Atharv Kapoor has a problem: Super kids learning a super game

Atharv Kapoor has a problem: Super kids learning a super game

Ten-year-old Atharv Kapoor wakes up every morning with a problem. A chess problem. On the demonstration chess board on his bedroom wall is a new tactical chess problem for him to solve. His dad, Aditya, also a good chess player, sets up the positions. At the age of five his dad taught him to play chess.

Atharv, now a fifth-grade student at Montessori School of Beaverton, plays chess games with other kids on the website He records his games and reviews them with Coach Larry at their weekly skype chess lessons. During the lessons he learns new openings and works on endgames, tactics and chess strategy.

Atharv misses going to tournaments and playing in person games where he can exchange chess ideas and look at opponents’ games between rounds. He misses the big two-day state chess tournament at Seaside every April where there are 300 school students playing. The giant trophies are filled with salt water taffy, which Atharv enjoys as much as winning the trophy.

Besides chess, Atharv also plays the piano and is learning to play the flute by watching videos on YouTube. Bike riding around the neighborhood gets him outside and away from the chess board but not for long. Atharv is soon back on the chess site looking for his next opponent or he’ll go looking for his dad to play a game. Beating his dad is almost as much fun as winning a trophy full of salt water taffy.


Game of the month: Opening: Colle Attack

  • White: Atharv Kapoor
  • Black: Owen

A favorite opening of Atharv and with new students too.

  1. d4, d5
  2. Nf3, Nf6
  3. e3, Bf5 (A popular defense against the Colle).
  4. Bd3, Bxd3
  5. Qxd3, Nc6 (A better idea is to play 5…c5 first).
  6. c3 (To keep the knight from going to b4 attacking the queen. 6…e6
  7. Nbd2, Bd6
  8. 0-0, 0-0
  9. e4, dxe4
  10. Nxe4, Nxe4?
    Black exchanges off his best defender of his king.
  11. Qxe4, e5
  12. Ng5, h6??
  13. Qh7 checkmate!

Atharv jumps on his opponent’s mistakes. He doesn’t miss many tactical ideas.

Why learn chess? Simple: It’s a great mental workout that helps children perform well in the classroom. Chess is a logical game where kids have to plan ahead and adjust to new situations. But most of all, it’s fun!

Larry Ball (Coach Larry) teaches students of all ages at the Steinitz Chess Academy in Beaverton. For more information, email Larry at