top of page

Brentwood Coach Robin Slade Visits Colchester Juniors, and a New Month Means New Material

photos and written by Melinda Wilde

It has been an exciting few weeks at Colchester Junior Chess Club. We have continued with the Delancy UKCC Tournament, learned a lot about endgames, and were fortunate to have Brentwood School and Chelmsford Junior Chess Club Coach, Robin Slade, visit our juniors on Tuesday. I was so impressed with the children and could hear a pin drop during Robin's lesson. Needless to say, they enjoyed the visit from our guest coach!

We've said goodbye to checkmate patterns and endgame puzzles for the time being. But this month we have said hello to openings! We started our February learning material with our guest coach Robin Slade, who taught the beginners and advanced groups about openings.

Beginner's Group Photos

Beginners Group Session

The beginners had fantastic lessons from Robin and Coach Michael about the basics of chess development and why it is important to develop the chess pieces. Knowing how to correctly develop the chess pieces in the opening and doing it properly can easily determine the entire outcome of the game. Generally, this principle involves the minor pieces making their way out (they aren't too helpful stuck in the back rank). Normally, a player aims to take control of the centre of the board. Development also includes "castling" to protect the King and activate the Rooks. Also, be careful not to take the Queen out too early, as you do not want to lose the most powerful piece! It's important to have a purpose for each move, and not move the same piece twice while developing. Otherwise, it can slow down the process of development, and the opponent will have the advantage on the board. I'm sure your junior has learned a lot, so ask them to tell you more about what they're learning about the principles of openings in chess!

Check out this video from Mr.Animate all about Development of the Pieces, to learn more

Intermediate/Advanced Group Photos

Intermediate/Advanced Sessions

As players become more advanced in their game, they learn more "opening theory". This is to strengthen their understanding of development and strategy in the game. This week, the Intermediate/Advanced group learned not one, but two opening gambits. A gambit in chess is a chess opening in which a player risks one or more pawns or a minor piece to gain an advantage in the position. It can be risky, however, and not always favoured by the careful player. Nevertheless, it is important to learn them and how to react when they find themselves in this position in a game. Robin taught the group about the King's Gambit, and Coach Michael explained the positions of Benko Gambit. The chess Grandmaster Pal Benko popularized the Benko Gambit, which developed from the Benoni Defense.

Interested in learning more about the Benko Gambit? Watch this video by The Chess Giant

Has your Colchester Junior had an outstanding chess achievement that you'd like to share? It can be an achievement of any size, such as practising puzzles, reaching target goals, trying online tournaments to support the club, or even beating mum at chess! Snap a photo of your junior in a great moment of chess! Please share your club members' chess success, no matter how big or small, and a photo of your player to with 'chess success' as the subject.

Lastly, we'd also like to say an enormous thank you to John Duff Cole, who was a tremendous help to the club in January. John is the Chairman of the North Essex Chess League and Colchester Adults Team. He's been a friend and help of the club for some time, and we are so grateful when he comes to help our juniors. They appreciate it too... Thanks John!!

Hope you enjoyed this instalment of our chess blog. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with more from inside Colchester Junior Chess Club. :)


We'd like to share some details about a tournament that we hope many of our juniors will attend at the Brentwood School at the end of February. This is the first major over the board tournament held in Essex since the pandemic began. It is suitable for all levels of chess players. For more information, withdrawals and other enquiries, contact Robin Slade at or

The 6th Brentwood Junior Tournament

Organised by British Chess in partnership with Brentwood School and the Essex Junior Chess Association

Sunday 27th February

Registration from 9am, Play starts at 9.45am

Event and Entry Details:

Enter online at by clicking on Online Registration. Players must be entered by Thursday 24th February.

Payment will be collected in cash on the day.

Entry Fee £10 for ECF Silver Members. Entry Fee £15 for non-ECF members.

It is free to join the English Chess Federation as a junior for the first year. To claim the lower fee just include your ECF membership number on your entry. Players will need Junior Silver membership.


Courage Hall

Brentwood Senior School

Middleton Hall Lane

Brentwood, Essex

CM15 8EE

Hosted by Brentwood’s Director of Chess - British Blitz Champion and International Master Richard Pert - with Brentwood School coach Robin Slade

6 Rounds of ECF Rapid Rated Chess Games.

Click below for the full details of the tournament

Brentwood Tournament February 2022 (1)
Download DOCX • 51KB

72 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page