Bonus Post 5 – A Boy Scouts Chess Merit Badge Problem

This week we welcome one of Mike’s fellow chess instructors to the podcast.

In preparation for this, let’s look at a game Mike recently played with an unnamed Boy Scout for the Chess Merit Badge (one of six Merit Badges Mike is a registered counselor for). Mike is playing White (which always goes first).

Here is the notation:

  1. d4 c6
  2. Nf3 Qa5+
  3. Qd2 Qxd2+
  4. Bxd2 g6
  5. e3 Na6
  6. Bd3 Nc7
  7. 0-0 Ne6
  8. Nb3 Bh6
  9. h3 b6
  10. d5 Bb7
  11. dxe6 dxe6
  12. Ne5 Rd8
  13. Nxc6 Bxc6
  14. Ne4 Nf6
  15. Nxf6+ exf6
  16. Rae1 Kf8
  17. Bb4+

Game ends on time. White wins 1-0.

The final board position for this particular game. Mike would later use this for chess school lessons.

Key takeaways from this game:

  • A good opening should include: getting both knights out, getting both bishops out, and castling in the first 10 moves (it takes a minimum of 7 moves to do). No where in this description does it say take the queen out on the second turn of the game. In fact, taking a queen out early blatantly violates Wheaton’s Law!
  • The primary purpose of getting these pieces out early is what we call “development” in chess. The notation clearly proves Black has poor development – not only in taking his queen out early, but also moving the same knight 3 straight turns. If the piece were properly developed, the knight would only need to move once in the opening moves.
  • Black also failed to castle.
  • Somehow both sides have equal strength at the end of the game.
Always remember Wheaton’s Law!

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