The Developmental (Mentoring) Chess Game

Created by Ron Miller, 2003

Setting or Venue:

Where an Instructor plays a Student for purposes of developing and honing playing skills.

So a Parent can play with their Child and both experience challenge and fun.

When a Senior and a much Junior player want to play a serious game of it against each other, where their playing strengths are effectively equalized.

Rules for Mentor Chess:

Rules governing the playing of the Senior’s turn:

  1. The Senior player gives his two best move options for his turn, as he sees it, to the Junior player. The Junior player then does his evaluation of these 2 moves and picks (plays) the one he feels is the weakest (or that he can best play against).

  2. A capturing piece makes for fair game; the Senior can freely return capture, as he sees fit.

  3. Alternately, on the Senior’s turn he can choice to make the move he gave for his previous turn which was not selected by the Junior at that time.

  4. If the Senior has a mating, or mate in one, move he can take it,
    The two preceding optional play choices are valid only if taken before presenting the Junior with his two moves to choose from.

  5. If the Senior has the possibility to capture 1 of 2 pieces on the next turn (eg: fork), he can, prior to junior taking his turn, ‘call’ that he will take one or the other on his next turn, if possible.

The beauty of this form of handicapped Chess is:


The Senior player has to be patient. Play is very likely to be slow.

The novice player will be teaching themselves and developing their skills right before you. This takes time. Realize you are accomplishing just what you want.

It is advisable & likely beneficial, for the senior to present his 2 moves in writing.

The senior may find play unfair to him at times; but where one is unable or unwilling to lose one is not truly playing a game, nor will he experience as much fun, excitement or enrichment.

Play Developmental Chess ! Enjoy it ! Benefit from it !

Optional rules to better level the playing field.

Once the junior player catches on, it can be too difficult for the senior to keep from getting destroyed. Therefore these are some options which could be incorporated as needed.

With this last ‘Calling Ahead’ option rule 4 above would not be needed.

Depending on the disparity between the players only a portion or all of the rules may be used for a game. With a child just learning how the pieces move a parent may only use rule #1 until the child wins a few games in a row, then add rule 2 and 4, then later 1-4 continuing to give both sides an opportunity to win or lose while learning and developing better board awareness and skills.

Developmental Chess with the junior player steering

Second form for Developmental Chess is where instead of the senior player providing his moves for the junior player to select from; the junior player protects what he sees as his weaknesses by restricting the senior player move options ...

Rules for Developmental Chess (form 2):

Developmental Chess with junior player alternative choice

Third form of Developmental Chess is where after the junior player has made his best choice for his move he receives a recommended move (from the/a senior player or a chess program following along). He can then choose, up to 50% of the time, to play this recommended move instead. The junior player should not be coaxed. This is perhaps the lowest gradient of these three forms of Chess. It's only draw back is it does not provide for extra challenges to the senior's play options.

Rules for Developmental Chess (form 3):