World Teacher's Day - Karel van Delft
Updated: Sep 29
This month on the 5th of October we will be celebrating World Teacher’s Day – so we decided to honor some of our more prominent Educators from across the Globe.
Currently in 2020, ChessMatec is being taught in over 1000 Schools spread throughout the World! Our comprehensive curriculum provides teachers with prepared lessons for beginner and intermediate students, and the necessary tools to easily create classrooms, import students, and see helpful metrics.
Today – we are giving the stage to one of ChessMatec’s leading Chess Teachers – Karel van Delft from the Netherlands!
Coach Karel is a Chess Teacher from the Netherlands! We asked him a couple of questions so that you can get to know him too!
Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience in chess training.
I am from Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, and I am 63 years old. I am a chess trainer, psychologist and journalist. I teach a lot chess in schools through my Chess Academy Schaakacademie Apeldoorn (Apeldoorn Chess Academy) in the Netherlands. I wrote a book called ‘Developing Chess Talent’ with my son, and I also work with special needs groups. As a psychologist I also do mental coaching for young aspiring talents, parents and adult chess players.
How long have you been teaching Chess to kids?
About 30 years.
What tools do you use to teach chess to young kids?
I like to use Chessmatec to teach Chess tactics, and Lichess to play. Also I currently use Zoom to train students Online.
What do you like about ChessMatec?
ChessMatec has a good structure - the levels are built up carefully. Children like it and its good since there is not much language involved. Also, its nice that there are tests and all kinds of games. In the old days one used to teach tactics on a demonstration board, the kids were passive and you had to try to reach kids on different levels and learning pace. With ChessMatec kids can work individually (or in duo's), and they can be active at their own level and in their own pace. As a teacher you can walk around and give a lot of individual attention. ChessMatec is a good example of learning through games.
What is your favorite theme to teach children?
I have several favorites. I Like immortal games or mini studies (or the end of a study), e.g. from my good friend IM Yochanan Afek, who is a GM in composing studies. Actually I use many methods. The basis of each training/lesson is Questions, Tactics, Game analysis, playing together, Varia.
What is the biggest challenge in teaching young kids?
I found that the biggest issue is using methods and material that correspond to the level of the kids and also keep them entertained.
What is your secret to being an awesome Chess Teacher?
Awesome is a big word, let’s be modest. Empathy is important. My teaching principles are Variation, Participation and Fascination. I teach chess by combining personal development in my students - social (analyzing together), emotional (saying goodbye to a lost game by learning from it), cognitive (ways of thinking like the traffic rule: if you cross the street first look for dangerous cars just like in chess - first think what can your opponent do) and also metacognition (think about yourself, as Lasker said: “you are the 17th chess piece”).
What is a piece of advice you can give to parents/teachers who are just starting to teach young kids chess?
First concentrate on the fun and learning, the winning comes later. In addition, try to learn from each position or game you have played. Doing your best is more important than the result. Use minigames, and make sure to give good feedback to students for doing their best, not for the result of the game.