thus present easily comprehensible steps and exercises, which are immediately assimilated through play. In addition, in the Chess Tutor the Stappenmethode is complemented by a lot of new activities for learning and practice.
The second step is about the basic rules of tactics and positional play. You will learn many attacking patterns and techniques to win material. Many built-in games and exercises will help you with this.
In the third step you will learn the basics about openings and fundamental endgames, followed by an introduction to planning and further work on tactics.
None of the chess positions and the practice exercises in the program have yet been published, meaning that even those who know the Stappenmethode will be able to discover much that is new to them.
The Chess Tutor brings a new dimension to the learning of chess: it has solid pedagogical foundations, it is effective… and enormous fun. It constitutes the ideal starting point for children and adults of all ages – a fact which has already been confirmed many thousands of times.
After its first few weeks on the market, the most frequently asked question before purchase has been: What is the difference between the “old” Tasc Chess Tutor and the new Tutor?
Here at a glance are some of the most important differences:
- Under the surface of the program, another program is working, a chess program, an engine. The old Tasc Tutor was not able to play chess, which of course was an enormous failing. Every reply from the user had to be anticipated. The sheer weight of the numbers involved led to there being usually only the answer “The answer is wrong”. Now the response is much more flexible (“The king is in check, but Black still has a move.”) and the computer demonstrates the reply. The user learns much more like that.
- The fact that there is a chess program now makes it possible to employ the knowledge which has just been acquired. Positions can be played out to a finish and even complete games can be played. In Step 1 even a beginner is able to win, because the engine plays badly, yet in an intelligent way. It also sometimes loses pieces and allows itself to be checkmated.
- A special chess program was developed for the games section: games without kings, trapping pieces, collecting coins, etc.
- Over the years, the print version of the Stappenmethode has also changed. A lot of new exercises have been added to the extra booklets, exercises which are not only useful but also fun. Exercises of this sort (e.g. the rout planner) have also been included in the Tutor.
- Every step now contains much more material. Almost every lesson consists of: an introduction, basic exercises, games, extra exercises, tests and the opportunity to play games of chess. All in all, approximately 1700 tasks and 60 learning games.
- Naturally there has been an enormous leap forward in the graphics capabilities of computers. Good use is made of this in the Tutor. Learning is supported by graphic symbols, numbers and letters.