# The Magic 10 Explained!?!

People always want me to explain the “Magic 10”! Before we get into our explanation, I need to point out several things. The Magic 10 and all the other tools we share with you here at SCBC are for tournament chess!? Your Lightning, Bullet, Blitz, and Quick Chess may improve but those time controls will never allow you to accurately and conscientiously follow the procedure! The Magic 10 work in conjunction with checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices. To use the magic 10 effectively, it will usually require that you look at least 2.5 to 3.5 moves ahead. The point I’m trying to make is, if you want me to take the guess work out of chess, the 1st thing you have to do is stop guessing!! The reason you must see that far is that the “Magic 10” can be referring to a piece or a group of pieces! There is usually more than 1 feature of the magic 10 affecting the position! You may have to invest 1 or more moves for each feature for them to lead to a more advantageous position! Ideally, the magic 10 should be evaluated on your opponents turn. If your opponent is moving too fast, you will need to evaluate them on your turn. The magic 10 have many functions, but the major functions are; 1.) When there are no checks, captures, threats, or sacrifices, present in the position, the magic 10 will show you how to create some. 2.) The magic 10 will let you know how well your opponent is playing! You should be evaluating if your opponent is meeting the demands of the magic 10. 3.) The magic 10 will let you know which piece or pieces can improve their value and effectiveness and in what order to play the moves! I could go on all day but I’m going to give you the elevator version.

1.) Range: What is range when it comes to chess? Range is the distance a piece or group of pieces can travel to use power and/or force against an opponent. Range as far as individual pieces is pretty easy to grasp. The queen has the greatest range, then the rook, bishop, knight, pawn, and king. The ability to know when and how to increase the range of our pieces and limit the range of our opponent’s pieces is a practical and needed part of every chess player’s weapons group! Range can be increased and decreased by checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices.

2.) Speed: Speed is really a measure of convenience/method. If you need that piece, how fast can it get there. Speed is a team function in most cases. Checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices are the tools of great speed.

3.) Power: Power, to keep it simple is usually a threat. It’s not enough to determine the outcome of the game yet, but if allowed to get out of hand or it’s not watched it will have to be dealt with. Power does not always lead to powerful!?

4.) Force: The primary difference between power and force is that power can be ignored and force can not! Force either causes an advantage or puts a stop to your opponent getting one. Once force is in use, checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices will have to be met with checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices!

5.) Time: Time is all about tempos and obstructions. Checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices are the best friend of time or for your opponent must become their worst enemy. lol Time is another one of those team sports!

6.) Space: Fritz always kibitzed about how it loves space. The more space you have the more of everything else you usually have. Space also allows for bigger attacks.

7.) Mobility: Mobility is the culmination or combination of range, speed, power, time, and space. Mobility definitely changes powerful to forceful when you keep adding pieces. You can have 1 mobile piece, but mobility is about units, not just a unit most of the time!

8.) Initiative: The right, duty, or justification to attempt to impose your will on your opponent, (attack!/counterplay). The initiative is temporary! Quite often, you must use it or lose it. To stop an initiative will usually require checks, captures, threats, sacrifices, your ability to see 3.5 moves ahead and more than 1 feature of the magic 10. If you don’t start it, you better finish it or you may be finished!?

9.) King Safety: The board is smaller than most players think. Compromised king safety causes casualties. When king safety is not good, the magic 10 becomes unclear and requires a more critical evaluation. Again, compromised king safety can place the whole team in danger! Some types of compromised king safety are worse than others, but anytime it exist there are chances for the other side!

10.) Material: Material is the spending money of the war effort! Material is not an end onto itself. There are combinations based on material, but they are the least important! If you read books, you’ve seen… “with compensation for the material”. There is no symbol that means… “with compensation for anything else”!! You invest material to get everything, not invest everything to get material. Desensitization to material is one of the requirements of chess mastery!!

A few examples:

In this position white’s pieces have range, speed, force, mobility, and black’s compromised king safety as a great reason for a combination! 1. Qxc7!! Kxc7 2. Nb5 Kb8 3. Rd8!! Rxd8 4. Bf4 Ne5 5. Bxe5 Ka8 6. Nc7 Kb8 7. Nxa6 Ka8 8. Nc7 Kb8 9. Nd5 Rd6 10. Bxd6 Ka8 11. Nb6 axb6 12. Ra1#

1986… Here black sacrifices a pawn for a slight material plus and the initiative. We have range, speed, force, mobility, initiative, and white’s king safety to win material and the initiative! 1… c4!! 13. Nxc7 Qxc7 14. Be2 Qb6 15. Kh1 Nf2 16. Rxf2 Qxf2 17. Bxc4 Bg4 =/+

2014…This is one of those positions where if you refuse to sacrifice, you lose the initiative!? The magic 10 are a tremendous help when dealing with complications too! We have range, power, time, mobility, initiative, and king safety. 1. Bxh6!! Nxe4 2. Bxg7 Kxg7 3. Rxe4!! dxe4 4. Nhf5 Nxf5 5. Nxf5+ Kg8 6. Nxd6 Qc6 7. Nxc8 Rxc8+/-

2014…This is one of SCBC’s best training diagrams. 9 of the magic 10 can be used to produce over 20 checkmates. I say 9 because every continuation is mate!!! I played this e game almost a decade ago! If you don’t understand the magic 10 by the time you find 20+ checkmates, you need more help!

If you benefitted from this blog, please click on, “buy something you need to help chess“. If you’d like to talk about coaching or lessons, as always… If you’re not ready for lessons, we will get you ready for free!?!

Hope you enjoyed!

Coach Mike C

# In The Transition From, “Past Time” To Billion Dollar Industry, Affiliates Will Create Compensated Chess Careers!

Who knew that locking everyone in their homes for 3 years, would turn our favorite past time into a billion dollar industry!!! We can’t go back and must move forward while keeping pace with demand. That is going to require the recipients of free and discounted information, products, and services to creatively support and advocate for their, “Vocational Chess” services providers!

Here are some brief excerpts, but please continue the rest of the story in, “Buy something you need to help chess” on the main menu!!

” We didn’t put a man on the moon or discover any cures, but we did prove that a 6 yr old can be a head coach of a middle school on her way to becoming the Virginia K-3 Champion!! We took an 11 year old boy and gave him enough high paying coaching work to have his rating peak at 2384. He is the 2021 and 2022 Virginia State Champion!!”

” Over the course of 14 years,” There are no organizations public or private that can say we ever told them no because they could not pay!!!”

” Watching Magnus Carlsen sell, “Chessable” for almost \$90,000,000.00 was a serious wake up call. That money was made off of the hard work and vocational dedication of volunteers worldwide, not the hard work and vocational dedication of employees worldwide!!!”

” To add insult to injury, only 63 of the 263 certified coaches in America have their certification because of documented state and national level student and/or team leadership!!”

” The pages of this blog are a book on the little known secrets that only come from every type of chess involvement/experience!”

” Not one of the, “authorities” that I found spouting how much coaches, tournament directors, or affiliates are supposed to get paid was a US Chess Affiliate, State Chapter, or the US Chess Federation!! Shame on them!!”

” Altruism, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism are the tools of serving a mission, not a billion dollar industry!”

” Reciprocity is really a silent partnership! The person/company that provides free and valuable products and/or services has to be looking for every way to empower reciprocators.”

If you want to reciprocate the value you have gotten from these pages, please find a way for you, and the people you know, to become our customers!?!

The transition from, “past time” to billion dollar industry will require everyone looking for success at chess, to make changes in the way they engage chess vocationalism. For the sake of chess, please join our team!

Thanks,

Coach Mike C

# Prodigy and Campaign Training Shine At Championship Warm Ups!

SCBC has been paying very close attention to the new crowds of chess players that are coming from behind the masks! Unrated players of all ages, some masked some not, are showing up to test their skills at their new past time. Last year we reported that the, “under” sections of the state scholastic championships and the closed championships had nearly 30% unrated. In this year’s scholastic championship warm up we had 85 players. 46 of them were playing in their 1st tournament!! 19 of 25 in the k-3, 8 of 16 in the k-5, 11 of 29 in the k-8, and 8 of 15 in the k-12. 54% of the people attending a championship warm up tournament were playing in their 1st tournament!? At this very moment 61 of the 201 players registered in the under sections of the k-3, k-5, and k-8 of this year’s Virginia Scholastic Championships will be playing in their 1st tournament?! That’s 30%!? What other sport does this?

The reason this is happening is the on line service providers are acting like and allowing people to believe that what they offer is real chess. They are acting like it is comparable to the real world and they didn’t even get the lightning, bullet, and blitz right cause if you don’t see you are in check, they force you to make a legal move!!! For any other kind of chess, it’s a toy that must be turned into a tool!?! Online is for people that like to play!? I play 3/2 blitz games every day. Books, coaches, and courses are for people that like to compete! When preparing for a tournament, I pull out a board, books, databases, engines, pencils, and paper for 2-3 hours every day for the 1st week and then every other day up to 2 days before the event. There isn’t a grandmaster alive or dead that would ever tell you that all you need is lightning, bullet, blitz games, videos, and computer analyzed games of 5 minutes or less to win tournaments and get all the benefits of chess. The online service providers aren’t saying you can either, they’re just letting players believe they can!! There isn’t 1 online service provider that has said or acknowledged that you must work and play off line to achieve the benefits of chess… not one. They never will!?!

Prodigy and Campaign training is the way to be the player in the mirror!!

To be specific, all of our training programs include as minimum:

1.) An introduction to the real value, speed, and capabilities of the pieces. (see blog dated 10/06/2021)!

2.) An introduction to the Check, Captures, Threats, and Sacrifices for Kings, and Queens, and Rooks that you can read about in the blog (10/15/2021)!

3.) An introduction to The Magic 10!  The Magic 10 is the primary tool every player needs to be able to decide on a move when the board seems quiet (10/15/2021)!

4.) Last but not least, a method of turning on line toys into real world tools.

a.) Understanding the importance of accuracy over speed.

b.) How to measure real world progress from on line results

c.) How to use the data bases and the engines to learn openings that can be used in the real world.

d.) Identify and exploit the weaknesses online players develop when they don’t read books!

This process requires 8 – 12 hours of custom training. It will drastically improve the students learning curve and ultimately save the chess family hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars! Our study and improvement methods are proven to be at least 5 times faster than just playing all the time!! Where people got the idea to be playing 125, 150, and even 175 games per year, must be from soccer, tennis, baseball, or basketball, but they didn’t get that idea from a Grandmaster! Tal, Botvinnik, and Kortchnoi all said 100 games a year or less!?

Maggie Walker:

Shripaad’s new round of prodigy/campaign training began in January. In 9 games, his rating has gone from 373-693. His score in the k-3 was 4-0-0! Maneesh began his prodigy training in February. In just 12 games his rating has gone from 408-696. He tied for 2nd in the k-5 with a score of 3-0-1! His campaign training will begin in about 2 weeks!! Abbos began his prodigy/campaign training in December. The warm up was his second tournament. His 1st choice in his Campaign Training was the Vienna Game, then he changed his mind to the London and then changed it to what he’s playing now. (Can’t tell you, there’s a championship going on. lol) For black he was playing the Caro and the Queens Gambit Declined but has since fell in love with 2 other systems. He is a 6th grader that tied for 1st in the k-12 with an undefeated score of 3-1-0. With a rating of just 695, his average accuracy for the 1st 15 moves of his games in this tournament was 83.1%! In 1 game it was 86.6%! That performance earned him 54 points. With that type of accuracy we just know it will keep going up, and up, and up!!

Having the wrong tool for the job doesn’t matter when you’re on line just having fun, don’t care about the results, have all the time in the world, and losses don’t cost 1 thin dime! But, a real world tournament is an arena, not a playground!! Not taking these gladiators more seriously than on line play is a recipe for disaster! These opponents have invested hours, days, weeks, and even months preparing for this event. They have books, coaches, experience using all 38 pieces of a tournament set, and will analyze every tournament game they play! They have the expense of time off from work, travel, meals, lodging, and entry fees. They must usually come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place to recover those expenses!! And if there is a tie, they get even less money! To them it’s not just having fun, they care about the results, and failure means that they will have to spend even more money regaining any points they lose!!

The most important idea to remember about the transition from the virtual chess to real world chess is that, NOW IT MATTERS!! If you or your child go into a real world tournament with an on line attitude, you will make 3 major mistakes;

1.) You will neglect calculation. During a real world game, there is time to truly investigate combinations that are 3 to as many as 10 moves deep. When it is your turn, always calculate what you can do to them 1st. Then and only then do you look at what they can do to you. How much you like a move means nothing if you don’t do the calculation to justify it. You have the time to double check and even triple check your moves! If you promise yourself to never get burned right after you move, that will eliminate the frequent blunders you get away with when the game is only 1, 3, or 5 minutes!

2.) Chances are that you have little to no experience playing, recording the game, and using a clock at the same time. As much as possible, sit down and never play or calculate while you are standing or moving!! After you record a move, put the pencil down! Putting the pencil down tells your brain its time to think, but holding your pencil tells your brain its time to write. The last thing you need while trying to concentrate on something new is confusion! lol If you are unrated, your opponent may use staring, faces, gestures, piece slamming, clock slamming, laughter, grunting, huffing and puffing, sighing, tapping the table, moving fast, and even talking to you to get you to move faster. They are trying to break your concentration and get you to make a mistake!! Those things are unsportsmanlike. Look them in the eye smiling victoriously and raise your hand immediately for a tournament director. Do it each and every time they do any of those things in a way that disturbs or annoys you!! Those behaviors are forbidden!! You can report these things even if it is at the board next to you if you feel it is disturbing your play! Real world chess is a juggling act and you need your concentration! Don’t allow anyone to bully you because you are new!

3.) If you spend most of your time on line with lightning, bullet, and blitz, time is king! If you move fast enough, you may win with bad play. I win games in losing positions and lose games in winning positions all the time!! At a real world tournament you can’t win that way because they have too much time and the only thing that matters is accuracy! To win and draw, you will need to take your time, develop your pieces, and castle before beginning any tactical operations. Playing as accurately as you can for 15-20 moves, in a real world tournament game is the absolute surest way to rattle your opponent, make them feel the pressure, and cause them to make a mistake!? You literally don’t have to start moving faster until you have less than 5 minutes on your clock. Use as much time as needed to be accurate. Do what I’m telling you and you’ll have such a big advantage that choosing the right move won’t be difficult at all!

Chess is back! If you want to save time and money we can help. Schedule a free consultation and get a quote. If you are not ready for coaching, we will get you ready for free!

Call 804-426-6058, email waterman2010kir@aol.com today!

Thanks

Coach Mike C

The pandemic and the block buster film, “Queens Gambit” have increased the number of piece movers around the globe by millions. For most of them, the internet is their only source of information and experience. These screen junkies are slowly working their way into the real world. It’s up to everyone to ensure that the unexpected losses they experience because of their disorientation with blitz, bullet, and real chess doesn’t cause them to lose interest!!

I told you last year that I wasn’t holding back anymore. In 2022 I gave you many original analytic concepts and blogs about how to play merciless chess! The most popular was, “The true value of the pieces!?!” You watched our 6 year Master Coach Jason Morefield repeat as VA Closed Champion. That’s right, Jason has been coaching for us since he was 12. It would have been longer if chess hadn’t got shut down. Mike Callaham covered the VA Closed with pictures, post round analysis for the amateur section, and championship games analysis for VA Newsletter 2022 4/5!!

In 2023 the focus will be vocationalism! I’m interested in people of any age, (5 or 55) that want to be great, “Chess Personalities”. Play, coach, referee, organize and run a business or businesses that profitably supports and grows chess! That’s my definition of a Chess Personality. If you want me to teach you how to be one, you can’t afford it! If you want me to teach you how to become one you can’t afford that either!

Most of the chess instruction I see is only about how to play, and is just glorified babysitting. It’s ridiculous for parents and children to tell me they’ve had lessons in person or online and can’t tell me how many checks are possible, when you can or can’t castle, or demonstrate a capturing en passant!? The level of instruction is condescending, slow paced, and is in direct contradiction to Grandmaster advice for rapid and consistent improvement. If you finish a chess lesson and feel no need to review the material for understanding, you just got babysat!! If after 6, 8, or 10 sessions of chess training no one has ensured that you know the requirements to become a, Rated Tournament Chess Player, US Chess Certified Coach, US Chess Certified Tournament Director, or US Chess Affiliate Organizer, when chess is a scholarship venue, you just got babysat. If the lessons, classes, camps, or tournaments are based on age or grade, (Unless it’s a state or national event), you just got babysat again!?! If you’ve had 6, 8, or 10 sessions and have never been encouraged to look at the top 100 list for children or adults, you and/or your child just got babysat again. Babysitters get paid \$20.00-\$25.00 an hour.

SCBC is a leader in the chess industry, not a follower!?! We’ve been balancing altruism, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship in central VA for over a decade!! While others are taking your money saying, “We have to start somewhere?!”, We take your money and can take you quickly to anywhere you want to go while giving you the opportunity to earn the trip!!!! Since we can’t charge you the \$100.00, \$150.00, and \$200.00 an hour that it’s worth, and the general chess public is deliberately being kept in the dark about all the places chess can take them, we have to be selective about who we give a ride.

We work with any budget! Our plans start high and then get lower and lower every 4 weeks based on length of commitment and the student’s ability to follow instructions. We also offer starter programs where the amount starts ridiculously low and gets higher and higher every 4 weeks. Our basic instruction package includes but is never limited to:

2 hours of weekly zoom or in person custom chess coaching

Monitoring and analysis of student’s online games and training tasks

Tournament suggestions

Biweekly Parent’s Report

This regime along with regular tournament play is the best way to duplicate and surpass SCBC’s accomplishments. We offer 4, 6, 8, and 12 week initial commitments. Our levels of instruction are: Tutor, Instructor, Teacher, Prodigy, and Campaign. We provide free consultations to play, discuss everyone’s goals, make recommendations, and offer a quote.

Task time! Tasks are free! You ready? I guarantee an instant, measurable, and duplicatable change in your playing ability!! Call Coach Mike C today! 804-426-6058.

# Chess help at all levels!! Tutor, Instructor, Teacher, Coach, Prodigy, and Campaign.

SCBC Founder and CEO Coach Mike Callaham has a proven record of getting results at all socio-economic levels and all ages. Checks, Captures, Threats, and Sacrifices is the tip of the iceberg. His definition of a combination and SCBC’s “The Magic 10” move strategies are inarguably original and defiantly easy to learn and use!?! He can literally raise your playing strength with just 1 lesson!

He’s been balancing philanthropy and entrepreneurship for years as a means of proving that being a, “Total Chess Personality” is the key to rapid improvement and gaining the cooperation of virtually any adult you meet. The, Total Chess Personality plays, coaches, directs, organizes, writes, analyzes, and theorizes, in a way that elevates the play, services, and culture of the game.

This year, SCBC former students and coaches took top honors in the Under 1200 and in the Open Championship at the Virginia Closed. Saket Sambaraju’s picture and accomplishments are in the pages of this blog. His rating went up more than 1100 points in less than 70 games!!! His mom has no equal when it comes to following coaching instructions. Jason Morefield is a, SCBC Master Coach with more than 150 coaching appearances before he turned 18!! Having our 2 time state champion tell everyone that your company financed their career is every coach’s and organizer’s dream! Coach Mike has had the opportunity to live it. While SCBC was paying Jason \$75.00 a stop, there were other companies that wanted to pay him less because of his age even after his rating passed 2000!?! His peak is 2382!

Here are the levels of instruction available to individuals and groups! 1.) Tutor, This is mainly games review and playing tips. 2.) Instructor, Lessons designed to give exposure to certain areas of the game.  3.) Teacher, This combines the Tutor and Instructor and has optional homework assignments. 4.) Coach is the transition to tournament play, tactics, strategy, and training habits. Homework is not optional!?  5.) Prodigy, Students are monitored on Chess.com, parents receive reports and SCBC selects the tournaments the student will play in, 6.) Campaign This is when we custom design an opening repertoire for the player for white and/or black for tournament play.

Whether you want to just get your feet wet or you want to go deep sea diving at chess, you are at the best place if you want value for your money. Why? Because there is valuable free overflow! Top 9% player, level III advanced team coach, local director, local and state organizer, published openings theorist, published analyst, news paper columnist and international playing experience. You can’t turn that down or off completely because sooner or later, the good students are going to ask you for it anyway! Coach Mike wants to share in your chess success while others only want to share in your financial success. Just remember, every time you hear, “We have to start somewhere…”, what that means is, they get paid, and you get nowhere!?! That’s why coached players are averaging 3, 4, and 5 points a game with a “k” of 50 points plus bonus!?! Our training is always designed to take you farther than you could have ever imagined. If you are not ready for coaching, we will get you ready for free. Rates as low as \$30.00 per hour. Call today for a free consultation! 804-426-6058!

# The 36th Piece!?!

Tournaments require 38 pieces!?! You’ve got 34 chess people, a board, a clock, paper, and a pencil. If most players are honest, they will admit that the clock and keeping score gave them some initial difficulty! But getting used to the clock and knowing how to use it are 2 totally different things. I haven’t seen any books specifically on how to use a clock!?! If the game can be won or lost by how you use this piece, at least some type of study is in order! I’ve only seen 2 places where the times of the games were kept and published. Yeah you get to see it while it’s live, but I’m talking in a format where study and comparison can be done. That Bobby Fischer’s chess games, the Havana Match, and Kasparov Karpov III by Keene and Goodman. Some mention of the clock was also in Krogius’ book, Psychology In Chess.

Here are some guidelines:

1. Always get to the board early enough to set and check the clock. Check that the delay and/or the increment are working.
2. Always start the clock promptly at the beginning of the round. If you have no clock, the time will be split instead of your opponent taking the whole loss of time.
3. Record the clock time for you and your opponent on each move.
4. Always remember to press your clock!
5. If you must get up, get back to your board as soon as possible.
6. Grandmasters advise that you use your time for calculating variations and your opponents time for positional considerations and strategy!
7. When in time trouble, continue to record the game as long as you can. If neither of you are recording the game, there can be no scoresheet based draw claims.
8. When in time trouble, never move instantly! Use the delay or the increment time to double check your move.
9. Never remind your opponent to hit their clock. It’s not good sportsmanship, it’s a rules violation!
10. If you always have time left and you are losing more than half of your games, you are moving too fast!

What do you do when it’s your opponent’s turn to move? You are supposed to be looking everything else except variations. I have my list of everything else and so should you. I call mine the magic 10! They are: Range, Speed, Power, Force, Time, Space, Mobility, Initiative, King Safety, and Material. This is for a piece or group of pieces. This is what you do leading up to, during, and after your skirmishes! Unlike Checks, Captures, Threats, and Sacrifices, something about the magic 10 goes in and out of balance on every move.

40 moves in 2hrs. What does that mean!?! No it doesn’t mean 3 minutes per move!? There is no time limit for a move and you must accept that some moves will require a lot of time!

The other clue I got was from Test Your Chess IQ Book II by Livshitz!! In the master section they actually tell you how long it should take you to solve each puzzle. Take a look at #936

The thing to understand is that when you use this type of time, it’s for several moves, not just 1 move!! If you have calculated properly the next 4 or 5 moves will only take a few minutes.

Lastly, always take a minute or 2 to regroup and reorient yourself once a time control is reached. My goal is to have an equal or winning position by the end of the 1st time control, and then finish them off if I can in the 2nd one.

Want to win more games…. Learn how to use the 36th piece!?! Group and private lessons and coaching are available. Ask for Coach Mike 804-426-6058. If you are not ready for lessons, we will get you ready for free!!

# Campaign, Schmampaign, What If My Opponent Plays Something Different?

You funny!?! The whole point of having a campaign is that every move they make is either expected, slightly off the beaten trail, or bad! You actually have 3 choices every time your opponent moves… You can continue the campaign because you still have tons of stuff to do, abandon your original campaign for the alternate campaign, or punish them for making a mistake! Remember this is all about variations, transpositions, branchpoints, and errors. The only reason to abandon your campaigns is to collect your reward for your opponents errors. If your opponents are constantly causing you to abandon your campaigns and lose the game, your campaigns are too small, rigid, ill conceived, or not properly researched! Let’s get started.

No matter which one they pick, black’s move will be 7… c7-c6. The game continued, 7.Re1 c6 8. a4
Qc7 9. dxe5?! dxe5 10. Bg5?!

This is a vote chess game. A whole team of players had 3 days for each move. It’s obvious to me that they spent no time on books written by grandmasters, databases, or moving the pieces around. Having a campaign let’s me know that I already have a substantial advantage! More importantly, it let’s me know that my opponents don’t have a campaign or a plan. They are on their own, I’m still reading directly from my homework!! 10…Nc5!? 11. b4? (11. h3 Rd8 12. Qc1 Ne6 13. Be3=) 11…Rd8! 12. Qe2?! Because shadowing the queen is part of my campaign, I have to prepare for the most creative types of redevelopment for her. I actually got this idea after studying the London’s recapture of the knight on b1. Analysis taught me that if I refuse the queen a home on the e and d files, I’d need to be ready for this development of the queen… (12. Qb1! Ne6 13. Qb3 h6 14. Bh4 a5 15. b5 Bb4 16. Red1 Rxd1+ 17. Rxd1 Nc5 18. Qb2 Bg4 19. bxc6 Bxf3! 20. gxf3
Qxc6=/+) Diagram

12… Ne6! This is the end of the campaign! From here black should be able to win! 13. Be6?! Bxe6 14. Rab1 h6 15. Bh4 a5! 16. b5 Bb4 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Qe3 cxb5 19. Nxb5 Qxc2 20. Rec1 Qxa4 21. Nc7 Rac8

22. Qxh6? Rxc7! 23. Qxf6 Rxc1+ 24. Rxc1 Rd1 and white resigned.

The next game is another vote chess game. I used to play a lot of vote chess until it got to be too much work! There was always early voting or garbage 1/2 moves instead of whole continuations to compare. It did teach me a lot about how lazy most chess players are. Fun, fun, fun, all the time. They lack the discipline to follow grandmaster advice to end or consistency!?! It was very encouraging to realize that learning to win more games was going to be infinitely easier than I had originally thought!?!

Alekhine was the 1st player to condemn Bg5?! in the Philidor. It is a relief that black will not have to deal with any fireworks on f7 or in the center since the f3 knight can’t get to g5. I’m getting help with my campaign on the 5th move of the game! 5… c6 6. dxe5 dxe5 7. Bc4 Be7 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe2 Qc7

Some you may be wondering why I’m not rushing to play …b5. My campaign analysis has proved that if I play it too soon, the pawns will become targets. It’s better to let my opponent play a4 and then a5 so that I get the tempos and the stealth I need to mask my kingside intentions. To run a campaign you must have patience! 10. Rad1? Wrong move and wrong rook. Remember, how many times I’ve said you must watch games in the openings you intend to play to learn where to put the rooks? They had to play 10. a4. (10. Rfd1 b5 11. Bb3 a5 12. a4 b4 13. Nb1 h6!?= would have kept things level) 10… b5 11. Bb3 a5 12. a4 b4 13. Nb1 Ba6 14. Bc4 Bxc4 15. Qxc4 h6??

Campaign protect you because you always have possibilities. Here I could have played 15…Nb6! and followed it up with c5 and c4. Again, mistakes come in pairs so my opponent didn’t take. Knowing when to abandon the campaign for other gains can be as difficult as conducting the campaign itself! I played 15…h6?? with an eye to doubling in the knights, control of f4, g and h files, King lifts and slides, etc... Every time you analyze a game, there is room to tweak and improve your campaigns. Don’t miss them!! The game continued with the new campaign being to put the queen in jail!! 16 Bh4?? Nb6! 17. Qb3 c5 18. Nbd2 c4 19. Qa2 Rad8 20. Bg3 Bd6 21. Rfe1 Rfe8 22. h3 Rd7 23. b3?? c3 (the nail in the coffin)

24. Nc4 Nxc4 25. bxc4 Qc6 26. c5? Qxc5 27. Nxe5 Bxe5 28. Bxe5 Rxd1 29. Rxd1 Rxe5 30. Rd8+ Kh7 31. Qxf7 Rxe4 0-1 Their team abandoned the game!

“Look for opportunities to play d5” I didn’t used to get many opportunities for d5 until I reread my analysis of the main line and realized that 90% of the time I would not take back immediately if they played e4xd5. Some of the best ideas in your campaign have been overlooked because of improper piece development and placement. This game breaks from the normal campaign and shows how you can still make a killing of what you have left. This used to be the main line of the Hanham Variation until I busted it. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Qe2 c6 8. a4
Qc7 9. a5 h6 10. Bd2 Re8 11. Ba2?

The bust goes… 11….exd4! 12. Nxd4 d5 13. exd5 Bd6! 14. Be3 Bxh2+ 15. Kh1 Ne5! and black has a complicated but real initiative. Now watch this game and see how they played something different but I still did the same thing!!

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Qe2 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. c3!? Not a bad move in and of itself. The position is equal with white still having a little 1st move initiative left. The game continued with 6…c6 7. d4 Qc7 8. Rd1 Bg4! With the queen being the only protector of the e pawn, Be3 is unlikely for a while, and h3 may never get played. (induce h3 or f3) 9. Nbd2 Nbd7 10. h3 Bh5 11. Nf1 Rfe8 12. g4 Bg6 13. Ng3?

13. exd4! 14. cxd4 (14. Rxd4 d5 15. exd5 Bd6 16. Qf1 cxd5 17. Bb5 Bxg3 18. fxg3 Qxg3+ 19. Qg2 Qd6-+) 14…d5 15. exd5 Bd6 16. Qf1 cxd5 17. Bb3 Bxg3 18. fxg3 Qxg3+ 19. Qg2 Qd6 and black won. A 7 move winning combo that I didn’t have to give 1 thought to because the elements of my campaign were present. 19 moves of absolutely stress free chess! Schmampaign that!!!

Even if someone designs a campaign for you, there will be a good amount of material you will have to study. I’ve got more openings, games, and campaigns coming every week! Do you have a campaign? Do you want a campaign, or do you want to keep having fun, fun, fun, whether you win, draw, or lose? I want to work with some people that are determine to never lose!? Chess isn’t about winning all the time, it’s about never losing. You started with 1/2 not zero!! It’s time you learned how to keep yours and take theirs.

Your coaching dollars will never be better invested!?! Call Coach Mike and let’s get started today! 804-426-6058. If you are not ready for coaching, we’ll get you ready for free!!

# Tools of Campaign Design!

1st of all, Congrats to the ACC for it’s Grand Re-Opening! Chess is getting back to normal in so many places. Rumor is that the competition is fiercer than ever before. Some people have been pulling a Botvinnik! That simply means studying and not playing until it counts. They know their openings, they improved their tactics, they’ve even begun studying the endgame, but do they have a, “Campaign”? For the last 2 months this blog has been about variations, transpositions, branchpoints, errors, and now the campaign. What tools does one need to create a campaign? When does the campaign start? How long does it last? When is it done?

The tools you need are a grandmaster written book on the variation you are aiming for, a database of what has been played by masters, a chess board, a notebook, an engine, and most importantly, a willingness to watch whole games that were won, drawn, and lost by grandmasters! Leaving out any one of these items is a recipe for disaster, not a campaign. So let’s explain…

Books talk! I can’t stress enough about the tidbits, secrets, and maneuver information that’s in books. The books when compared to the database let you know how well the general field of players are preparing. Books also give you comparisons, contrasts, and history. There are gems in the notes of books that are rarely being played even when the results are both favorable and desirable! The best lines are always in the notes!?! Depending on the year it is published, the book should explain all the moves you are seeing in the data base.

The database you pick is very important. Chess.com, Lichess, and ICC have databases. You can not design a campaign strictly based on what online players are playing!! Why?! 2 reasons… 1.) It’s online… none of those players ultimately cares deeply about their performances. I watch 2600, 2700, 2800, and 2900 players make blunders all the time. I’ll guess a move, they play something else, I check it with the engine, and I was right, but that game still goes into the database. 2.) All the online databases are made up of games were at blitz or near blitz time controls. If you are preparing for a blitz tournament then it is a great database. If you are preparing for a real tournament with real time controls, you need to give more reliability to your books and your engine!?!

A student and I were going through a variation. We decided to ask the engine what was the best continuation. Even when we made sure to match our settings, the engine lines, evaluations, and order of priority never agreed!!! Do you know how to get the truth out of an engine?

Let’s face it, if we could really just snap our fingers and have someone prepare, or teach us how to prepare a logical and reliable campaign that’s good for 15, 20, 25 moves, it would be a no brainer. Just pay for the training or pay for the preparation!?! Grandmasters know it’s possible but for the mere mortal, human, novice, amateur, or never read a chess book cover to cover chess player, it’s an impossibility… The beauty of campaign training is that you only need to be shown 1 time and you can use it for life! After that, you’ll always know if you are getting what you paid for!

This is a game played on line in 2015. We each have 3 days to decide on our move. Most players that are playing e games just look at the board without ever moving the pieces around, without checking a book, or a database!?! This is how that got punished. 1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. d3 Nc6 6. a3?! It’s the 6th move of the game and already white has made a serious error!? 6… Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Nd4 9. Qd1 b5 10. Ba2?! Diagram (10. b4 Bb6 11. Ba2 O-O -/+)

The game concluded with 10… Nxe4!! 11. dxe4 Qh4+ 12. Kd2 Qf2+ 13. Kc3 Ne2+ 14. Kb3 a5 15. a4 Nxc1+ 16. Qxc1 Qd4 17. c4 Qd3+ Resigns

How long can a campaign last? I have documentation for a campaign lasting 22 moves!! That’s right 22 moves!! I published my campaign for the Callaham Attack in the Hanham Variation of the Philidor Defense in the 2010-1 issue of the VA Newsletter. All campaign work has to start with the main line and usually after castling. This was considered to be the main line of the Hanham Variation. 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nd7 4. Nc3 Ngf6 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O. Every player can make it this far.

So here is black’s campaign: Gain space on the kingside to induce h3 or f3. Eliminate the useful forward movement of the knight on f3. Take 100% control of f4 to prevent the opening of the f file. Use the knights to pressure the g and h files as well as f3. The king will need to slide, lift, or both to allow the rooks onto the g and h files. The queen will need a couple of tempos to get over and out on the wing. The king may also need tempo help for his lifts and slides. Give away the whole queenside if you have to!! Eliminate white’s dark squared bishop if at all possible… pawns left on a5 or a7 will usually draw it out to where it can be taken with the a8 rook. Stay alert for opportunities to play …d5, and for bringing the knights into f4 and h4, even when g3 has been played!? Understand that any white pieces returning to save their king must use e2, f1, or the 3rd rank. Other squares are too far away and will take to much time. Lastly, remember that there is no turning back. Sooner or later something always comes if you’re ready to sac and attack.

This is white’s favorite position in the Philidor!? It is still subject to the campaign! The game continued… 10… Rd8! 11. a5 Nf8 12. d5 Ng6 13. Nd2 Re8 14. Qe2 Bd8 15. Rf1 Ne7 16. Qd3 Bd7 17. b4 cxd5 18. exd5! Nf5! 19. Bb5 a6 20. Bxd7 Qxd7 21. Nde4 Nxe4 Nxe4 Nh4! (…and for bringing the knights to f4 and h4 even when g3 has been played)!!

The campaign has been a success. Now that the opponent has been softened up, it’s time to reap the rewards. This was a vote chess game. That’s right, vote chess. It was coach against coach. His rating was 2178 and mine was 2117. He had actually insulted me before the game asking, “The Philidor is an inferior opening?! Why would someone ask for that kind of beating with trainees watching”!?! The game continued… 23. c4?! f5 24. Nc3 Bf6! The trainees kept asking why we weren’t pushing the pawns. I explained that it would make it too easy for white, and that we should patiently redevelop and wait for another melt down! 25. Rac1 Qf7 26. Bd2 Rad8 27. Ne2 Rd7 28. Kh2
Rc7! Redevelopment is complete!

29. c5? e4 30. Qg3 Ng6 31. Kh1 Bh4 32. Qb3 dxc5 33. bxc5 Ne7-+ They never responded and lost on time. No one on the whole team voted for 3 days to make that happen!!! This is the tip of the Iceberg!

Tournaments are back and they are close. Arlington has \$1900.00 a month, The Atlantic Open 30K, The VA Closed in Sep, Fredericksburg Oct, Zofchak Nov, Eastern in Dec 25K, Northern VA Open in Jan, North Carolina Nov, National Chess Congress Philly Nov, K-12 Nationals in MD…

Every opening has a campaign, you just have to research it enough to discover what it is. If you don’t know how to do it, hire someone to show you how to do it or do it for you. We would love to be your coach or your 2nd to add campaigns to you road arsenal. Our rates are very reasonable and hurt a lot less than repeated weekend hotel stays that produce 12-15 rating points. At \$600.00 + per weekend, (gas, food, room, entry fee, time off work, kennels, and baby sitters) not to mention the time away from your family, you are paying \$40.00 – \$50.00 per rating point?? That’s insane!

Call Coach Mike for a free consultation today. 804-426-6058. If you are not ready for coaching, we will get you ready for free. Let us save you some trips and some money!

Watch for more Campaigns and campaign games the whole month of August!

Thanks,

Coach Mike C

# Need a ,”2nd” It’s time for Campaign Training!?!

It’s funny how I stumbled upon the idea of chess campaigns. Most of the books I bought early in my chess career were books that were translated from Russian. I speak English and have learned to read write and speak Spanish fluently and I speak a little bit of German. In all of these languages the word for, “Campaign” is only defined in politics or war. Any other time, they translate the word, “campaign” to the word, “plan”!?! If you are bi, tri, or quadrilingual, you know exactly where I’m going with this. My chess books were telling me I needed a plan when the author had used the word campaign. That 1 word was enough to explain how the Russian Grandmasters could tell us everything and we still would never understand!! Context: A plan is the strategy and dong of 1 thing. Combine enough plans together and you get a campaign! At every BRANCHPOINT THERE IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A CAMPAIGN.

This is a transposition in the King’s Gambit Declined. After 1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. f2-f4 f8-c5 3. g1-f3 d7-d6 white can play 4. b1-c3 and immediately gambit the e pawn with 5. c3-a4!? and have an equal game. It’s there earliest hope of ending the nightmare on the a7-g1 diagonal!?!

So White has to move the bishop, go after the Bishop from the center, or take the pawn. There’s a campaign for each. One of the best parts about putting together a campaign is how easy it makes it to take your opponent out of book without making mistakes! The other part to mention is there are a great many novelties to be discovered that have never been played or recorded when you know how to research and analyze!! The thing to understand about chess campaigns is that you can’t make one that will cover an entire opening. You have to pick variations, transpositions, and branchpoints that you can virtually force to be played. You must know the gift you have received if your opponent errors.

This is a branchpoint. This forces white to push or castle before the b8 knight is developed. The game is going off the grid. There must be a campaign for this position. Can you find out what a7-a5!? is for, the logic behind the move, and what the coming struggle will look like? I don’t think you can do it at the board or when you get home.

Campaigns differ from plans because of their interdependence!?! Every time a part of a campaign is eliminated, another desirable option should take its place. I’ve been making moves from a campaign as late as move 22!!! Each tournament player that enters an, “Under 1400” should be actively researching, analyzing, and creating campaigns. They save time, they save money, and make chess a lot more fun and predictable. If you don’t know how to create campaigns, it’s time you learned! If you need a “2nd”, (someone to do your research and analysis for and/or with you), look no further. Custom campaign design and/or training for white and black can be done in as little as 3 or 4 weeks!!! There’s still time to prepare for the VA Closed Championship in September! Prices vary based on the openings, your rating, and the variations you want to play. Zoom, in person, or at our office. Nobody makes you better faster than SCBC! Call today for a free consultation and quote. 804 426 6058

Thanks,

Coach Mike C

# Transpositions, Variations, Branchpoints and Errors!?!, (Strange) …

Summer is 100% underway! Kids are out of school. Parents don’t have to drive somewhere every night. Everyone has free time to study! Charlottesville, The US Open, and the State Championships are all happening over the next 8 weeks. What’s the best way to invest this free time into chess? If your rating goal is currently 1400-1800, I suggest you watch whole games, (wins, losses, and draws) in a gambit you’re interested in, or whole games, (win, loss, and draws) in the openings that you intend to play.

Gambits help you with the Magic 10, (Range, Speed, Power, Force, Time, Space, Mobility, Initiative, King Safety, and Material). Using your openings will exponentially increases the number of errors you notice in all openings. Gm’s are looking to make sure they stay properly anchored. We are studying games to become properly anchored! It’s a lot easier than people think!?! A 1200’s – 1800’s growth is about increasing their depths. Conversations that used to be a move and a half move bark, or just one area of the board, ( play this move, then I play this, then they play that or look at that square…) have to become 4, 5, and 6, move variations and sequences that explain and justify, variations, transpositions branchpoints, and errors!?! Going through whole games is how you stop wondering what to do so early in your games.

What is the purpose of a maze!?! The affects is that every creature will experience their way out of a maze even when thinking their way out was an option for some, most, or all the time!?! Playing is a maze, studying is not!?! Studying properly is exponential, Playing properly is not!

This is the way I approach the analysis of a game I did not play. 1st I watch the whole game. If you are using a book, and books are best, that means the moves in bold. 2nd I go through the game again questioning which moves I want to improved for each color. 3rd I take the game explorer database to where the branch points are for what’s played. 4th Back to the board. With my new understanding of the variations, I try to understand when the game actually reached it’s branch point and which branches I preferred and hated. 5.) I try to correct their mistakes were with 3, 4, and 5, move sequences for all the moves I had questioned. 6.) I put the game on an engine to check my work . 7. After checking my work, I go through the game move by move with the engine to see If what they played or what I saw was in the top 3-5 best moves. 8. On the board, I watch the game a final time. 9. Write in my notebook what I think I learned from the game. 10. repeat!

That’s the end of the lesson. Once you finish 25 games using this procedure, you should feel very confident using or very confident throwing away the variations you have studied. The good news is you get to keep all the tools, weapons, strategies, and understanding that you anchored. Keep your notebook of this procedure. Come back to it in 30 days and reread your notes, thoughts, and ideas about the games. You’re almost better just thinking about it, aren’t you!?!

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “????.??.??”]
[Round “?”]
[White “?”]
[Black “?”]
[Result “*”]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. e5 cxd4 8. Qa4+
Nc6 9. O-O-O Bd7 10. Ne4 Be7 11. exf6 gxf6 12. Bh4 Nb4 13. Qxb4 Bxb4 14. Nxf6+
Kf8 15. Rxd4 Qa5 16. Nxd7+ Ke8 17. Nf6+ Kf8 18. Ne5 h5 19. Bxc4 Kg7 20. Nfd7
Rhc8 21. Kb1 b5 22. Bf6+ Kg8 23. Rh4 Be7 24. Bxe7 Rxc4 25. Nf6+ Kg7 26. Rxh5 *

A Branch point is when you have 2 or more variations that are equally good but will never transpose.

Need some coaching? Rates as low at \$25 per hour. Financing available! Free consultation. Coach Mike C 804-426-6058.

# Name Your Price Book Sale!! 5/23-5/30!!

Everyone know Coach Mike has the best book collection in Central Va. Thing is I can’t read them all and they are taking up needed space at the club. I’ve got over 600 algebraic and nearly the same amount with descriptive. Yes I have all the old classics, tactics, strategy, endings, tournaments, game collections, Encyclopedia of Chess Openings, My Great Predecessors and over 150 informants.

Yes, I have some entertaining chess books but every book on the tables has my personal stamp of approval!?! Zoom in and see for yourself!!

Did you notice the copy of, Think Like a Grandmaster? The sale hours are:

Monday 9-8

Tuesday 9-10 pm Club Night Bonus Rewards (See below)

Wednesday 9-8

Thursday 9-430

Friday 9-8

Saturday 8 am til 1 pm

Sunday 9-7

Monday 9-1 pm

I’ll be here or close by! Just call when you get to the door. 607 Wickham Street. I have a big project I’m working on, and one of the deadlines is June 1st! That’s why I’m going to be here all day and evening. I always bring lunch for 2 and there’s always something here to snack on. Don’t make excuses, you will never be able to inspect before you buy like this unless you go to a big tournament! No reasonable offer will be refused. Everything must go! Free informant or 2 free descriptive notation books for every \$50.00 you spend. Bring a friend and you both can choose a free descriptive title! You can’t judge a book by it’s notation!?! lol That was funny!!

It’s a yard sale without the yard and everything is in good, better, or new condition!! Tuesday night is club night. 6pm-10pm. The Tuesday night special is another informant or 2 more descriptive titles at \$75.00 and \$100.00. Collectors sets are 25% off. We have the Simpsons and Super Mario chess sets for sale in their original carrying boxes!! Looking for a specific title? I wrote down the entire inventory! Just call me and I’ll let you know if it’s here.

Come by and see me! I promise I will make it worth your while!! Cash, checks, and credit cards accepted! If you can’t make it, we’ll ship, hold, or deliver your order!

Always wishing the best for chess,

Coach Mike C

# “Unrateds” Numbered 28% In The, “Under” Categories At Scholastic Championships!

The 2022 Scholastic Championships are in the books. I had the pleasure of providing the post round analysis again and of course I like doing my statistics. At 1st it amazed me that we could really have that many people playing in their 1st tournament!? Then I remembered…

Pandemic misdirection. They’ve been on line for 2 years with a toy that they thought was a tool!? It didn’t just fool the kids!? The parents think the kids are better than they actually are too! I asked them all; Have you been playing on line? What’s your puzzle rating? How many games did you play at this time control before the tournament? What books are you reading? Are you using the post games analyzer on your site? Did you look up your opponent at US Chess before the game? This went on for 2 whole days!!

They sunk?! No tears, no tantrums, no yelling, screaming, or remorse. I watched them come out after less than 5 minutes in their games and start playing video games on their phones, tablets, and laptops. In the 1st round 1 game was lost in less than 1 minute!! They forgot or somehow didn’t understand the difference between playing in their homes, and their parents giving up 2 days work, paying for hotels, gas, meals, and an entry fee?! Either they weren’t told or they disobeyed!?! Top 1st tournament performances were as follows: K-3 Under 600 was 11th with a new rating of 555, K-5 Under 1000 was 2nd with a new rating of 1140, K-8 Under 1200 was 16th with a new rating of 956, and finally the K-12 Under 1400 was 15th with a new rating of 854. To place 1st in any of these sections would have earned the player a rating that would have been 200 points or more above the “Under” they signed up for!! Imagine their shock when after 1-2 years of what they thought was meaningful progress, they find out that their online ratings don’t make them underrated compared to over the board players, they are overrated!!!

Disillusionment leads to disenchantment! We specialize in converting online toys into online tools! Our programs are designed to help new and experienced players that only have experience, switch to a training regimen that a grandmaster would approve of. If you just want to play for fun and you want to play and study for free then you don’t need any help!?! Praveen achieved the title of GM in Feb 2022 with 1,960 US games in 12 years. That doesn’t count the games he played abroad! I estimate becoming a GM cost his family between \$150,000.00 and \$250,000.00. Once there’s a cost, you have to come up with a better plan!

Back in the day, the Masters, International Masters, and Grandmasters were also famous trainers, analysts, correspondence players, authors, organizers, and arbiters.  Today everyone puts almost 90% of their focus on playing and then to add insult to injury, they want to learn for free, on line, from anybody??  That has replaced reading books written by Grandmasters and global authorities on the subject matter they want to learn.  The result is a younger and younger bunch of tournament junkies just play, play, play, play, play?! At the pace they play it is impossible to be practicing a regimen of, play, analyze, reflect, study, and repeat.  Why would you spend your time and hard earned money on a kind of chess that doesn’t instill this? Today’s chess crowd is uncultured, uniformed, and unambitious!  Organizers have tricked parents into playing in, “Under’s” all the time. If you fall for it, you will automatically spend more money because you are always getting less rating points!!!

If you are going to, “Invest” thousands of dollars and countless weekends at chess tournaments you and your budding star need some training. We will save you money! If you’re not ready for coaching, we’ll get you ready for free!! Ask for Coach Mike! 804-426-6058.

# Over The Board Chess Is Back!

Go back to 2020 and this was what the Tournament Life Announcements looked like. Chess is probably the only sport that has grown during the pandemic!? Now all the Queen’s Gambit and E-Chess enthusiast are coming out to test their online skills in real tournaments.

The pages are full again with opportunities to test your disciplines. We reopened 2 December. The questions coming from people transitioning from online, or back to Over The Board chess have the same underlying theme. The Screen is for your casual eye and the board is for your slow/tournament eye. They mentioned it as fast or slow in this month’s issue of Chess Life, but I’ve been teaching the difference between the casual and tournament eye for more than 3 decades. Experience makes you good at tactics, study and analysis make you good at strategy. Study and analysis sticks better when you use a board!

Play, teach, direct, and organize is back! It takes a tournament or going to a club to make players realize how much they’d forgotten study, play, analyze, reflect and repeat!! For the prepared student, the next couple of years will be the easiest points ever gotten at a chess board!! E player weaknesses will become the articles of insight!? E-chess service providers will be selling everything you need to correct following their, instead of grandmaster advice?!

If you are ready to get to work,(go to tournaments), SCBC is poised as always to give you the training that will get you in the top 100 of your age category, with 40%- 60% less games than players that are just getting better by experience! Virginia’s own Praveen Balakrishnan, broke 2600 in 2020 and was awarded the title of grandmaster in Feb of 2022, I’m sure that he’d agree it can and should be done in less than 1960 games and 14 years!! I hope someone gives his parents a trophy. They had a 3 year period where they took him to 764 games!

Getting some help, even on a short term basis, is better than spending thousands of dollars a year trying to get good at chess from experience. Why go out and make your own mistakes when you can learn what to do from everyone else’s. Consultations are free and informative! If the student is not ready for coaching, we get them ready for free!!

# Guaranteed Results Starting \$25.00 an Hour!

The benchmark for being an, “intermediate” chess player is 1000 -1200 OTB. OTB is, ” Over The Board”. Intermediate also means having to play in other than scholastic events to find competition! Online ratings are accurate plus or minus 200 points for the time control you got that rating in. Translation, your a great, bullet, blitz, 15/10, daily, or what ever other type of on line rating you have. So you need to be playing at tournament time controls to have an idea of what your OTB would be. 90% of on line games and tournaments are 30 minutes or less, the computer scores the game, hits the clock, and if you lose, time was all you lost! In OTB you have travel, meals, lodging, and if you lose, you will have to spend money again to get those points back. The play may appear the same but the risk is like comparing grapes and pineapples!! Being a competitor is about maximizing your efforts and your return. You should be trying to get the most out of every real world trip.

We specialize in developing the complete chess personality! The one colleges and employers are looking for… someone who plays, coaches, directs, and organizes. If you just want to beat your friends and family, we can teach you how to do that in just 6-8 weeks!! If they are still winning after 6-8 weeks of our instruction, you are not doing what you were taught or they are tournament players.

We have 3 types of custom training available. Instructor/No Homework, Teacher/Homework, and Coaching/Monitored/Managed

Instructor/No Homework; This is for the enthusiast or person that is on the go all the time and just wants to beast up on the people they know and love. Our unique approach to the properties of the pieces, selecting a move, studying, and analysis, should make them a referrer for life. These programs usually last anywhere from 4-16 weeks!

Teacher/Homework; This takes it a step farther and allows us to customize the learning even more. This person is definitely playing in tournaments, wants to walk out of one with something to show for all their hard work, and wants to know about the total chess personality even if right now they are not interested in becoming one. Typical term for them is 8 – 24 weeks!

Prodigy! This combines homework with monitoring and management. Students learn all the material in the Instructor and Teacher programs and are monitored to aid in faster use and development of SCBC principles and strategies. In addition, we select the tournaments, train them in coaching and directing principles, provide for national recognition, and teach them how to organize! Prodigy training can also be a source of employment!

Like we said… Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise For All Ages! Call for a free consultation today! if you’re not ready for lessons, teaching, or coaching, we’ll get you ready for free! Coach Mike C 804-426-6058.

We will be conducting free analysis and selling equipment at the Maggie Walker Tournament At Maggie Walker High School on March 6th from 9 am til 330 pm. Come have a look around!?!

# How to Study and Play “Reverse” Openings!!

If you ever get good at any opening the next idea you get will be to try that opening in reverse! The viability is determined by whether of not a single tempo is enough to approve or dismiss the idea.

What happens is there is usually a lot of theory on what ever color has gotten the most use. If you want to play the Bird, I think it’s best to have a book or 2 on the Dutch. With an extra tempo, why hasn’t theory made the Bird more feared than the Dutch? It’s up to you to discover that!? When you find the answer, and it is out there, you will have a tournament weapon that no one reading a book can prepare for!! The other good news is you may have found a move or sequence that is dangerous as White and as Black.

The way you check viability and find out where the tempo matters has definitely been improved by the computer. To find white’s best move, put the position on an engine with 12-16 lines showing and see what it says. Now, take the position on the right and put it on the engine but tell the computer that it’s black’s move. As white my engine chose c2-c4, b1-a3, and c2-c3. As Black it chose c7-c5, b8-a6, and c7-c6, but the numerical evaluations were off by +/- .10 – .25. If it’s the exact same position and color is the only thing that’s changed, why isn’t the evaluation exactly the same?? That’s why in my chess laboratory the computer is the tool, not the boss! Try this with any opening!?!

The basic consensus is that the English is one of the most boring and drawish openings ever created. Translation; Your endgame has to be at, “A” level or higher to handle the endings!?! lol With a tempo down, the Sicilian not only invokes more uncertainty, but it is not called a reverse English in any variation!? If you want to get good at the Bird you must also buy books on the Dutch, but if you really want to understand the Sicilian and the struggle for the tempo they lost, you must study the English!!

So now comes the challenge of transpositions. The Philidor starts with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6. The Philidor in Reverse for me starts with 1. Nf3 to prevent an unprotected e5 by black. The extra tempo eliminates the traps and sharp lines I usually have to face. Since there is so little theory for black and virtually none for white, I’ve been able to execute middle game campaigns that punish my opponent’s clocks because after castling, they are always in unfamiliar territory and I have a few, “Novelties”. Again, set your opening position up on the computer, If it’s white’s move, change it so that it’s black’s move. If it’s black’s move, change it so that it’s white’s. Now watch what can and can not still be done!?! Even if you decide not to play the reverse of your favorite opening, you are sure to come away with a better understanding and some fresh ideas!

As you play your opening in reverse, be aware that your opponent, whether a move a head or behind is going to try to steer the game back into familiar territory. Your break away, if possible, should avoid the theoretical or classic lines unless they are still good for you. Move order is very important when playing the reversed. Watch carefully for variances and make sure there is no way back to familiar territory as soon as possible. When one comes up that’s forced in your favor, study it, practice it, and add it to your arsenal!!

Remember, grandmasters beat other grandmasters by creating unfamiliar middlegames from familiar openings. Now you have the key to planning better middlegames and surprising your opponents. Chess.com’s analyzer is good enough if you don’t have an engine. Go to settings on the top right hand side of your analysis diagram and you can change the number of lines it shows you from 3 -5!! Don’t be intimidated by the number of equal lines. Select lines and moves that are sound and suit your tastes!!

We have reopened! Come visit us at the club on Thursdays, take a class, get some lessons, or register for our monthly tournament!! Need equipment or recommended books… We’ve got them at competitive prices, no shipping and no waiting! The other thing is … Call when chess is on your mind, it’s that important to us. 804-426-6058, 8 am til 10 pm.

Healthy, Wealthy, And Wise For All Ages,

Mike C

# State Scholastics 26/27 March In Nearby Fredericksburg!!!

Those aren’t ratings silly!?! Those are the year the games are from! I blogged about this awesome book, ” The King Hunt”. Look at these positions… If every single move is a check, or a capture, or a threat, or a sacrifice, that should improve the chances of solving it, right?! If you can’t figure out the 1st 3 moves of the position even when allowed to move the pieces, you don’t need a tournament, you need a class!

In just the short time I’ve been reading this book and sharing these positions, I’ve heard so many excuses for not being able to write out the answer… It’s too long, it’s too complicated, you must have made these up, that’ll never happen in a real game. I just laugh!? Culture and competence go hand in hand with chess and that means one automatically leads to the other. If you’re new or low rated and not watching the classics, you are not following grandmaster advice!!

So me being the good Level III coach I am, I came up with a challenge:

If you present me with all the roads to mate from these 3 positions, I will let you select a book of your choice and give you a free entry into our February 27th tournament. That is over a \$75.00 value!!! If you are not a paying student, you may make your submission any Thursday between 6 pm and 10 pm at the club meeting.

You have to be wondering, Why would he make a challenge like that when I can move the pieces around, put the position in a data base, put the position on an engine, etc? Because I want to prove to you that in chess, there is no cheating!!! What ever earnest or easy work you do will improve your game. Don’t think I let you off easy!? To accomplish this task will take you 3-4 hours. You have to show me every continuation to mate until you reach mate in 2. If there are 3 continuations that are mate in 6, 5, 4, or 3, I want to see them all. You’ll be amazed at how early they have to start throwing pieces on the sword to avoid mate and I want you to see that!!! You can’t cheat while you play, but compared to becoming good at anything else, you can cheat while you study and practice!!! If you think becoming good at chess is hard, you’ve been misled, misguided, and sometimes outright lied to.

Our classes expose these misleadings, misguidance, and lies, so that you can have fun while you learn and while you play. Visit this link to see when our February and March trainings are: https://scholarshipchessbusinesscenter.com/grand-reopening-dec-2nd/zoom-lessons/

Do you prefer private or small group lessons? We can do those to!

Get off the wheel and learn the truth about becoming a better chess player! Hope to hear from or see you soon!!

# Outlandish Tactics

Every once in a while you have to grab an old book and get in some nostalgia!! I’ve got this old title called, “The King Hunt”. That and a couple of other books are at home waiting for my tired attention as I try to enjoy the games. This book, published in 1970 is fun, entertaining, and instructive. There are as many errors in the attacks as there are in the defense. I took the liberty of analyzing it and thought I would share it with you!

Before computers, VCR’s, microfishes, pagers, cable, wifi, discs, tablets and cell phones, there was the book! One finger on your place and the other hand is used to move… Timeless!!

# Keeping Your Half Is A Catch 2022!

When does everyone say enough is enough and start acting like chess players instead of other sports people? It seems the more informed your perspective is on what is actually a good result in chess, the more people question your intent to win!?!(Strange)

Each game starts with each player having half a point, not zero! In order for that to change, someone has to make a mistake, an oversight, or a blunder. At the less than Master level it will normally require that you make more than 1 mistake, oversight, or blunder. The skill that actually differentiates amateurs and masters is each ones ability to spot and punish mistakes. So when non masters play they are both making mistakes, oversights, and blunders, and the last one to get caught making 1 of those usually loses!

Let’s take a look at how we keep score compared to other sports. In chess, what does it mean if someone has a record of 23-8-5? This means that they have 23 wins, 8 draws, and 5 losses. In every other sport it would mean 23 wins, 8 losses, and 5 draws/ties. That distinction is very instructive! Why? Because chess is the only sport in the world that when there is a tie, and you are following Grandmaster advice, there is still a winner and a loser!!

In every other sport they measure your win percentage. In the example above the person with a 23-8-5 record would have a winning percentage of 63.88%. In chess we measure our keep percentage! A person with a 23-8-5 record would have a keep percentage of 75.00%! Go to US Chess and look yourself up! Scroll down the, “General” page to, “game statistics” and then go to, “by year” and the number they will give you is your keep % not your winning percentage. If you want to know your winning percentage, you will have to do that math on your own!! Chess success is measured by what you keep! Every other sport goes from 0%-100%. We go from 50%-100% In chess being able to brag about your, “Not losing streak” is as good or better than other sports bragging about their winning streak.

This is an informant. It is a FIDE publication that features top games and puzzles from top games in it. The feature that stands out is when you go to the puzzle section, The 1st puzzles are for checkmates, the second set of puzzles is for draws, the 3rd set is for material, then a section for all other themes. The puzzles are set up in order of importance!! Win, Draw, Material, Everything else.

Do you know how to play up? Grandmasters agree that the only way to improve is to play up. Each player must decide what their comfort zone is. Playing in the, “Under” section is ok, when you are within 50 points of the cap. Example… your rating is 957 and you are playing in the, “Under 1000” section. Your rating is 1369 and you are playing in the, “Under 1400” section. Other than that, you should be playing the spread. Your rating is 690. You should choose the, “Under 1000” over the, “Under 800”. Your rating is 1028. You should choose the, “Under 1400” over the, “Under 1200”. No matter how confident you are, you should not be 1231 playing in the, “Under 1800” section unless you are there strictly as a discovery exercise. After 400 points, your odds of winning the section go to almost impossible.

You don’t need to be a grandmaster to train like one. The fun part of our training is everything is a shortcut! We followed the advice from great books, we did the work suggested by great books, and we discovered things you only learn by doing exactly what you are told. Now we offer these improvement methods to you at a fraction of the time and money it would take you to discover and implement them. We guarantee that our methods and techniques are 100% unique and the result of decades of reading and following the advice of World Champions, Cycle Competitors, and Grandmaster Theoreticians So, we encourage you to sign up for a course, come by the club for some free training, or purchase some of the hand selected books that we know will take your game to the next level

# SCBC Brings OTB Back To Richmond Dec 2nd!!

We are back! I played in a couple of tournaments with a mask on and I found the bandanna works best for me. I’ve researched and talked extensively with US Chess and it seems that If we just do things right, the likely hood of transmission is extremely low! It’s time to do things right and get back to the work I love… Finding new talent, putting them on the true path to becoming a complete chess personality, and helping people of all ages use chess to help themselves!

We’ve had a banner year in 2021! US Certified Coach, 8 year old Anagha Sinkar, took 1st place in the K-3 Division of the Virginia Scholastic Championships. Anagha is a student of ours that became a middle school head coach when she was only 6 years old!! I keep telling parents, if you want them to play more conscientiously, get your child involved in coaching and refereeing as soon as possible! Anagha’s peak rating has gone up more than 600 points since she started coaching!! Life Master, US Certified Coach, and US Certified Tournament Director Jason Morefield joined our coaching staff when he was 11 years old back in 2014. This year Jason won the Virginia Closed State Championship. He is one of the few to win both the Open and Amateur Titles! His rating has gone from over 1800 to a peak of 2354 while he’s been coaching for us! Again tapping into the total chess personality made the child a better player! Anagha achieved her peak of 1440 in just 178 games. Jason achieved his peak rating of 2354 in just 413 games!! Both of these kids have played 40% to 50% less tournament games than other children their age that have the same ratings!! That saved their parents thousands of dollars while they were earning money too!! That’s a life lesson!! Head Coach, Chief Tournament Director, and Organizer, Mike Callaham received his, US Chess Level III Advanced Team Coaching Certificate this year! His application boasted 163 team appearances in the last 90 months! He is 1 of only 43 people that hold that title across the USA!! If you want to get the most out of the time you invest in chess, your search for leadership is over!

We are a tournament chess, professional development, and entrepreneurial training company. We are experts at the, ‘play, analysis, reflect, repair, and repeat‘ of tournament chess. We know many secrets and shortcuts to chess success. We hope that is why you come, but if you just like to play, you are also welcome!? We need as many types of sparring partners as we can get!! Click on, “Club Meetings” for information about the benefits of club membership!

Last Saturday Open Swiss Tournaments: Nothing compares to sitting down to a complete stranger with a clock, a scoresheet, and rating points on the line. This activity more than any other is what begins and sustains the improvements to the personality, character, and mental prowess that we all believe and want from chess!! Without a stranger, clock, scoresheet, and rating points on the line chess is just another toy!! Click on, “Tournaments” for a complete schedule of up coming tournaments!!

The pandemic sent everyone to the computer. South Park ran skits of darkened screens and muted participants. The problem, people didn’t know how to prepare a thinking environment so they had to make sure they didn’t get caught and embarrassed by what they we saying and doing or what the people in their households were saying or doing. By forcing our students to leave the microphone on, it did 2 things… 1.) It made them find a quiet place or made everyone else respect that they needed quiet for this type of work. 2.) It made the students pay closer attention because they could be required to answer a question at any time without the warning of being told to,”unmute”. It’s been very successful for us and the students love the special treatment and attention. Click on, “Lessons” for more details about class times, class material, and costs!!

Camps are about taking in a whole bunch of information then reviewing the information over and over, and using it over and over again until the improvements become permanent! Our camps aren’t like other camps!? When you ask our participants if they understood everything that was in the camp, instead of yes, there answer will be, no, I need to look over the booklet again!? We are offering this intense training the 20th-23rd and the 27th-30th. Click on, “Camps” for more details!

Check out all the details under, “Grand Reopening”!! If you’d like details about any of the programs at SCBC please call 804-426-6058. Ask for Coach Mike C.

# CHECKS, CAPTURES, THREATS, AND SACRIFICES FOR KINGS, QUEENS, AND ROOKS!?!(STRANGE)

Checks: In the above position, The king has 0 checks, the queen has 6 at d2, c2, b2, e1, d1, and b5, the rook has 1 check at f5, the bishop has 3 at f6, e7, and c1, the knight has 1 at f7, and the pawns have 0. To evaluate the position correctly you should 1st see how many there are then see what your opponent’s response can or can not be for each one. It’s a rotation, so you may get the answer at any time. The key to getting answers is an open mind! You can’t say, “If I play that, they’ll just take me” Ok, if you play there they will take you, but should they, can they, without any risk or penalty? The more disciplined you become about the answer to that question the more you will discover about where everyone really can or can not go!!

Captures: If you did not figure out where to go by looking at the checks, now it’s time to look a the captures. The king has 0 captures, the queen has 1 capture at b2, the rook has 3 at d5, e6, and f5, the bishops, knights, and pawns all have 0. The procedure is the same! Look at each capture and see if they really can take you back or not or where they can or can not go. Again you must look a couple of moves to see should they, can they, without any risk or penalty? This is where the w,b,w,b,w, and b,w,b,w,b, I’ve been sharing with you in the last couple of blogs comes in to play.

Threats: If you’ve looked at the checks and captures and still don’t have moves to play, it’s time to look at the threats. Remember it’s a rotation! You don’t need patience to play chess, you need patience to win at chess. That’s why your blitz and puzzle ratings keep going up, but you still keep losing when you sit down to a real game! You don’t need skill to identify checks and captures, so don’t get all proud of yourself because you got the number right! Identifying threats will require that you use the Magic 10. Look at every piece and asses their range, speed, power, force, time, space, mobility, initiative, their affect on king safety, and if they can snatch any material. The features of the magic 10 in this position are range, force, time, and king safety… Anytime your opponents king, queen, or rook has no escape square, or has to stay on a square, all it takes is 1 good check/threat to take them down. You’re going to have to talk yourself through it. All you need is 1 check on the a1-a8 diagonal and black is toast. How or who has the range, speed, time or force to help me get my queen or bishop on that diagonal? My own rook is stopping my queen and their rook is stopping my bishop.

Sacrifices: The worst trick that has been played on the mind of chess players is that a sacrifice involves the temporary loss of something!! In chess, sacrifices involve the temporary gain of something!! That gain is a change in the Magic 10. Every time a check, capture, threat, or sacrifice happens, the Magic 10 of all the pieces changes!!! So here the question is how can I sacrifice with force and gain time to get my queen to e5? “I know, Rf5!? then if they take my queen, I take their rook and mate on g8!! Oh that won’t work, they just take me with their rook. Let’s look at something else” No, let’s finish looking at what we were looking at. The key to finding a combination is to constantly be looking the length of a combination. Here is the key to the entire system. You must look at the checks until all the checks are gone, you must look until all the captures are gone, you must look until all the threats are gone, and you must look until all the sacrifices are gone. That may take 3, 4, 5, 6 even 7 moves but at the end of your analysis, you will be 100% sure of where everyone can and can not go. So, after 1. Rf5!!(check) Rf5 you must keep checking, capturing, threatening, and sacrificing until they are all gone to get the correct answer about 1.Rf5!!(check)

We are going to keep going until everything is gone. Now the queen has 13 checks!!! e5(3), d2, c2, b2(2), e1, d1, b5, f3, e4, and g4. the bishop has 3 checks f6(2) and c1, the knight has 1 check f7 and the pawns have 1 check g4. We started with 11 checks and now we have 18! We used a forcing sacrifice to gain range, time, and more compromised king safety. We are in the middle of our combination now so we will be going through our rotation using the most forceful moves we can find to accomplish the objective we had set!. 1. Rf5!!(check) Rf5 2. Qe5! Re5 3. Bf6 mate! Visualize everything until they are all gone.

Our last example was using a check against the rook to change the Magic 10 in our favor. The rotation will always be the same. By that I mean we always go in the same order Q, R, B, N, then pawns.

Checks: The queen 9 at b5, c6(2), c4(2), d3, e2(2), and f1, the rook 1 at b4, the bishops 2 at c2(2) and the pawns have 0. If you’ve found the combination by just looking at the checks, then there is no need to go any further. My suggestion is to continue through the rotation until you are 100% convinced and sure that they have no way out and you haven’t missed a defensive resource!

Captures: There’s 1 for the queen at c6, 1 for the rook at b2 and 2 for the bishops at g5 and d4.

Threats: What does the magic 10 say? My pieces are good and that check on c4 looks killer. In this position instead of using the magic 10 for me, I have to use the magic 10 against my opponent. The only thing holding that position together is the Queen. How do we zap her range, space, and mobility?

Sacrifices: Here we know the problem. It’s the queen and here mobility. Oh wow!? the queen doesn’t have any escape squares either! 1…Rb4!!(check) They have to take with the pawn or I win the queen. 2. ab? Qc4 3. Kd2 Qd3 4.Kc1 Qb1 5. Kd2 Qb2 6. Qc2 Qc2 mate. They can’t take with the pawn, so I win the queen and get to keep my attack!!

Sometimes the checks will tell you what to sacrifice, sometimes the captures will tell you the threats, sometimes the threats will tell you which check to use! The point is, if you go through the checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices, every time, you are going to know the magic 10 of both teams, not just your own! You have to win more games when you know where everyone can and can not go for both sides!!

Now you have some idea of what to be disciplined about to win more chess games. It will only take one game of you using the information in these blogs to change the amount of fun you have when you play! This is still the tip of the iceberg. I promised you secret stuff that you’d never heard of that would explain why our students do so well so fast. how am I doing? There’s more coming!!! Your game, your inner talk and thoughts have to evolve. Remember we are a tournament chess training company. If you read and then try to discipline yourself to use this information during blitz games you missed the point!?! You must play longer time controls or be doing extremely difficult puzzles at a board to see how this works! At the beginning, doing what I say will shorten the length of your games, it’s not designed to save you time. For what I’ve explained to shorten your games and save you time. you must take these disciplines and make them habits!!!

Want to learn and see more? Get some lessons/coaching. Got a question, contact me. Mike Callaham 804-426-6058. Until then take what I’ve given you and beat the snot out of somebody!?! lol

# Do You Really, Truly, Understand The Value and Properties Of The Pieces!?!

In the last blog, Va Championship Wrap Up, I let the cat out of the bag about the shortest length of a combination and the Magic 10! The Magic 10 consist of 1.) Range 2.) Speed 3.) Power 4.) Force 5.) Time 6.) Space 7.) Mobility 8.) Initiative 9.) King Safety and 10.) Material. If you are like most of our students, the properties and values of the pieces are flashing through your head as you read the magic 10. You may say to yourself… that’s easy, basic stuff. Yes the way you were taught was basic stuff, but when is your perception of the value and properties of the pieces going to evolve like the rest of your game? The chess world leaves us clues about the true nature of everything in chess!! We see them all the time and don’t realize we need that lesson, method, or attitude. A couple of examples… In any other sport, if you see a record of 15-5-3 that means they won 15, lost 5, and tied 3. In chess that means they won 15, drew 5, and lost 3. The reason our scoring is different is because when you are following grandmaster advice and playing up as often as possible, when you draw, you still get points!! Chess is the only game in the world that still has a winner and a loser when there is a tie! Why is it when you go to the back of an Informant to solve puzzles, they have mating combinations 1st, then there are combinations to draw, then there are material combinations, then there are all other combinations. If you have a Win, Lose, or Draw mentality instead of a Win, Draw, or Lose mentality you are habitually doing something wrong! Why does Chess.com have a vision exercise that requires you to tell where a board coordinate is? That’s a clue that you are supposed to know where all of the squares are and record all of your games. That has been a standard recommendation by the greatest players for nearly 2 centuries but there are still people out there that won’t do it and think they are improving intelligently!?! lol

Without boring you into submission, let’s get into our topic. Forgive my rhetorical questions, but this is supposed to be a comparison between what you believe, what is true, and which one will help you more easily and efficiently improve at chess. How many pieces does a chess set have? No silly! lol Literally, what is the minimum number of pieces you need to play a game of chess? The answer is 33!?!

You can’t play without one. Remember, the whole idea is to be able to play chess without moving the pieces. That’s what all of us are trying to master!! Some people can see a couple of moves, some quite a few moves, others whole games, and at the highest level they are able to play multiple games without a board and pieces. Don’t argue, even if you set the 32 pieces up, you’d have to have some type of imaginary board to play and coordinates to record the game! It’s a piece.

What is the playing surface of the board? There are 8 ranks and 8 files, but what is the playing surface? The playing surface is 8×7, not 8×8!?! I can’t make this stuff up. If the playing surface is 8×8, how is it that the rook can only go to 14 squares instead of 16? What will really bake your noodle is when I say that the there are only 63 squares that a piece can go to! Now that’s funny!! it can’t go the square it’s sitting on, it’s already there. The only point I’m making is that the board is a lot smaller than we think. Being able to only go 7 in any direction and knowing how the squares are occupied affects range, speed, force, time, space, mobility, and king safety!! That’s 7 of the magic 10!! When I go to teach someone chess, the 1st thing we learn is the board and how to record a game. The more you write the coordinates, the faster you won’t need a board to do combos.

What is the total value of a team of chess players. We’ve all heard the 1, 3, 5, and 9 nonsense. Yeah I called it nonsense. The only thing I tell my students is who’s more valuable and how it translates to comparable material. The only time the team is worth 39 is when nothing has been moved!?!

Now we are getting closer. Here we have 103! So how do we properly describe the value of the pieces? Simple… Each team starts with a fluctuating value that goes from 39 all the way up to 103. The job of each team is to help a member of the team to become priceless. Remember, when we are following grandmaster advice and playing up, wins and draws earn points. The piece that delivers the mate or delivers the draw is priceless because they are equal or better than the other persons King!!

Every other piece can explode and implode except the King. What do I mean by implode and explode? Every other piece can force other pieces to take them and occupy their square, The king can chase pieces, but he can’t attract. So when we look at the diagram, the king only controls 8 squares. He’s not a coward, but technically speaking he is a running piece. All the other pieces have the choice of run, take, block, or sit there. When the king is at his strongest, he requires you to see further ahead than any other piece. When met by the opposition of another king, the number of playing squares a king can go to drops to 55, (1 + 8 = 9!). Don’t get it twisted, The king is using the Magic 10 to conduct a battle. When there are no checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices, the Magic 10 will tell you what needs to be played.

From here, everyone has explode and implode!! Like the king, she can go in 8 directions. Her range, speed and mobility are 3-4 times more destructive than the kings. She has the character of a King, Rook, Bishop, and a pawn. Her only limit is that she can not move like a Knight!!

Why does everybody complicate it. You’ll learn how to use all the pieces and the board a lot faster when start asking yourself should you use the Queen or the Rook? Should I use the Queen or the Bishop, should I use the Queen or the Pawn? The right person for the job requires us to use our pieces that way!

The balance! A mini queen and half pawn! lol The Pawn moves like a Rook and a Bishop, just slower and can only face forward. What came 1st, the Rook, the bishop, the pawn, or the queen?

How does a Knight move? It moves in an, ” L” shape is not true. The Knight is actually moving in an 8th of a circle!?!

if you want congruence from a knight, you must understand that it is a 2 phased piece. It controls from where it sits, and attacks when it moves. It’s control and attacks can not be blocked. The diagram shows the squares the knight can not attack! During an endgame, hiding on a square like this can gain time!

If it’s on light squares, it’s attacking light squares. If it’s on a dark square, it’s attacking a dark squares! If I have a knight on f3 it’s attacking h7, e6, and f7. A Knight has it’s own worth! Nothing moves like it!

Now that you have an evolved your understanding of the value and properties of the pieces you have several advantages that you shouldn’t be sharing with anyone if you like winning.

The playing board is smaller than the actual board.

The board is the 33rd piece. When you master the board, you won’t need pieces.

Except for the Knight, all the pieces are made in the image of the king. They all do what the king does.

The Knight is a circular 2 phased piece! You must imagine it moving twice or 3 times to get a peak at it’s true power. If it’s on light, it’s attacking light, if it’s on dark, it’s attacking dark!!

Pawns move in the shape of a fan, not just nomadically down a file. Once a pawn reaches the 6th rank it’s as valuable as a piece. The pawn isn’t slow. It has the smallest playing board of all the pieces… just 40 with 8 promotion squares!!

The pieces are there for you to invest in the war effort. Their lowest value is 39, and their greatest value is 103. Success is finding a way to make one of them priceless.

The queen is a combination of 3 pieces. Always be asking if a rook, bishop, or pawn could do just as good or better job!?

The Magic 10 are what increases and decreases the value of a piece or group of pieces. Material is the last concern. Invest wisely!

Hope you learned something unbelievable. If you’d like lessons, we offer a free consultation. if you are not ready for lessons, we will get you ready for free!!

Coach Mike C 804-426-6058

# VA Championship Wrap Up

One of the most basic guidelines we use to teach chess is, “Look at every Check, Capture, Threat, and Sacrifice Every Time!?! Regardless of what you think… Whether they can take you or not… Whether it makes sense or not… to see where everyone can and can not go for Kings, and Queens and Rooks!?!” Except for threats you have to know what the other 3 are just to say you play chess! But, to employ this rule in a game takes discipline. I laugh when other chess companies have, “non compete” agreements. We’ve never used them and never will. Why? Because being great at chess is a matter of discipline. Knowledge is “power”, but it takes discipline to become a “force”!!! I told you last month that I’m not holding back on my secrets anymore! The stuff I’m giving you in the notes to these positions is guaranteed to make your game blunderproof!!! When you finally acknowledge that discipline, not knowledge is what wins chess games, winning and losing at chess becomes a choice of whether or not you care. When you care, you will win or draw…When you don’t care, you will win, draw, and lose.

What you are about to see are the Va Novice and Amateur Follies. Every position you are about to see is from an actual game! Some players left a pawn out there, some missed mates in 2, and 3, and 4 moves. Others broke the rules of the opening, middle and end game. Some where stuck in the, “you take me, I take you back” mentality. But the reason they all failed to take advantage of their opponent’s mistakes or their own opportunities was because they did not consider every check, capture, threat, and sacrifice! Well start with the simple and work our way up to the complicated!

Black just takes on d4. If white takes on d5, the knight will take on c2

Chess needs philanthropist, but not at the board! lol White has no worries taking the pawn on e5. If by reflex black tries Ne4?, white’s Nf7! will remind black just how different the position is from when that would work!!

Black should have exchanged queens and took the loss of the piece. Lucky for black that white played 2. Ne5?? instead of 2.Ne7 and 3. Qg7 mate!

In the game white played Rac1?? What they missed was 2. Qd5!! cd 3. Rc8 Re8 4. Re8 Qe8 5. Rb1! and the king and queen are unable to get off the back row a the same time. White will play 6. Rb8 winning the queen and remaining a piece up! All combinations get easier to calculate when the moves in the combination are checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices!?!

The whole purpose of putting the bishop on the long diagonal is that everything in front of a bishop, a rook, and a queen, should be treated like it’s a ghost. White wins material by playing 1. Nd4!

Same game with a chance to hit the long diagonal again! White wins material again, this time with 1. Ne5!. If the queen takes they win the knight and the rook. If the knight takes then it’s 1… Ne5 2. Bf4! (Yes, it’s better than taking the rook!?) Bg4 3. Qe1! 0-0-0 4. Be5 with a huge advantage!

Anytime you can threaten mate, you must look for at least a w,b,w,b,w, or a b,w,b,w,b, to see what your opponent can do!? The minimum length of a combination is 2.5 moves. If you can’t or won’t look that far ahead, all of your games will be filled with missed opportunities!! 1…Ng4! (b)is a killer move! After 2. Bf4 Qd4 (b) 3. Kh1(w) Nf2(b)( that’s what I meant by a w,b,w,b,w, or a b,w,b,w,b.) 4. Rf2 (or face a smothered mate!) Qf2 5. Qh3 h5 and black is an exchange and a couple pawns to the good!

Everyone can see checks, captures, and sacrifices. Heck, if you can’t see those, stop telling people you play chess!! Tell people you are a piece mover?! LOL. Looking at the checks, captures, and sacrifices, will lead you to irresistible threats!! White is in a mating net after 1…Nf5! From here all white can do is keep throwing players on the sword until it’s over. 2. Rf2 Rf2 3. Rg1 Be5!! ( If you play these fianchetto systems, Be4 and Be5 have to constantly be on your mind!) 4. Qf2 Qf2 5. Ne5 Rb8 6. Nd3 Ng3 7. Rg3 Rb1 8. Ne1 Re1 9. Rg1 Rg1 mate.

Yes, the last 3 examples are from the same game. That knight on h6 should be able to collect retirement for how long it’s been sitting there doing nothing. Why not 1…Qd5!! 2. Qe3 Qh5! 3.Qf4 Qh3 4. Rh2 Rf3 5. Rh3 Rf4 and wins easily.

Oh come on, it’s a Sicilian and your king is still in the center! No way could black take that pawn. Black had to just take his licks after 1… 0-0 2. Nd4 bc 3. Nc6 Rfe8. At least in that continuation white still has to figure out what to do. Instead black got punished swiftly with 2. Bd6 Qb7 3. Rc6 Ra7?? 4. Be7 Qe7 5. Rc8 mate. Black could have fought longer with 3… 0-0 4. Rc7 Qb6 5. Re7.

One of the biggest errors amateurs make is looking at their opponents rating instead of at the board. White has a strong advantage every way you look at it by just taking on d6. Let’s see what happens as the game progresses

Everybody knows or should know that getting rid of your backward pawn is a priority. Everyone knows that the way to counter an attack on the wing is by activity in the center 1st then possibly on the other wing. Here black misses their chance to take the initiative by playing 1…d5! 2. e5 Ne8 3. Kb1 Nc7 4. h4 d4 5. Ne4 c4! 6. Qd2 Nb5 and it is the black team that is marching! 1… d5! 2. ed Nd5 3. Nd5 Qd5 4. Bd5 and where did the attack go. One of the things about castling queenside is you will nearly always have to spend a move to get your king to the b file because they are still too exposed. If you ignore this guideline it can get you in big trouble!

This is the type of over exposure I was talking about. Here, the magic 10 take over. They are Range, Speed, Power, Force, Time, Space, Mobility, Initiative, King Safety and Material. These 10 things are affected by checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices! Being able to see w,b,w,b,w’s and b,w,b,w,b’s are how you increase yours and take away your opponent’s!! Here black eliminates white’s attack and steals the initiative by improving the range, speed, power, and mobility of their team with checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices!! 1… Bb2! 2. Kb2 Qf6 3. Be5! {Black has to close the diagonal. 3. Kb1 is worse, ex… 3… Rae8 4. Qa7 Re7 5. Qa6 Re2 6. Rh2 Rh2 7. Bh2 Qc3!! 8. Rg6! hg and wins. If 3. Qc3 then 3… Qc3 (3… Qf4? would throw it all away because of the beautiful move 4. Bd3!!. Black can’t take with 4… cd in this line because of 5. Rg6! hg 6. Rh8 Kf7 7. Rh7 Ke8 8. Qc6 Kd8 9. Qd7 mate!!) 4. Kc3 Rf4 5. Kb4 Re8 6. Rh2 Re5 7. Ka5 Rd5 is winning for Black.}. 3…de 4. c3 Rad8 5. Rd1 Rf7 black has a winning position. If you think these are long sequences for novices and amateurs, break them down into the 2.5 or 3.5 moves at a time and it won’t seem that way. Remember, 2.5 moves is the shortest a combination can be. A smothered mate, which every chess players love to watch is 4.5 move if you count from the 1st check!!

By now, you should be getting tired. If you are, that’s a problem of stamina!? Having to look at all of this is why they give you 90 minutes for 30 moves and then 1 hr sudden death. It’s because you waste so much of your time at the board looking at unimportant moves, continuations, and positions. Playing on line and doing puzzles on line does not build stamina because all the toys/tools do the thinking for you. Using a chess engine is supposed to provide a comparison not a discovery!? lol Here black panicked themselves into a mating net. The game concluded with 2. Rg6! hg 3. Be6 Kg7 4. Bh6 Kh8 5. Bf8 Rh7 6. Rh7 Kh7 7. Qh2 Bh4 8. Qh4 mate. Black missed the winning 1… Qa2!! 2. Be6 Re6! 3. de Bb2 4.Kd1 Qb1 5. Ke2 Qc2 6. Kf1 Qf2 7. Kf2 Re8 8. Re1 Bc3 and white will have to give back more than a rook to stop the pawns.

It’s late in the game, you may be tired, but you must continue to look for mate. Here white missed 1. Rg8 Kh6 2. Bf5!! Rg1 3. Kh3 Rg3 4. hg g4 5. Kg4 Bg7 6. Rfg7 a1(Q) 7. Rh7 mate

I watched a lot of players trying to be aggressive while actually missing the most aggressive moves they could make. Why isn’t 1 or 2 pawns enough? White has a forced continuation at their disposal. After 1. Nc7 Rc8 2. Ne6 fe 3. Be6 Rc7 white is up a pawn with plenty of attack left! If black tries to get cute with 1… Bc4?!, then 2. cd Rc8 3. Nd5 Nb4 4. Nf5! still makes it clear who is in charge! It’s not black. You don’t need to open the f file to dominate black!?

In this position black played …d5 letting white off the hook. The dark squared bishop has no retreat! If black is to seize their opportunity, they must play 1… f6!(b) 2. Bf4(w) g5(b) 3. Bd6(w) Be4(b) 4. Re4(w) Qd6(b). This was a, b,w,b,w,b,w,b. This is what we call a, “4 banger”!? If you intend to compete against players that have all the time in the world to decide what they want to play, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 combinations have to be a part of your arsenal. I can guarantee that when you finally start considering combinations that are this long, each move will be a check, capture, threat, or sacrifice that drastically alters the magic 10!!!

I saved this one for last for 2 reasons… 1.) It embodies at the highest level the secrets that no one is talking and writing about in chess books, and 2.) Because only the people who made it all the way through to the end deserve to understand this trajectory altering secret!!! The king is not the only piece that can be in check!?! No bold, no italics, just the truth!!! Once you realize that kings, queens, and rooks, can be in check it will change the way you look at a chess position. “I take you, you take me back”, is the 1st hurdle in a 20 hurdle race!? This whole combo is because of the queen being in check, not the king! 1…d4-d3! (check! When you are one of our students, this is a check!) 2. Qd1 dc (check!) 3. Qc2 Nd3 4. Kh1 Nb4 (check!) 5. Qd1 Bg2 6. Kg2 Ne1 7. Qe1 bc and black is winning. For those of you who were wondering, on 2. cd? there follows 2… Nd3! 3. Kh1 Ndf4!(check!) and white loses their queen!

# Post Round Analysis At The State Championships!?!

I’ve been conducting post round analysis for Virginia Scholastic tournaments and championships for 11 years. This year it was my job to collect games for the VA bi monthly newsletter. After having surgery in August, I was in no mood to play or direct so I decided that I’d do post round analysis for the amateur and novice sections.

A recent article by Women’s Grand Master and 2 time Czech Women’s Champion Katerina Nemcova,

Come to find out 75% of them had not opened even 1 book to get ready for the championship. They been solving on line puzzles, playing Blitz, and watching videos. That threw me for a loop when I also discovered nearly half of them had online coaches.

The next thing I noticed was how fast they were finishing their games and how unaffected some of them seem to be by the result they had gotten. When I asked about their online activity, I was hearing ratings of 1500 blitz, 1300 Bullet, Puzzle Rush scores in the high 20’s and 30’s. Even with this level of activity, the quality of the scoresheets left a lot to be desired. I thought it was because some of them were in their 1st tournament, but I was wrong on that assumption. I was getting inaccurate and incomplete scoresheets from people that were bragging about having played for years!?!

Since the pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people playing chess! Since they couldn’t play over the board, they have to play online. Chess, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, is an industry. As with any industry, there are people that give great service and people that give terrible service. One of the biggest mistakes I see parents making is they think chess instruction is a commodity!

What should you ask to protect yourself?

If you want to get a quality coach, here are some question to ask;

The 1st question will tell you a great deal about the person offering lessons or coaching. Lesson and coaching are not the same. Once you have their membership # you can find the truth about them at, http://www.uschess.org/index.php/Player/Rating-Lookup-Old-format.html There you can see their membership status, tournament history, norms performance/category, whether they are a tournament director, their peak rating, and career statistics. To see if they are a Certified Coach visit, http://www.uschess.org/index.php/Scholastic-Misc/Certified-Chess-Coach-List.html. There are people asking \$25.00-\$75.00 per hour that won’t even know what you are talking about or why you are asking so many questions!!! Just remember they are a business… If they don’t know the answer, don’t know what you mean, or ask why do you need to know that, move on to the next organization.

Everyone knows that when it come to following grandmaster advice, interpreting the results of the surveys that have been done on chess, and using chess to bolster school applications, college applications, and resumes, I am unrelenting and uncompromising!!! It was disheartening to watch players tell me they were playing the Sicilian and have no idea that …a6, …b5, Rc3, Re8, or Bh8 were all moves of standard consideration. I watched and listened as coached players tried to explain why they had played 2. d3 or 2. Nf3 instead of 2. d4 in response to the French, Caro, Modern, and Pirc. I saw games where they took on d4 in the Scotch, and moved both the e and g or the b and d pawns when fianchettoing. Too Many of the players I met were still missing 3, 2, and even 1 move blunders by their opponents because they were still stuck in the, “you take me, I’m going to take you back” mentality! Many parents and coaches just don’t realize that the longer it takes to get the kids thinking right about chess, the closer the kids get to putting the game on the shelf. They’re kids not adults!! They’ve actually told me, “If I haven’t learned how to play after spending, “all this time” it’s going to take forever to fix my game!” I don’t know who’s fault that is, I just know it’s preventable. As I’ve said for years… sooner or later if you stay with chess long enough, you are going to realize that tournaments are the only way to the benefits you were seeking. When you go up to that nice, friendly, polite, and professional clock watching coach that you’ve been paying for a year or 2 and ask them why they never stressed going to tournaments, they will say, “You never said you were interested in tournaments… we had to start somewhere?!” What that always means whether it’s chess or some other endeavor is, they got paid, and you got nowhere!!!

Yes, I’ve got openings! Call Coach Mike @ 804-426-6058!

# Rapid Tactical Improvement… How and When to Pick Your Puzzles

As I explained, I’m letting the secrets out in no specific order. Today’s subject is picking the right kind of puzzles to solve. When you go to a site or a book, there are 56 themes that you can choose from to study!?! (Strange) On Chess.com of those 56, 8 are for checkmates. There are basic, advanced, mating net, smothered mate and then mate in 1, 2, 3, and 4. Over complication and over simplification are 2 of the biggest challenges when trying to teach chess, so please forgive me as I do a little of both depending upon your skill, experience, and strength!?

This is supposed to be a beginner book

This is supposed to be intermediate and advanced

This is supposed to be advanced

With their being more chess books than any other kind of book in the world, there are still a couple every player needs to have in their library. 5334 tops my list because the book is a reflection of the owner, not the author!?! When one of those people who’ve never read a chess book cover to cover in their life say’s, ” it’s a beginners book”, ask them as if you know, ” So how many errors did YOU find in the 600 games section!?” By the way, if you want to know how many, which ones, and the corrections, contact Coach Mike for a copy! Asking what books a chess player has read cover to cover should be one of the primary questions you ask and get answered before you ever accept chess advice from anyone!!!

1st we need to talk about the goals and how choosing the right puzzles gets us the most the fastest. The primary purpose of puzzles is to improve visualization. The problem we all have is keeping the imaginary future position clear enough in our heads to determine if the course of action we are considering is desirable! Giving players of all strengths 56 themes at once is one of the most rediculous and overwhelming training concepts I’ve ever seen. After visualization what is the most desirable characteristic that will automatically improve your tactical ability? I’m sure my answer will be enlightening and agreeable to players of every strength. To become good at combinations and to add length, surprise, and stealth to your attacks and intentions, you must desensitize yourself to material!!! A few examples;

There are players that will never solve this puzzle because they keep looking at 1…b6-f2!! and saying, ” That’s stupid, they’ll just take my queen?!” After 1… b6-f2!! white will be checkmated whether they accept the queen or not!

World Champions have no material sensitivity at all!! Fischer had just played 18. c3-d5! If Spassky takes the knight with either pawn white gets the advantage! He played 18…e7-g5! and the game ended in a draw!

In the midst of complications you better be desensitized!! The game continued 17. h2-h4! f5-f4 18. h4-h5! c8-f5 19. 0–0–0 b8-d7! 20. g2-g4! f4-e3 21. d2-e3 d7-c5! 22. g4-f5 c5-b3 23. a2-b3 g6xf5 24. h5-h6 g7-f6 25. g5-e6 +-

So, how do we the select the types of puzzles that will prepare us for consistent superior play? By understanding what the game is about. The game of chess is about checkmate! Beginners and intermediates will tell you that it’s about winning enough material to eventually turn your attention towards the king. Just because that’s all you know how to do, doesn’t make that what the game is all about! When you reach the advanced, expert, and master levels, all of them will tell you that virtually everything is more important than material!! Everything!! So here is the secret: You will improve your visualization and future position imagery faster by learning how to chase, protect, and trap the king!! Chasing the king will teach you the other 48 themes, but learning the other 48 themes will not make you efficient at chasing, protecting, or trapping the king!! Why? Because all the other pieces have 4 choices and the king only has 3!?! the pieces have run, take, block, or sit there. The king only has run, take, or block. Learning to chase, protect, and trap the king is the fastest way to learn what causes the other pieces to not be able to just sit there!!!

Checkmate puzzles have another unique advantage that can not be gotten from solving other types of puzzles. Checkmate puzzles anchor better because there is no wondering if you would have won or had the ability to win after you get the correct answer. “And white went on to win”, or “and black went on to win”, or “and the rest is a matter of technique”, robs the student of verification and closure.

Checkmate puzzles teach defense and playing with imbalances!! All the books out there are teaching how to attack. Less than 5% of the books out there teach anything about defense at all!! Puzzle books that have errors are a great way to learn defense. The errors in books published before they verified with engines is as high as 25% and 33%! Don’t let that discourage you. The correct and the incorrect solutions are both instructive! Today’s tournaments are mostly Swisses. Look at the following examples and tell me whether the player should resign or fight their way out;

This is number 4464 in the 5334 book. The solution given was 20. f1-f6! g7-f6 21. b2-f6 resigns. I picked this example because it shows how impatience, material sensitivity, and aesthetics can make errors look beautiful and instructive!?! One of the biggest lessons you can learn from checkmate puzzles is to throw away your, “you take me I’m going to take you back” mentality!! That’s checkers not chess. lol

Black had to refuse that sacrifice with 20…d5-d4! 21. f6-f2 b7-c8 22. d2-e2 c8-e6 23. b2-c1 d4-d3 24. e2-h5 e6-c4±

The last step is to put the puzzle into an analysis engine. When I did that with this puzzle I found that 20. f1-f6?? is a blunder!! There are 3 better moves… 20. b2-f6!!, 20. e4-d5!, and 20. c4-d5.

20. b2-f6! g7-f6 21. e4-d5 d8-d6 22. f1–f5 c7-d8 23. g2-e4! The cage is opened and there just isn’t any way to prevent a robbery! This bishop coming into the game from g2 always ads intensity to the attack. 23…g8-g7 24. f5-h5 f6-f5 25. e4-f5 h7-h6 26. f5-e6!!+-

You’ll have to check out the other 2 moves on your own. Our next example came from The Philadelphia Inquirer! My mom used to clip the puzzle and game every Sunday and send them to me when I was in the Air Force. I nicknamed this one, “The Junk Yard Dog”

The newspaper’s solution was 1…h4-h3?! 2. f5-e3?? b7-g2 3. d1–g4 h3-g4 4. e3-g4 g2-f1 5. g1-f1 f4-e6–+ That’s a nice smash and grab! Black is up a pawn and an exchange.

The fun comes again in never believing the solution!?! Black went in guns a blazing with 1… h4-h3?! but if white had that Junkyard Dog attitude, this is what would have happened!! 2. d1-d7!! e8-d7 3. f1–d1 d7-e6 4. f5-d4 e6-e5 5. c1-f4 e5-f4 6. g2-h3 f8-c5 7. b1–c3 a8-d8 8. c3-e2 f4-g5. Damaged, but materially intact. This is a lot better than being down a pawn and the exchange!

Now for more fun and learning. When you study mating attacks you will learn that sometimes the strongest piece is not the one that’s supposed to lead the attack. The mating attack was actually a decoy, a threat that was not really ever intended to work and another combination is the real point. Better than 1… h4-h3 was 1…f4-h3! 2. g2-h3 h4-e4 3. f2-f3 e4-f5 4. c1–e3 0–0–0–+ White’s position is destroyed. Further material losses are unavoidable.

If your next question is when do you start studying other than checkmate puzzles, the answer will be in a future blog or part of your lessons… Whichever comes 1st.

I hope you enjoyed this brief and instructive tour of Coach Mike’s Laboratory. lol I could go on all day about this, but there are many other secrets that I must blow the dust off of to get ready for the next blog. Like I said, I’m coming at you with all of my best secret stuff! This is the tip of the iceberg!? If you want the rest with no waiting and no filters, call me and get a free consultation about lessons. If you are not ready for lessons, we will get you ready for lessons for free! 804-426-6058. Now get out there and beat the snot out of somebody!!!

59 next month!? I’ve become the old dude. It’s terrifying! Not because I’m closer to leaving, but because there’s still so much left to do!! If I’d known just how much I was going to have to get done in this life, I’d have taken more vacations, and planned for a lot more time off!?! lol Having to get a stint put in to relieve chess pain and blockage is life altering. Life, all of a sudden feels like having an hour glass where you can see the sand coming in the bottom, but you can’t see the top anymore. So many leave with so much more at the top that I’m just grateful for the time I’ve had and the time I have left. I’m one of the lucky ones that got a warning!!

So, it’s time to make some changes. The 1st thing that’s changing is I work with and for tournament players only! Tournament chess is the only proof that will bolster a school application, college application, or resume!! It is also the only chess that matters for a scholarship!! I’ve got more secrets than Russia and the US combined and the only way to not take it with me is to declassify everything!! I’m putting all my best stuff out there for everyone to see, learn and improve from!!! There is no order because all of our lessons, group and individual, have always been custom. If you’d like an invitation to this FREE Learning Group, a free 90 minute assessment/consultation is required. You must be a, Rated Tournament Chess Player!!

As mentioned in the 11 yr old section of “Arena or Playground the 60/40 Rule”, you must be ready to play against your older opponents peak rating. Here in 2011 at the North American Invitational, Eric Rosen is just 18 years old. Albert Chow reached his peak rating of 2456 all the way back in 1993! Here black must choose between 16… g5-g2, and 16… g5-h6. The answer to that question will tell you if you are ready to be coached. Write out what you think the next 5 moves will be for each side. Write out as many continuations as you think are relevant. If you can’t write out continuations, you need coaching! If 5 moves is too far, you need coaching!! Move the pieces around as much as you like before you ask for the answers.

The next position is from the 2014 Virginia Senior Open. This is the 3rd round of the day. My peak rating is 1943 achieved in 2003. Harry’s peak rating is 2199 that he achieved in 1997. 2 old farts fighting it out if you must, but instructive all the same. I stared at this position for 35 minutes before I finally made my move. Here you have 5 choices 16. d1- e2, 16. c2-d2, 16. g3-f5, 16. h4-f5, and 16. c1-h6. Write out the next 5 moves for each side. Move the pieces around as much as you like. If you can’t write out 5 moves for each side even when you are allowed to move the pieces, you need coaching, but you may not be ready?!

White has just played 20. f1-d1?? Because of this blunder, black has more than 20 ways to checkmate white!! Yes, I said 20!! If you can write out 20 or more without moving the pieces, you should be coaching. These and many other practical exercises to improve your chess await you.

# Support Those Who Support Us

Charleen is the chess and community friendly owner of the Nutty Buttery. Please come support this charitable effort!

# Online Chess Ratings Are Accurate? True and False!?! (Strange)

The last year and a half has been absolutely devastating. When everyone started staying at home, guess what game’s popularity soured? That’s right chess! Then we had the outstanding movie, “Queens Gambit” by Netflix! I think it is TVMA! Do not let anyone through K-12 watch this movie alone!! The interest sparked is good for chess. The challenge comes when trying to help these new, and many experienced players, put their online activity into a real world perspective!

To me, this has been a challenge for a long time! I’ve read this article, that article, Chess.com this, Lichess that, ICC is the best, no, Chess Live is the best, and so on, and so on, and so on. Winter hit the nail on the head when he said that each site develops a culture. Over the board chess also has a culture. The average ratings of all of those sights and US Chess are within a couple hundred points. The higher the rating, the narrower the margin. With that in mind I do boldly declare that when properly considered online chess ratings are accurate!

Let’s get into that properly considered part and that will help you better understand. For people on line, chess is a pass time. Some of them may go days, weeks, months, or even years without playing a single game of chess and they don’t feel like they missed out on anything. For others online chess has and will continue to be a part of their daily, weekly, and even perpetual growth in the game. How can you tell which one you are playing with? You can’t! Sometimes you are playing against their computer and you can’t tell!

Online chess is not real chess!! Online chess is a chess substitute that is so close to the real thing that it has people comparing the incomparable!! Did you know that all the conversations about online ratings and how they translate to over the board ratings is based on Blitz, Bullet, and Lightning time controls? Did you know that a game has to be 30 minutes or longer to receive an OTB regular rating from US Chess? This is only part of what I meant when I said properly considered. At US Chess you can have a Regular, Quick, Blitz, and most recently an, “E” rating. So yes, if you play 5 minute games all the time, your rating should be relatively accurate. I’ve only heard of Bullet and Lightning being side events at a real tournament. There are no Bullet and Lightning championships in the real world!

What this means is that while everyone has been trying to see if they are accurate by comparing the general, the only accurate and advantageous comparison would require data from each time control!?! You’d never be able to get one of the chess websites to give you that information!! Why!?! Because they don’t want everyone to know that online chess is not very serious! Go to your favorite site and pick tournaments. If they aren’t holding tournaments that are longer than 30 minutes, it’s because no one plays in them. 95% are 5 minutes or less.

Let’s start with the puzzles. You can not earn 11 points for beating someone that is 393 points below your rating in any OTB Rating System!! The puzzle system is designed for immediate gratification. For each correct 1/2 move answer you get a prompt to continue solving. That’s like having a puzzle book and looking in the back of the book each time you make a half move to see if you were correct. That’s not helping you build visualization, concentration, or stamina! As a matter of fact, the prompting is an interruption that will make it impossible to build those characteristics. It may have been a great puzzle but you needed to write out the entire answer and any variations before checking for accuracy if you want your brain to remember anything. lol When you get an answer wrong, the puzzles get easier and the points you get for a correct solution get ridiculous again!

They have your immediate gratification covered on both ends. While all of websites will give you puzzles to solve that are 200, 300, and even 400 below the rating you have, they almost never make the puzzles 200, 300, or 400 more than your rating! To add insult to injury, how do you give me 11 points when they are 300 and 400 below me, 14 or 15 points when we are equal, but just 16 points when they are 200 higher? If points are your only concern, it helps to get one wrong every once in a while so that you get more points per puzzle.

They don’t just do this to the weaker players!! I just looked at Nakamura’s history for puzzle rush survival. He got 75 correct answers before a 4000 puzzle knocked him out the box. When I went to his last 25 puzzles, I saw that his rating had fluctuated between 3259 and 3331. 11 of the last 25 he did had ratings below 3000. The highest puzzle he was offered was 3384. With a 400 point difference at that level he still gets 10 points for a 3 move problem!?!

Online Chess sights are designed to appeal to the masses. Pass times have to be fun, or people won’t come back. The difference between a tournament and online chess is that online chess has to be fun whether you ever actually get better at chess or not! It’s a playground, not an arena, it’s a batting cage, not a baseball game, you’re using a ball launcher, it’s not a tennis match, you are bowling without keeping score! Playing serious chess is not the main attraction!

If websites weren’t for fun, how would a 2000 and a 1900 player get to have Nakamura on their stream? He beats masters blindfolded, he’s not there for the challenge?! If online chess was supposed to be serious why would a player with a rating of 2242 be 8th in the world for hours her stream has been watched!?! Irena Krush is ranked tied for 99th in the US at 2519. The top 10 year old in the country was rated 2259 in March of 2021. Get serious?! lol

If you haven’t already, you must conquer the bots. Don’t believe the ratings they give them. Bots don’t have real ratings because they haven’t been to any tournaments either! lol I make all of my students play the bots for 6 reasons!?! 1.) The bots never resign! You either win or lose. 2.) There is no way to offer the Bot a draw. 3.) There is no time limit, so there is no clock to lose to or time pressure. 4.) When you lose and ask for a rematch you have to change color. We all need a balanced game. 5.) The Bots vary their opening responses enough to learn many variations. 6.) The Bots play harder after they have made a mistake. Now that you have an advantage, you must learn to convert it. I can’t tell you how many times I was leading and let the Bot back into the game. While it doesn’t offer or accept draws, the Bots will force a draw to keep from losing!

Adults and children alike failed miserably when asked to sit at a screen for 45-55 minutes, then take a 5-10 minute break, 4, 5, and 6 times a day, and then be responsible for what was covered. All of a sudden everything required concentration, stamina, memory, and interest! That’s where over the board chess and online chess part company. One of the things I’ve noticed about on line players, is they think they have gotten somewhere, and they think they have changed into something great when all they’ve been doing is having bad practices and failing the practice test. Could you imagine a coach or instructor that holds 15 minute practices or coaching sessions and expects documentable change and improvement?! I laugh when I hear about serious chess lessons only lasting an hour. At a real tournament they have to play 2, 3, 4, and maybe even 5 games in a day! The games start with 40 minutes each and go longer. Yasser used to lock himself in his study for 5 hrs at a time! His reasoning was that his study sessions need to be as long as the games he was going to play. According to him there was no other way for him to judge his concentration, clarity, and stamina!! That has always stuck with me!

Online chess is like having the best toys and the best tools in the same place. If someone new comes in and doesn’t know which is which you’ll have people tooling with the toys, and toying with the tools. It’ll be a lot of fun, but nothing meaningful will get done. “Over the board”, “in person” chess, has one major and differentiating distinction that websites will never be able to match…IT MATTERS!!! Even today there are stigmas about the accomplishments people make on line. Just about every type of online accomplishment is less valuable than what is accomplished in person. When it comes to chess, only playing, coaching, directing, and organizing in the real world is worthy of the, “Accomplishments” sections of school applications, college applications, scholarship applications, and resumes. If everything you ever do with chess is online, it will wind up in the, “Hobbies and Interests” sections of those documents. If you ever get asked about having played in a tournament and you say no, their curiosity about how your involvement with chess can help their school or business will be over!

You can’t be serious if you wear whatever you have on just because you want to go to the Gym!? That means you must play with longer, real world time controls. Study using a board, books, pencils, and paper. Hold yourself accountable for accuracy and results instead of aesthetics and speed. The true grit, metal, character, fiber, strength, skill, and worth of a serious chess player is in there ability to draw and win against strangers!!! The only test for that is on the road!

Online Ratings are accurate for whatever time control you play in. Online, that’s 5 minutes or less!!! They reflect your level of interest and can give you feedback if that’s what you want. Unfortunately nothing about online chess can be considered a result to anyone except the player that is getting them. Online chess results don’t mean or prove anything because there is a form of chess that does mean and prove, and it’s not played on line. Online players will always lose to over the board players of the same ratings because the OTB player expects results based on how they play, not how much time is left!!!

If you’d like our help turning your playground into a gym, If you’d like our help in making your chess activity worthy of the, “Accomplishment” sections of your life’s documentation, you know how to reach us!

Hope you got the message. Declare and enjoy. We love tools and we love toys! lol

# Chess Experiments Without A Theory!?!

Every name of every opening is a, “Theory”. Every name of combination is a, “Theory”! To prove a theory, you must conduct experiments!! What would you call a series of, “Experiments” conducted with little theory, sporadic analysis, scattered records, and no written conclusions? Most of the chess players in America!? lol That’s funny! Hey, in many homes championships and mastery are side dishes, not the main course. Chess builds! Take as much or little as you want.

The theoretical argument you are having with your opponent is based on odds and reported by percentages. What are the odds of you keeping your half of the board? What are your odds of taking their half of the board? Ratings are what allow you to play the odds and get more points. If you and another 1200 draw, the odds were right. If a 1200 and a 1300 player draw the 1200 was right! The big mistake everyone makes is they think the only way to be right is to win!?! (Strange) In chess, the 1st way to be right is a draw!! In chess we have plans that are called theory! We have ideas that we call theory. The word I find most useful is Campaign! It simply means having multiple, ongoing, overlapping and interwoven, plans, and ideas. When are you developing, and where have you written down your Campaigns/Theories?

Where would you experiment, at the arena, the playground, or the lab? If that’s true, then why do we catch players experimenting at the tournaments all the time? I’ve seen an, “N” for a theoretical novelty. That’s when you are introducing as fact the results of your experiments. Translation, if you come to a tournament willing to, or expecting to do anything other than draw or win, no one has to shoot holes in your theories, you already enough holes in your theories!?!

Write out a Campaign! Do your work at the lab! Discipline yourself to stick to your campaign until a desired result has been achieved! The 4 critical ingredients to keeping your campaign flourishing are checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices. If there are none, you will eventually need some to draw or win. If you are looking for good advice, take a look at Arena or Playground, the 60/40 rule. It will tell you what you should be doing from 800 – Master!

Remember: Chess is the only sport in the world that after a tie, there is still a winner and a loser!?! Play up! Build your campaign discipline! It means having 2 ways to win every time you play!?!

# Ratings Schmatings!?! What’s your “Handicap”?

The thing is, your actual strength, the thing that most determines if you are following grandmaster advice is your, “Category”. Your Category is actually supposed to lead your rating, not the other way around! Following grandmaster advice it is possible to have a category result with a performance of 1-2-2. I know because that’s the score I got in the under 2200 section while my rating was 1880. My post tournament rating went to 1910. If US Chess started calling bonus points a, “Handicap” more people would understand and play up. Today everyone wants to play in the prize section.

If your rating is 1100 and you play in the under 1200 section and you win with a score of 4.5 you will get to 1276. 73 of that is bonus/handicap points. If you played in the under 1400 and got 3.5 your new rating would be 1270, with 71 bonus/handicap points and it would be a category 3 result.

Earning a category has no rating requirements. Earning a title does have category requirements. As you improve, Category results are harder and harder to get because the people you need to play to get that category are becoming rarer and rarer. To make it even more difficult, you are playing people that are in decline. By that I mean there are more former masters in the expert section than there are former experts in the under 1900, and under 1800 sections. By playing up and using your “handicap” you will always have the opportunity to achieve the category before the rating!!

“3 Norm and Title rules
The following table specifies the set of titles, and whether a player needs to have attained an
established rating above the rating level to earn the title.
Rating Level Title Rating Requirement?
1200 4th Category No
1400 3rd Category No
1600 2nd Category No
1800 1st Category No
2000 Candidate Master Yes
2200 Life Master Yes
2400 Life Senior Master Yes

1. Norms can only be earned in events of 4 rounds or more.”

A critical requirement is that your result in a tournament has to be more than a point higher than your statistically averaged expected result. If you would be expected to average 3.48 points in six rounds then you would have to score at least 4.4801 points (actually 4.5) in the six rounds. If you play tournaments where you are near the top-rated in the section then it may be difficult to get that exceptional performance because even going 6 out of 6 is not enough when your average expected result is 5.03 out of 6 (kind of hard to exceed a perfect score).

Don’t forget also that the ELO chart was originally for titled players…Candidate Master and up. That’s why the spread only covers 677 point of differential up or down. The ELO system didn’t originally have k’s or bonus points. The rating systems used by websites don’t offer bonus points or categories. That’s because websites are a toy until you make them a tool, not a tool that you’ve turned into a toy.

Today there are players and parents that are treating chess like bridge. In chess, you are wasting your money by just playing all the time. Only in chess is other people’s experience the best teacher!?! Go to the top 100 list of ages 7 and up and look up their history. You will find that more than 80% of the people on the list got their rating points from playing down, that they have a category 2 and even 3 levels below their rating, most have no category at all, and they are averaging less than 4 points per game they play since acquiring a established rating. (more than 25 games). How do you reach 1800 and have no Category after 282 games!?! They don’t have their ratings because of how hard they work!?! They are not the product of following grandmaster advice!?! They have their rating because of how often they play. When you go to statistics by year, some of them are playing 125, 150, 175, even 200 games a year. They are coming away with 50, 150, or 250 points a year!?!(sad) Don’t take my word for any of this. Go check. After looking at the histories you’ll never be afraid of someone higher rated again!!

2021 is your year. What are you doing to figure out how to get the most of your time in chess. You owe it to yourself to get some coaching and save some money in the coming years! We have a proven system against players under 1800. Our students typically earn 8-15 points per game. They achieve the same ratings as other players with less than 100 games a year! If that interest you, please contact us for FREE information!

# After Snow, Liquidation Sale, 2/1- 2/7

One of the great things about being in charge is having flexibility. I can’t tell you how many calls I got about the snow. We are a 1 snowflake state! lol Whether they played chess or not, Fri, Sat, and Sunday I could have sold chess stuff to people if I had eggs, bread, and milk!?! The Sale continues!!

Tues – Fri 5 pm-830 pm, daytime , by appointment.

Saturday 9 am – 7 pm

Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Book dealers and wholesale equipment dealers are welcome. Remainder to be donated to the North Ave, Hull Street, and 25th Street branches of the Richmond Public Library.

Call if looking for titles. 804-426-6058.

# Deep Discount, Books, Sets, and Clock Sale! 1/23 – 1/31!?!

After a few major donations and some acquisitions of our own we are loaded with discount chess equipment! Wood, plastic, onyx, ceramic, and tournament! Flat wood boards, folding wood boards, vinyl boards,(green, black, blue, red, wood grain, and money boards) , Mario Cart, the Simpsons. We even have Staunton’s complete with box, key, and board! We have touch clocks, analog clocks, and Chronos. We’ve got 1,000 books out! Hard cover and paperback of many desirable titles for beginners, intermediates, and up. If you are a collector, you need to get over here!! Openings, middle games, combinations, tactics, strategy. Every book we have is bound to be someone you know or would respect! Game collections, Candidate matches. Everything is new, or in slightly used condition. Classics up to books published in 2019. We have 2 Alpa Zero Books, My Great Predecessors, and the best endgame collections of every era.

Everything is priced to sell!!! No reasonable offer refused!!! You can shop by phone and we will ship it to you. More than happy to message you a picture of any item. Cash or credit card is fine. Tired of just looking at a screen with no words? We have the deals. Choice of 1 free book from selected titles with any \$30.00 purchase. Free Informant with any \$75.00 purchase.

I took pictures of all the titles and will be happy to send you titles for the area you are interested in. Pictures were going to take up too much space and I’m not good at editing videos. Look for live FB feeds each day during the sale!!

When visiting please wear your mask and expect to be hand sanitized upon entry and before departure!?!

Hours: Today until 6pm

Sunday 10 am – 6pm

Monday – Friday 6pm – 9pm or by appointment. I have to run in and out for mail, dropping paperwork, and other business, etc but am usually close by. I’m usually in the office by 8:30 am.

Saturday 1/30 8am – 6pm

Sunday 1/31 9am – 630 pm

To schedule an appointment, phone shop, or make an inquiry, just call me!! 804-426-6058!

# Getting, “It” Done In 2021!

What’s your, “It” for 2021? We no longer have an elephant in the room! Covid, masks, social distancing are here to stay for a while. Why? Because people are nasty, hard headed, selfish, law breaking, hypocrites, that’s why. Reread, “Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” and then wear your mask!?! People won’t wear masks, they won’t wash their hands, they won’t stop touching their faces, and they refused to social distance. We had the opportunity as a country to show the world how this virus could be contained. Instead we acted like it wasn’t that serious. Real or not, serious or not, curable or not, vaccinable or not, it is changing the social structure of the world. Chess does not have to be one of it’s casualties!!!

The good news is that chess is a brain function more than it is a social one. By that, I mean you can prepare and improve the same way people always have… Alone!?! Chess is an inner game. So how do you measure your success if you can’t get to any tournaments. The sad part is that most people don’t know how to measure chess success at all!

Most people think that you measure chess success by ratings. That’s simply ridiculous. The only thing you are measuring is the player’s, “Estimated Strength”! If the only thing your coach cares about is your rating, you will waste thousands of dollars and waste thousands of hours taking the slow route to get good at this game! Using ratings exclusively to determine if someone is a success at chess is the same as using a High School Diploma to determine if someone was a successful student! Every degree you can get is a bench mark of strength. High School Diploma, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PHD, are all just measures of minimum performance strength. What was their GPA? Did they graduate on time? Early? Late? What courses did they take? How many courses did they fail? Did they go on campus or get their degree through continuing education? What else did you do while you were in school to make sure you got a, “well rounded education”?

So now we come to chess. C Player, B Player, A Player, Candidate Master, Master, Senior Master. These are indications of strength for sure, but are they indications of success? As a coach and an employer, success has to be determined by their road to success as well as their destination! How long have they been playing? How regularly do they play? What type of competition have they faced? What is their winning %? Higher rated? Lower rated? What is their P %? What is their career PPG? Annual PPG? What is their Category? Does it match their rating? How well rounded are they? Are they a Certified Coach? Are they a Certified Tournament Director? Do they have any Affiliate experience?

This former World Champion, Viswanathan Anand is giving us a lesson just by taking a picture. Your computer is a toy and a tool but it’s not the boss!?! Everyone of us plays and studies differently on a computer than we do on a board. At some level what’s going on just isn’t real to our brain until it’s, “out in the real world”. Until we start the conversion from toy to tool, any success you think you are having on the computer is an indulgent delusion!? Let’s say you are doing tactics on Chess.com and your rating is 1600. If you solve a 1600 puzzle it will give you 12-16 points. If you fail that 1600 problem, it will deduct 12-16 points. Here’s the delusion. After you fail that 1600 problem you will get a 1200 problem and get 8 points, then a 1300 problem and get 10 points, then a 1400 problem and get 12 points. That’s not the ELO system! That’s the, “Please don’t leave when you fail because you weren’t paying attention because it’s a toy.” system!! LOL

If we are going to grow in our capacity to win and draw chess games we must remember that perfect practice makes perfect! You must be determined not to settle. For most of us, (me too sometimes) the computer is like setting up a puzzle on the board and then peaking in the back of the book to see if we got the 1st move right. still LOL If you want your computer to help you, then you must set up for serious training. You must write out the entire answer and any variations before you move. You must play to win or draw at all times if you expect to develop your, “Tournament Eye” and intuition. And, finally, you need to look at your statistics, not your rating to determine if you are actually making progress.

To lend some definitions;

P%= Protection Percentage. If you play 50 games with a record of 25-10-15, Your P% is 60%! Awesome if you are playing up most of the time, average if you are playing in your class most of the time, weak if most of your opponents are lower rated than you.

PPG = Points Per Game. Points Per Game is taking the number of points you’ve earned since coming out of the provisional ranks and dividing that by the number of games played! An average of 6 or better is good money! Anything less means you need to be doing more analysis and fixing instead of playing all the time. Just so you know, learning from playing alone is the slowest way to get good at chess!!! Let’s say that after your 25th game your rating was 754. After 3 years and 300 games your new rating is 1995. That’s good money. If after 25 games you were 971 and after 5 years and 600 games your new rating is 2237, you should have spent more time doing analysis and studying instead of playing so much!?!

Category and Ratings match. If they’ve played 100 games since they got to 2000 and they are still a Category 1 player, or they’ve played 100 games since they got to 1800 and are still a Category 2 player, that means that they are only good at beating players their rating and below. You can not experience growth by playing in your class all the time. You been duped into using prize categories as achievement markers!! The only time you are supposed to play in your class is when you are trying to win the prize! Parents select class sections for their children all the time. It’s a direct contradiction to Grandmaster advice!!

To get a scholarship or make chess count on a Middle School, High School, College Application, or Resume, you need to be a complete Chess Personality/Manager. Being a Nationally Certified Coach or Referee of any kind demands respect and elevates these applicants to peers instead of subordinates during any kind of interview!

In Closing I want to say that, “It” is possible for you in 2021! Whatever, “It” is, we can help!

Coach Mike C

# SCBC 2020 in Review!!

Sundays: 430 pm – 630 pm Nov 29th – Dec 27th or, Monday Dec 28 – Thurs Dec 31st 10am – noon daily!!

Get the inside track on everything we learned in 2020?

1.) With no tournaments, how do players know they are making progress?
We’ve been accurately translating Chess.com numbers into over the board strength for years! That’s just one of the reasons Chess.com chose us to provide the post round analysis for the 2014 and 2016 Virginia Scholastic Championships!

2.) All of our students know to look for checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices on kings and queens and rooks. We are ready to share 2 more, “no skill required” factors that will help anyone win games faster.

3.) When we asked students to tell us the properties of the pieces, they told us how they moved, not what their properties were! This exercise gives an instant boost in understanding and playing strength!

4.) Pawns are fast!? Players were smiling ear to ear when we focused on the way pawns are supposed to be used. Find out their true value and the entertaining threats they pose when your opponents think that pawns are slow and expendable!

5.) A draw is a win! The key to being a better player is playing up! Understanding the rating system will help you get as many points from a draw as you do from a win!!

Registration is from today until the 28th of November or until Dec 27th depending on which class you pick. Cost for this great year ender is just \$99.00! Slots are limited so please register early! Email your name, ratings of any kind, and which course you want to; waterman2010kir@aol.com. We will confirm and send you an invoice.

May your holidays be full of chess!!
Coach Mike C

# Virtual Stamina

So how is the virtual school going? It’s hard to sit there for 40-55 minutes, get a 5 or 10 minute break and then repeat that 4 or 5 times in a day. Uninterrupted, that’s like having year round, daily, company training!?! LOL Just imagine it’s a year round chess tournament with 4 or 5 rounds a day! If you want your child to excel, they need to learn more about virtual stamina. My classes have always been 2 hours. If you talk to my students, they’ll tell you that in the 1st couple lessons, I wore them out in 20-30 minutes. In a little over a month, they found themselves going 50, 60, even 75 minutes before they even thought about their snack. Every one of my students can explain, “Chess Fatigue” and what to do about it! They’ve told me it works for more than just chess!

Learning to concentrate at chess is only hard if your opponent is annoying. Every act of thinking about chess encourages optimism, confidence, and commitment. Becoming better at chess is sure to improve their concentration! That includes school work. If you want to know how to get the most from virtual learning, we’ll teach you the shortcuts.

Private lessons only. Homework, No-Homework, and Prodigy Programs are still available. Our programs are 6 – 12 weeks. Ask about the free zoom consultation. Coach Michael Callaham 804-426-6058.

# Turning Draws Into Wins! Just 3 fall slots left!?!

Whether it’s chess or body building, every sport is constantly evolving. Some of the variants that are coming out from Alpha Zero are going to change chess training for sure. One of the ways we evolve is to get rid of old ideas and habits! Competitive Chess Players must gain experience at managing risk!! When chess is a toy, there is no risk, not even to the ego!! It’s OK to win, lose or draw and it doesn’t matter how much you miss because there are no rating points on the line.

Let’s talk about the value of a draw and help you understand that a draw is just as good as a win if you manage your risk correctly. To do that, we need to explode a couple of long held myths! Once you enter into competitive chess, it’s win, draw, and never lose. By managing your risk, you can get 25%- 60% more points for a win, enough points to feel like you won from a draw, and if you do lose, they take less points away!

If you played in a quad as a 1200 against a 1400, 1300, and 1200 and scored 1.5, your new rating would be 1220. 2 points would make your new rating 1262!! 1 point would only drop you to 1195. If everyone was rated 1200, 1.5 gets you 1200, 2 points only get’s you 1225, and 1 point would drop you to 1175!! For the lower rated player, a 1300 gave them odds of 9-7 and the 1400 gave them odds of 5-3. These odds, the risk, are all imaginary until you have reached the 1st Category, 1800 and above!! You should expect to lose when chess is a toy. You are obligated to win or draw when it’s a tool! When you lose 3-5 days from work, pay lodging, pay transportation, meals, entry fees, and other expenses, that’s a really expensive toy!!

Myth # 1 … “Look for the best move every time.” Simply ridiculous!?! Look at this position with white to move:

There are 16 equally good moves in this position. There is only the move that suits your taste. I’ll say it again, Grandmasters beat other Grandmasters by making their opponents play unfamiliar middlegames from familiar openings. If you put any classic line on your computer, after about 12-14 moves the positions will read, “=”!!

Myth #2 “Draws don’t get you anywhere?!” Ridiculous!! Draws don’t get you anywhere among equals, but when playing up, you can have more draws than wins and get a, “Category” result.

15 | MICHAEL CALLAHAM |2.0 |D 13|W 4|L 7|D 16|L 6|
VA | 12417373 / R: 1881 ->1910 |N:1

I was playing in an under 2200 section when I earned that performance.

Myth #3 “Experience” is the best teacher”

In chess this is only half true!?! With 100’s of years of games and advice available, why would you be learning from your experiences when you can use someone else’s? Jason Morefield has gotten his rating all the way up to 2337 in just 407 games and only 84 events. He achieved the Category of, Life Master in Jan 2019!! All this talk is about saving the family time, money, and effort. No one is better at that than us! Call for a free consultation and quote! Your wallet, spouse, and other children will thank you!! Call Mike Callaham today. 804-426-6058.

# Coaching Saves Time, Money, and Effort! 5 slots left!

That’s not so bold a claim once you get to know us and what we are about. We’re Coaches not instructors, teachers, or relatives. It doesn’t matter what you want to become good at, hiring a coach is supposed to increase efficiency! The thing is, most people teaching chess are to, “Authoritative” in their approach. The most important thing to the student is, not losing!! To say the most important thing is winning is just as naive!!

Today I needed to get some papers notarized. I didn’t feel like carrying my briefcase so I grabbed the August issue of Chess Life Kids and stuffed it in there. As I was closing the mag, I saw this:

Hats off to these kids and parents that are out there making it happen. There’s no reason for someone not to catch fire at this time in the worlds history! I’m predicting a continual increase in the number of chess players during the pandemic.

OK, Here is how coaching saves money, effort, and time!?! I went and checked the US Chess histories of all of the kids in the article. 8 of the 9 kids that got the correct answer are rated!! I think there should have been way more contestants than 9! So here is there stats and my, “Coaches evaluation;

Luger #1 on the 8 yr old list. His current rating is 1821. His record against 1600, 1700, and 1800 players is 9 wins out of 49 games. He has not achieved a category of any kind. With a 60% win ratio he has played 182 games. He has not really been tested yet! At this stage, he should have had that record against 1800, 1900, and 2000 players. Koganov is 12 and did not make his top 100 list because his rating is 1626 and your rating has to be 1795 to get on that list. He is a Category 3 player! The only way to get a category result without a perfect score is to play up! You must earn 5 category results to be awarded a category! He’s played 302 games. This kid has the heart of a lion. He’s played 89 games against players rated 1500 or more. He only won 17 games, but what impressed me was that he had 21 draws. Why is that impressive to a coach? It means he knows how to protect the point!! He was playing up and protected 38 out of those 89 games. Moss is 10 and he could not get on the age 10 list since his rating is 1222 and the minimum is 1548. Moss has not achieved any category results at all. In the last 12 months he has only played 28 games against players rated more than 1200 and was able to get 5 wins and 0 draws. He needs to be playing up! Petukhov is 8 and comes in at number 48 on the 8 yr old list! His rating is 1287! He has played just 74 games and this year he’s only lost 3 out of 17. He needs to be playing up all the time. Whether its study, coaching, natural ability or a combination, he and Koganov look like excellent potential students. Vellore is 9 years old with a rating of 1451. That places him at 88 on the 9 yr old list. He’s achieved a Category 4 putting him on the map as someone that will play up. 1451 for a 9 yr old is usually time to rejoice but in this case he was in the 1400’s when he was 8 and when he was 7!!. In Aug of 2018 he was number 13 for kids under 7 and in August of 2019 he was number 80!! It’s a shame that with his level of interest that he’s not getting the attention he deserves!! His winning percentage is just 43%. Someone has to begin to hold him accountable. He has played 715 career games and he’s 9. That’s just way too many. If someone doesn’t help him he’ll continue to stagnate and quit. Bass is 10 years old with a rating of 1282. He’s on fire! He has acheived this rating with just 39 tournament games! His record is 28-10 with no draws. The only thing to be said about this is great job!! Play up and start looking for that draw!
Su has career is just 5 games, De Melo a career of just 4 games, and Rutowski are not rated!

So there you have it;

24 events, 39 games, 1282

14 events, 74 games, 1287

91 events, 182 games, 1821

88 events, 244 games, 1222

83 events, 301 games, 1626

287 events, 715 games, 1451

By the way, of the 8 that are rated none of them have become Certified Coaches or Certified Tournament Directors

I’ll never stop saying it…today’s players get their ratings from the number of games they are playing, not the strength of their play. They win and lose when they are supposed to and seldom challenge themselves to play up!! That makes all of them beatable!!

So, what would I do!?! Well, I’d need to consult with the player and the parents but if the idea is to get more points with less money, time, and effort, this would cover all of them!

1.) They’ve got to get the challenge set right! Most parents and players of all ages are using prize categories as success markers. The 1st Category that has a rating requirement is Expert/Candidate Master. Counting down you also have Category 1, 2, 3, and 4, players. So with that in mind, the real prize for each event is earning bonus points and achieving a Category result!! A tournament must have at least 4 rounds to qualify as a Category event!!

2.) You must invest time in understanding the rating system! We are on a fluctuating 200% margin system of error that spans 400 points! I know, but let me explain. When 2 players rated 1200 sit down to play each other, they have a 100% chance of beating each other, not a 50% chance of beating each other! When a 1200 sits down to play a 1300 you would think then that the 1200’s chances go down to 75% and the 1300’s chances of winning go to 125%!? Wrong!?! The odds of the 1300 winning are not 5-3. That’s a static evaluation. This is the fluctuating/dynamic part of the evaluation. The 1200’s chances went down to 87.5% and the 1300’s only went up to 112.5%! That means the odds were 9-7!! If a 1200 was playing a 1400, now it’s 75% and 125% and the odds are 5-3. A 1200 playing a 1500 is 62.5% vs 137.5%. That makes the odds 11-5. The points from a draw earned while playing up can sometimes equal what you’d have earned for beating an equal player!! I scored a Category 1 result in an under 2200 section with a score of 1/2/2. 1 win, 2 draws, and 2 loses. At the time, my rating was 1880. My opponents were 2100, 2106, 2099, 2113, and 2199. Yes I beat the 2199. It was 5 time West Virginia Champion, John Roush!! After the tournament, my rating was 1910!

3.) These players range from the top 30% to the top 10% of all the rated players in the country!! When it comes to chess, you must understand that they are not children anymore!? Yes, they are immature, childish, inconsistent etc. but, there are ways to help them understand the difference between toy time and tool time in chess.

4.) At the pace they are playing and because they are kids, it’s likely that they are not thoroughly analyzing their games. When I say thorough, I mean set the board up, verify that the score is accurate, then replay the game noting where there could have been improvements. Now, write down the lines of what you thought could happen. Finally, put the game on an engine and see what it says. Don’t skip any games no matter how much you think you know what happened!!!

If driving, meals, hotels, and entry fees have to be paid, which player do you want to have? What would really be bad is if all of these kids already have a, “Coach”!! Let us save you some trips. Private, Custom, Coaching is just a phone call away!! Mike Callaham, 804-426-6058!!

# Prodigy Training Is Not For Everyone!

It’s funny to watch all the incomplete chess personalities that are out there marketing chess programs.  They’re scrambling, throwing together any babysitting program they can.  It’s been barbaric to say the least!  What do I mean by incomplete… It’s simple, They’re uncultured, uninformed, and the only thing they know how to do is play!  I’ve watched PHD’s become famous in school systems for teaching chess for 20-30 years and the last trophy they have is from 2008.  You’d know just how bad that is when you discover that we never give away all the school trophies at a VSCA tournament.  Yes, they could have eventually gotten a trophy for just showing up!  To be a “Complete Chess Personality” means creating national value in what you do.  There are no age requirements to become a Nationally Certified Coach,(\$25-\$300 hr), Tournament Director,(\$125-500 a day) or US Chess Affiliate.  All of these certifications are Zero based!!  You only need 3 rated tournament games to become a rated tournament chess player!!  You don’t even have to have played a tournament game to be a Certified Coach, Tournament Director, or US Affiliate.  You can research all of this at the US Chess website.

Never a Us Chess Member, Never played in a tournament, no coaching certification, not a tournament director, does not have a current rule book, no organizational experience and making claims that they can take your child to the heights of the game.  The blind leading the blind!  What a bunch of nonsense that is!!!  My Question is; Are you going to rely on these same people to translate, “On Line Chess” into something that can meaningfully measure progress??  On line chess is a toy and training tool, it is not a measuring device!!  They’re scrambling too with all of their, “promises” of being able to catch on line computer cheating!  Good luck with that!  How come no one came out with a full proof, guaranteed way of catching cheaters until the pandemic!?!  All I can say is garbage in garbage out.

In America we’ve become so preoccupied with chess as a toy, we’ve stop acting like chess is a serious scholarship sport!  It has state champions, national champions, and world champions.  A full scholarship at the schools that offer it is worth between \$240,000 and \$400,000 of tax free money!  It’s a cowardly new world out here in chess.  No one wants to follow Grandmaster advice, everyone is being told to play to get better, everyone plays in their class, concentration and stamina are not part of the training regimens, and kids have learned how to push and manipulate the boundaries of truth, honor, and obedience with Instructors, teachers, parents, and relatives!?!

What is the answer to all of those problems?  I can sum it up real briefly for you.  You have to declare!  What is chess going to be?  Is it going to be a toy or a tool?  If you don’t care when you lose chess games, if \$240,000 – \$400,000 of tax free scholarship money means nothing to you, if you think being a complete chess personality doesn’t make you unique to adults, if having business opportunities that have no age requirements is unimportant to you, if you don’t care if chess goes in the hobbies and interests section of a middle school applications, high school applications, college application, and/or  resume, instead of the accomplishment section of those documents, you need a chess teacher, an instructor, or a relative teaching you/them how to play!  Why? Because chess is just a toy!!!

You can’t be a chess prodigy if you learn to play at the age of 16.  Every scholarship venue is looking for evidence as far back as possible.  Jennifer Yu won our state championship at the age of 13!  Last year she became the US Women’s Champion at 17!  Jason Moorefield won the state’s amateur championship at 12 and since has become a Master, a certified coach and a tournament director!  Anagha Sinkar became a coach at the age of 6!  Nathan Boguslavsky became a certified coach at the age of 16.  We have created more rated tournament chess players and more complete chess personalities than any other chess services provider in central Va!!!  If you want to take anyone to the top in their field, they need a coach, not instructors, or teachers!

We now have a “Prodigy Program”.  This is a coaching program for serious chess personalities and their parents!! What would you do if you had to train a, “Prodigy”?

1.) The coach must be able to blow the student off the board with odds, for the entire length of the training!

2.) The, “between class”, work must be clear and concise.

3.) There needs to be a monitoring and reporting system.

4.) The training must be for the, “Complete Chess Personality”, ie player, coach, director, and organizer!

5.) The coach should be qualified to provide endorsements.

6.)  Parents must take an active role like they would for any other scholarship sport or venue.

Here’s a partial list of some of the services that are included with our, “Prodigy Program”!

a.)  Each lesson will be followed up with a brief description of the work that was done leading up to the class, the material that was covered on that day, and the recommended activities they should be engaging in before the next session.
b.) At the 1/2 way point between classes, we send an assessment of how they are doing towards the work for the next class.  All messages will be copied to parents!
c.) Students are required to keep a log!
d.) As always, the lessons are fully customized to their capacity for work, performance, and interests!
Real talk… Any parent that expects to move their child through the process of becoming really good at anything must prepare for the lying years!?!  It doesn’t matter what nationality you are, and it does not matter what your social economic status is, there will come an age where even if your child does not lie outright, they will stop telling you the whole truth.  Disbelieve me if you want, that’s your choice, but every person who has a 13, 15, or 17 year old child will tell you that at a certain age they had to change the way they talked to their child to get the whole truth out of them!!!  You put your parents through the same thing!! lol
If you want to see if chess can be a tool to your child, if you want someone to stand up to your child instead of smiling while the child walks all over them, if you want hard and beneficial chess credentials, and if you want your child to be a complete chess personality that is prepared for a lifetime of achievement and enjoyment from our beloved game, this is the only place you need to look for the right, COACH!!
Program length is 12 weeks.  The program starts out expensive and gets less expensive each month as the student becomes more independent!  We are accepting applications and doing phone consultations for players rated 101 up to 1600 USCF.  Ages 5-14.  Knowledge of how the pieces move is preferred but not required.
Thanks,
Coach Mike C
804-426-6058

# There Are 2 Types Of Virtual Student!

Virtual students have a lot more work to do than in person students.  In person there are many expected and unexpected interruptions that in some ways help students reflect, catch their breath, and anchor the subject matter.  During a virtual lesson, even a break is compartmentalized, the rest of the time is spent in virtually uninterrupted exchanges of communication.  Just imagine if every time there is an interruption of any kind you had to flip an hour glass.  You’ll be flipping more in person than on virtual.  What does it mean?  For many of us, this is the 1st time in years, and others it’s the 1st time in their lives that they’ve been exposed to the necessity of taking in large amounts of uninterrupted information.  If you’re in 1 of our classes, it’s 100% interactive!!  I’m finding that most students of all ages, just don’t have the stamina for it!!

“Chess Fatigue”  happens in person and even faster in virtual lessons!!  “Chess Fatigue” is something I explain to all of my students.  The only thing that will eliminate “Chess Fatigue” and increase stamina in chess is having a minimum performance standard when you are practicing and studying.  What is that minimum performance standard?  You have to hate losing!!  Desire brings out the best in people, not authority.

At in person classes there was some imposed standard of engagement and performance!  People couldn’t put up a screen saver and hit the mute button!  In virtual, you have no authority and the students know it!  At school you had their code of conduct, the program director, teachers, and even the principal if necessary.  That particular change in the environment is the deal breaker.

With 2 types of students come 2 types of programs;

The, “Custom Homework Coaching Program” and the, “Custom No Homework Coaching Program.  Everyone goes into a no homework program for the 1st 6 weeks.  They are allowed to stay in a no homework program for up to 12 weeks if they are k-8 and up, and 24 weeks if they are k-5 or lower.

We’re looking for the next superstar!  Somewhere in the world, a superstar is playing chess right now because it’s the only thing available.  If you are a casual player and think losing games and getting experience is the only way to get better at chess quickly, you should not be paying for chess training…there’s enough free stuff out there to learn how to do that!!  We are very expensive but once the student is in the homework program, we guarantee results as long as they complete their assignments!?!

If you’d like private lessons, we’ll want to test the student, discuss goals, length of commitment, and the rules that must be followed.  If we are all in agreement, then we will give you a detailed proposal and with your acceptance, begin right away.  The student we are looking for could be in your home right now!!  Let us know if you’d like to find out! 804-426-6058.  Ask for coach Mike C

# Un-mute Everyone!!

Our goal is to teach our students mastery of the tools and toys at Chess.com. We show Novice/Intermediate players the 1st 6-9 moves and Intermediate/Tournament players the 7th-12th moves of a game. These are custom training sessions!! No one is muted in these classes! Our classes are a fun, easy, and engaging! There’s even a Chess.com, “Scholarship Chess Business Center Learning Group”! Sign up today for the most custom and interactive classes on the web today!

13 July – 5 August Monday and Wednesday, Group 2.) 3 pm – 5 pm.

13 July – 5 August Monday and Wednesday, Group 1.) 7 pm – 845 pm.

14 July – 6 August Tuesday and Thursday, Group 1.) 3 pm – 445 pm.

14 July – 6 August Tuesday and Thursday, Group 2.) 7 pm – 9 pm.
10 August – 2 September Monday and Wednesday, Group 2.) 3 pm – 5 pm.

10 August – 2 September Monday and Wednesday, Group 1.) 7 pm – 845 pm.

11 August – 3 September Tuesday and Thursday, Group 1.) 3 pm – 445 pm.

11 August – 3 September Tuesday and Thursday, Group 2.) 7 pm – 9 pm.

Cost
1 session, \$89.00, 2 sessions, \$159.00. To Register, please call or email with the students, name, number, email, class strength, and day of the week. Mike Callaham, 804-426-6058 and waterman2010kir@aol.com. You will receive an invoice from Square with further instructions.

Coach Mike Callaham

# “Lose” Is Fired. Win and Draw Add up!!

Putting our new training system into a virtual classroom took longer than we thought and we sincerely apologize!  We were on fire before the pandemic hit!  Success in our 171 “New Schools Campaign”,  the launch of the “Scholarship Chess Business Center Management Group” on Facebook, our next  issue of Scholarship Chess Magazine was scheduled to be printed March 30th,  our coaches finished 2/61, 12/48, and 8/64 in the under 1800, under 2000, and open sections at the George Washington Open!!  I was scheduled to retake the MLO test at the end of March, and we’d just signed up with The Money Max  Account!! We knew the chess market could increase or decrease, but never expected a national shutdown that involved social distancing!! We wound up in the same position as everyone else… wishing we’d invested every dime we had into Zoom stocks. Converting in person, custom group lessons to custom group video lessons is hard work!!  We had to transition a lot of original concepts and reevaluate the nature of the delivery again to; instructor, teacher, and coach.  Then we had to find out what a good 90-120 minute presentation looked like, and finally we had to determine some minimum levels of performance and some lofty goals. There’s no waiting in chess for anything!  Comforting students about losses is a contradiction of what you paid for and will actually slow them down!!  The biggest challenge participants and parents will ever face is, ” doing exactly as they are told”.  Our win and draw training system has a 7 yr old as one of the coaches!!   The only experience our students need to win and draw chess games is being good at, “doing exactly what they are told”!   Making our own mistakes is no longer required.

After completion of our courses, the only question you need to answer after a game is, “Did I do exactly what I was told to do all the time, most of the time, some of the time, or not at all.  Students up to 1600 will win all of their games with an, “all” answer, they will win most of their games with a, “most” answer, some of their games with a, “some” answer!!  A, “not at all” answer means they don’t need any more classes right now!!

With events cancelling all over the country we put serious thought into what would be the new measuring stick for success!!  With no real world events, the toy parts, entertaining parts, and intriguing parts of chess must be used to produce the same results as serious study!  Chess.com is the perfect venue for improving players to have toys and tools!  Look for suggested Chess.com accomplishments for class placement.

Next we conquered the challenge of groupings!  We offer a range of instruction for 2 groups.  The novice/intermediate, and the intermediate/tournament.

1.) Novice/Intermediates:  The goal is to decrease the number of tactical errors in the 1st 6-9 moves of the game.  We’ll teach, instill, practice, and test on our elements of tactics, strategy, and move selection.  Chess between classes is encouraged, explained, and reviewed, but the work is not a requirement.  Participants that do the work will have more confidence,  understanding, and stamina!  Their Chess.com training will focus on tactical exercises, puzzles, and reviewing their own games.

2.) Intermediates/Tournament:  The goal for these players is detecting tactical and strategic errors in the 1st 7-12 moves of the game.  This group will be shown what to study and how to study for extremely fast and tangible progress!  Work between classes is encouraged, explained, and reviewed.  Participants that do the work will have more self reliance, play more accurately, and be able to explain how they navigated all parts of the game.  Their Chess.com training will focus on openings analysis, understanding the rating system, the next level of our win/draw system, and how to evaluate their own performances.

Their 100 puzzle test should have an accuracy of 65% or better.  Puzzle Rating, 1400!  Their 3 minute, 5 minute, and Survival Puzzle Rush should approach 10, 14, and 18 respectively.  By comparison, my high for puzzles is 2463 and my Puzzle Rush are 21, 32, and 42!

Our delivery methods and systems are not the only thing that have evolved.  Many of our customers preferred cash to checks.  Many prefer using credit cards to writing checks.  With invoicing by, “Square”, it will be a neater and better communication for everyone!  It’s also a way for us to provide you updates and information about future classes and tournaments.

Classes:

Group 1.) lasts 1 hr 45 minutes, Group 2.) lasts 2 hrs. Class materials and delivery are continually customized to reflect the interest and skill of the participants!  Maximum class size is 10!  1st come, 1st served, no exceptions!

Session 1

18 May – 10 June  Monday and Wednesday, Group 1.) 7 pm – 845 pm.

19 May – 11 June Tuesday and Thursday, Group 1.) 3 pm – 445 pm.

19 May – 11 June Tuesday and Thursday, Group 2.) 7 pm – 9 pm.

Session 2

15 June –  8 July Monday and Wednesday, Group 2.) 3 pm – 5 pm.

15 June – 8 July Monday and Wednesday, Group 1.) 7 pm – 845 pm.

16 June – 9 July Tuesday and Thursday, Group 1.) 3 pm –  445 pm.

16 June – 9 July Tuesday and Thursday, Group 2.) 7 pm – 9 pm.

Session 3

13 July – 5 August Monday and Wednesday, Group 2.) 3 pm – 5 pm.

13 July – 5 August Monday and Wednesday, Group 1.) 7 pm – 845 pm.

14 July – 6 August Tuesday and Thursday, Group 1.) 3 pm –  445 pm.

14 July – 6 August Tuesday and Thursday, Group 2.) 7 pm – 9 pm.

Session 4

10 August – 2 September Monday and Wednesday, Group 2.) 3 pm – 5 pm.

10 August – 2 September Monday and Wednesday, Group 1.) 7 pm – 845 pm.

11 August – 3 September Tuesday and Thursday, Group 1.) 3 pm –  445 pm.

11 August – 3 September Tuesday and Thursday, Group 2.) 7 pm – 9 pm.

Cost

Sign up for 1 session for just \$89.00, 2 sessions just \$159.00, 3 sessions just \$229.00 and all 4 sessions is just \$289.00.  To Register, please call or email us the students, name, number, email, class strength and day of the week.  Mike Callaham, 804-426-6058 and waterman2010kir@aol.com.  You will receive an invoice from Square with further instructions.

Coach Mike Callaham

# Steak and Cake! You bring the Gravy and Icing!

Here’s the test.  Look at these 18 positions.  If you know what opening it is and who’s move it is, you don’t need to come to our Zoom course!

If you can score a 90 or above, I’ll give you a free book of your choice!  Answers must be in by Friday no later than 5 pm!  No Cheating!! lol   Email your answer or post it in the comments section on faceboook! Here are the answers:

1.) 5 moves, the 4 knights, B 2.) 5 moves, Wilkebarr/Trexlar, W 3.) 8 moves, 4 knights gambit W 4.) 5 moves, Ruy Lopez, W 5.) 6 moves, The Spanish, W 6.) 7 moves,Queens Gambit Accepted, W 7.) 6 moves, Queens Gambit Smyslov, W 8.) 7 moves, Budapest Classical, B 9.) 6 moves, Budapest Center, B 10.) 6 moves, Albin Counter, B 11.) 7 moves, Nimzo/Bogo Indian, W 12.) 7 moves, Nimzo Indian, B 13.) 6 moves, Queen’s Indian, B 14.) 9 moves, Philidor Defense, W 15.) 9 moves, Philidor Defense, W 16.) 8 moves, Philidor in Reverse, W 17.) 8 moves,Sicilian, W 18.) 7 moves Queen’s Indian, W. Read ’em and weep rookies!! hope to see you in a class before it’s all over!

# Players Choice Zoom Training Buffet!! Corona Discount Applied 4/20/20

Scholarship Chess business Center has made the switch to ZOOM!  Our 1st course is starting on the 27th of April!  One of the really cool features of Zoom is you can pick and choose what material you want out of any of our courses!  This is the current line up;

Wk 1.) Mon. Tour of Chess.com. Every tool to get better at chess fast is here! Wed. Settings for chess.com and how to use it’s computer. Fri. How to use Chess.com to get free game analysis!  \$7.50 each or all 3 for \$19.99
Wk 2.) Mon. Components of tactics and puzzles. Wed. Puzzle Rush, speed is good for training. Fri. Battle Rush and components review. \$7.50 each or all 3 for \$19.99

Wk 3.) Mon. 4 Knights Trexler punish beginners that won’t leave the 4 Knights and the Fried Liver! Wed. 4 Knights Gambits are forced and dangerous lines that stop your opponent from copying your moves! Fri. The Ruy Lopez is the next evolutionary step in every chess players growth!  \$10.00 each or all 3 for \$24.99
Wk 4.) Mon. Queens Gambit Accepted. Taking the pawn is fundamental to understanding d pawn play! Wed. The Budapest Gambit forces d pawn players out of their game. Fri. The Albin Counter Gambit is a highly respected argument against 1.d4. We’ll show you why!  \$10.00 each or all 3 for \$24.99
Wk 5.) Mon —- Memorial Day. Wed. The Nimzo Indian is a solid reply to the Queens Gambit and offers chances to the player who is best prepared! Fri. The Queens Indian Defense goes about solving the problem with black’s light squared bishop!  \$10.00 each or 2 for\$14.99Wk 6.) Mon. Coach Mike’s Philidor Defense and all the dangers before castling. Wed. Philidor middlegame strategy. Fri The Philidor In Reverse. Most openings can be played in reverse. This one is a killer!  \$15.00 each or all 3 for \$34.99
Wk 7.) Mon. It is only after you have seen other openings that you are ready to look at the Sicilian. This class covers the ideas behind it and the gambits that try to stop it! Wed The Grand Prix Attack throws every tool available at black and has themes good against all variations of the Sicilian. Fri. The Dragon. For decades this was the most feared variation of the Sicilian. We’ll cover the old variation and the accelerated! Everyone knows that It is something special when I decide to sit down to teach the Sicilian!!  \$20.00 each or all 3 for \$49.99

Dates are April 27 – June 12th

Days: Mon, Wed, and Fridays.

Times: 3 pm-5:00 pm (last 30 minutes is question and answer!)

Take all 7 weeks for just \$99.00!

Players that know how to move the pieces and rated under 1600 will get the most from the course!!

For those of you that don’t know, group chess instruction usually starts at \$10.00 per hour of instruction per person!  That’s for beginner lessons!!  With SCBC you can pick and choose what is most important to you.  You get the best deal when you take all 7.  That’s over \$230.00 if taken separately, \$189.93 week to week or just \$99.00 for all 7!  Please take advantage of this special Corona Discount!

To register, send the students name along with your name, email, and phone number to, waterman2010kir@aol.com.  If you wish to register by phone the number is 804-426-6058.  Just ask for Coach Mike C.  Must have 72 hours notice!  registrations after 5 pm on Friday will have a \$10,00 late fee!

Your registration confirmation will come with payment instructions.  Keep updated on new courses at the website and on Facebook!

# SCBC Coaches Score 10.5/15 At The George Washington Open

This weekend 3 SCBC coaches played in the George Washington Open in Reston VA.  Mike Callaham played in the Under 1800, Master Coach Jason Moorefield played in the Major, and Coach Avijith Rajan in the Under 2100. Mike earned 4/5 = 3 wins 2 draws and 0 losses, finishing 2nd, 2nd/61, Coach Jason earned 3.5/5 = 3w 1d 1l finishing 3rd, 8/64 and Coach Rajan earned 3/5 = 3w 0d 2l, finishing 4th, 12th/48!  Our carpool of fun and laughs was from left to right; Mike Callaham, Mike Valentino, Patrick Spain, Avijith Rajan.

We came we saw and we did some damage.  I’m never going to tell my students that with what we teach, it’s Ok to lose chess games.  I see and hear it all the time!  You can’t win them all, you have to get experience, you learn more from your losses… It’s all nonsense! I encourage my students by telling them, “Your opponent’s parents, coaches, friends and family expect them to lose games in this tournament!  Your job is make sure you don’t disappoint them!!  At SCBC we’ve got a formula that explains success and failure at the chess board!  The formula can be used by anyone that knows when a chess game is over!  Winning and losing are now a will or won’t not a can or can’t.  As your rating increases and the opponents get harder, the only thing needed is more discipline!  Why am I so serious?!  For years I’ve been telling everyone around me, if you’re losing with the SCBC system, it’s because you don’t really care about winning! I’ve listened to student after student and class after class repeat word for word what they are supposed to be doing at the board.  Then when they get to a tournament they’re as bad as a chef who keeps trying to turn, ‘over easy” eggs with a fork, a knife, spoon, an ice-pick, toothpick, or anything  instead of a spatula?!  Our system is so simple that if you’ve been taught it and won’t use it, it could be said that checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices just aren’t important to how you, “want” to play chess?!  I don’t make this stuff up, I’m just reporting. lol

The looks my wife would give me if I told her we are going for a 2 hour drive to pay to enter a tournament, pay for lodging, pay for food, take up the whole family’s day or weekend, and I will habitually be ignoring checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices that exist for both sides!? LOL!

Our mantra has 4 parts!  We gave out part 1 of the rule in 2011, then part 2 of the rule in lessons, classes, lectures, camps, training guides and videos. Rajesh Pandit’s whole family increased over 1200 points in just 6 months.  We’ve had tremendous success at getting kids over 1000 but they have other activities and the proximity of events that will test them requires travel.  I’m working on it and that’s beset with many unique and hidden challenges as well!  We continue the never ending search for another Jason Morefield, Jennifer Yu or Praveen! Someone that wants to win and is willing to work!  If parents, spouses, and coaches got the Mike’s wife face more often instead of coddling them with,  ” Do you understand? “, that would cause their ratings to go up a lot faster!?

I’ve decided to just go get the examples of the system in action myself!  Last year I set a goal to see just how unbeatable I can become using discipline and my SCBC System!!

The 6 points and 8 winning positions I produced in the World Open in July did little to change peoples behavior!  They were still doing the chant without doing the dance!?  So I decided that 1, whether they use it or not, I will teach it to my coaching staff.  Then 2, I will lead by example!

At 57 the biggest challenges are fatigue, being able to make good decisions from the information my system gives me about the position, and having the fortitude, strength, discipline and character to fight relentlessly for a win, a draw, and no losses.  I’m usually abhorrent about things like 5 hour energy and the like but for this tournament in addition to my CBD, I used our, “My Daily Choice” Boost and the Brain sprays before the beginning of each round.  The change in my alertness was instantaneous, invigorating, and enduring.  I didn’t have so much as 1 yawn while I was playing.  The also helped me get to form faster!  I should have used them at the World Open!!  I won’t play in a tournament without them again!  Don’t get me wrong, I need to be in better shape and I need to study, but it’s a relief knowing that I won’t be falling asleep at the board anymore!

I’ll be posting the games from the GWO just like I did for the games from the World Open!  Round 2 and 5 may be of theoretical importance.  Next stop is The Northern Va Open 20-22 March!!

# The Final Piece Of Our Financial Services Puzzle!

This is the newest addition to our national network.  Some of you have tried our CBD!  Some of you have looked into Commercial Money, Loans, Credit, and Financing.  For those that are not aware we are currently engaged in becoming Mortgage Loan Officers.  And now we are helping businesses and consumers go from debt to wealth.  Every program we have is guaranteed to produce results.  This company, like the others we work with, also has a money back guarantee and enjoys a, AAA National Better Business Bureau Rating!

The Money Max software system helps you pay off your debts in 1/2 to 1/3 of the time!  You read right!  The software tells you step by step in real time exactly what to do to guarantee a 30 year mortgage will be paid off in 9.9 years or less!  I’m smart maybe even a genius,(lol) but I can’t tell you how it works because it works in real time like a financial GPS.  I know that you are smart and maybe geniuses too, so I’ll just tell you what it’s not, let that drive you crazy for a while like it did me, send you to watch a brief video, and give you a free e-book entitled, what else… “Convert Your Debt to Wealth”.

This is not a bi-weekly payment program or refinance!

This is not an increase to your current monthly budget!

This is not a mortgage modification, alteration, or any other change to your current mortgage!

This is not a program that works only for people with good credit!

You’re never going to guess, but if you have debt, you are going to pay!!  If you would like to pay a lot less and under the circumstances I’ve described, watch the video, get the book, and then call me!  I can find out for free and without further obligation, how soon you can make the amount you owe, ZERO!!! www.moneymaxaccount.com/1019105

If you have never looked at our products or our sponsors, that’s ok…Really!  If you ignore this one, and you have debt or have a mortgage, the chess punctuation for that has not been created yet but I will try; ???!???!??

Watch the video and give me a call.  Send the link to as many people as you can!  Good Luck!

Mike C 804-426-6058

# FREE LESSON: HOW TO ANALYZE CHESS GAMES

Step 1) Watch the entire game 1st. You are doing this to get a feel of the game, refresh your memory, and to make sure your score sheet is accurate.

McClellen vs Callaham Rhein Main Air Base, Germany 1985

1.e2-e4 d7-d6 2.d2-d4 g8-f6 3.b1–c3 g7-g6 4.g1–f3 f8-g7 5.f1–e2 0–0 6.0–0 c7-c6 7.h2-h3 e7-e5 8.d4xe5 d6xe5 9.c1–e3 b8-d7 10.d1–d2 f8-e8 11.a1–d1 d8-c7 12.a2-a4 d7-f8 13.e3-c5 f6-d7 14.c5-d6 c7-b6 15.e2-c4 f8-e6 16.c4xe6 e8xe6 17.f1–e1 b6xb2 18.d1–b1 e6xd6 19.b1xb2 d6xd2 20.f3xd2 d7-f8 21.d2-f3 f8-e6 22.e1–d1 e6-d4 23.b2-b1 b7-b6 24.f3xd4 e5xd4 25.c3-e2 c8-b7 26.e2xd4 c6-c5 27.d4-b5 b7xe4 28.d1–d7 e4xc2 29.b1–e1 c2xa4 30.d7xa7 a8xa7 31.b5xa7 b6-b5 32.e1–e8+ g7-f8 33.e8-a8 c5-c4 34.a7-c6 g8-g7 35.c6-d4 f8-c5 36.d4xb5 a4xb5 37.a8-a5 c5-d4 38.a5xb5 d4-f6 39.b5-c5 c4-c3 40.g1–f1 g6-g5 41.f1–e2 g7-g6 42.e2-d3 h7-h6 43.g2-g4 f6-g7 44.c5-c6+ g7-f6 45.f2-f3 g6-g7 46.c6xc3 f6xc3 47.d3xc3 g7-g6 48.c3-d4 f7-f5 49.d4-e5 f5xg4 50.h3xg4 h6-h5 51.g4xh5+ g6xh5 52.e5-f5 ½–½

Step 2) Now on this trip through the game circle the moves that you think are suspect for white and for black. If there was a move that you thought was really good or bad circle those. The turning points in the game, circle those. At what you think were difficult or theory breaking moves for you or your opponent circle those. I’ve analyzed this game several times and have found improvements each time. To be brief, the moves to circle here are: 6…c7-c6, 7… e7-e5, 11. a1-d1, 12…d7-f8, 16 c4-e6, 17…b6-b2, 21…d7-f8, 25. …c8-b7, 28. d1-d7, 33..c5-c4, 36.d4-b5, 37…c5-d4, 46.c6-c3.

Here we are at the main line of the Classical Pirc. From here Black can play about 7 different alternatives. I’d read all I could find on the Pirc at the time, The Pirc for the Tournament Player, RHM Press, Batsford chess openings, Modern chess openings, and even Horowitz’s Chess openings theory and practice. I chose c7-c6 because it fit well with my style at the time. I also knew my opponent played classical lines exclusively to avoid tactical skirmishes. My plan was to secure good space and then start trouble.

7… e7-e5! this is the correct notation for this move. Studying is one thing but playing is another. A true Pirc player is going to know that any attempt to punish this with exchanges, fails!! Don’t get me wrong, white has a slight plus here but it can’t even be called an initiative. It is one way to test your opponent. Their response it may be an indication of their background, ability or mood! See for yourself.

8. d4-e5 d6-e5 9.f3xe5 f6xe4 10.c3xe4 g7xe5 11.c1–g5 d8-c7 12.d1–d2 c8-f5 13.e4-f6+ e5xf6 14.g5xf6 b8-d7 15.f6-d4 d7-b6 16.e2-f3 a8-d8; 9.d1xd8 f8xd8 10.c1–g5 b8-d7 11.f1–d1 d8-e8 12.g5-e3 b7-b5=

11. a1-d1?! Once you’ve really studied an opening that allows you to clear the back rank most of the time, you have to know which rook to move! Realizing your opponent is out of their opening book is a great confidence booster during a game. A couple moves from now, having left that rook on a1 would have not allowed c7-b6.

12….d7-f8?? A big mistake that allows the white pieces to take up residence. I under estimated e3-c5 and c5-d6.

16. c4-e6?? big mistake. White gains a lasting advantage after, 16.c3-e2 c6-c5 17.d2-e3 a7-a6 18.f1–e1 e6-d4 19.e2xd4 c5xd4 20.e3-a3 g7-f8 21.d6xf8 d7xf8 22.c2-c3 b6-c7 23.c4-d5±

17…b6-b2!? Here I thought I would win a piece by getting white to take the rook on d6 with his queen in the combination. When he didn’t, I got that feeling we all get when we think we’ve just blown the game. The truth is after this combo I’m actually in the best position I’ve had all game. My opponent and I are feeling the same way and the position is level. LOL!

20…d7-f8? It’s getting late in the game, I didn’t know anything about stamina at the time. I really needed to give this position a good looking over since it was the 1st free move I was getting after a forced, and surprise continuation. I Was getting tired and didn’t know it. I’ll admit I also needed an attitude adjustment! 21…d7-c5! holds like a rock. It’s an out post that cannot be allowed to stand, and I have the 2 bishops and a pawn for the exchange! I should have been thrilled. 20…d7-c5 21.e1–d1 c8-e6 22.d2-b3 c5xb3 23.c2xb3 g7-f6 24.g1–h2 a8-c8=

21. d2-f3? Gary Kasparov said it best that the person who make the last mistake loses. I’ve learned that mistakes come in pairs. One apiece or two in a row, they come in pairs. Analysis has taught me to expect and avoid the second error and leave that for my opponent. Mistakes shock both of us and we must both remain calm afterwards to keep from making more errors!! 21.a4-a5! f8-e6 22.d2-c4 e6-c5 never getting to the d4 square any way! 23.c4-d6 g7-f6 24.g1–h2 f6-e7 25.d6xc8 a8xc8 26.e1–d1 and the 2 bishops are gone.

25…c8-b7? I called myself being fancy. I should have made the pawn chain. I wanted the e pawn so bad. At this point in the game, I was still mis judging who was winning. Today I would maintain that 4 against 2 majority and not let it get knocked down to 3 against 2. 25…c6-c5 26.a4-a5! b6xa5 (26…a8-b8 27.a5xb6 a7xb6 28.e2-f4 b6-b5 29.f4-d3 c5-c4 30.d3-b4 c8-d7=) 27.b1–a1 d4-d3 28.c2xd3 g7xa1 29.d1xa1 a5-a4 30.a1xa4 a7-a5 31.e2-c3 g8-g7 32.f2-f3 c8-d7=

28 d1-d7?? We all love to brag about how we had the game won. Analysis reveals the back and forth nature of the struggle. 28.d1–d2 e4-c6 29.d2-e2 g7-f6 30.b1–d1 g8-g7 31.d1–d6 a8-e8 32.e2xe8 c6xe8 33.b5xa7 e8xa4 34.d6xb6 a4xc2 35.b6-c6 Look familiar!? The trouble with endgames is you have to be able to see farther and farther away!

35…c5-c4?? This was one of my early analysis positions. It’s one that stands out in my mind because of this error. Calculating this win was well within my ability and I missed it. I was tired but more than anything else I committed the rookie not calculating which pawn I should push and acted like the result would be the same. I don’t think I’ve ever been meaner to myself than I was when I analyzed this game! Analysis will make you take vows that you will never break. [33…b5-b4!! 34.a8-c8 g8-g7 35.a7-c6 b4-b3 36.c6-a5 f8-d6 37.a5-c4 a4-b5 38.c4-b2 g7-f6 39.g2-g3 b5-d7 40.c8-h8 h7-h5 41.h8-a8 d6-e5 42.b2-d3 e5-d4 43.a8-b8 c5-c4 44.d3-e1 d7xh3 45.e1–f3 d4-c3 46.b8-b6+ h3-e6 47.b6-b7 e6-d5 48.b7-b6+ f6-e7 49.f3-g5 c3-e5 50.b6-b5 b3-b2 51.g1–h2 e5-g7 52.b5xd5 b2-b1 and wins if they hadn’t already resigned!

36. d4-b5?? Not time to throw themselves on the sword yet. At least try to fight it for a few more moves. [36.d4-e2 c5-b4 37.g1–f1 g7-f6 38.a8-a7 c4-c3 39.a7-c7 f6-e6–+ The knight must take now or let black chase the rook from the c file. Neat stuff.

37…c5-d4?? Angry with myself is an understatement. This isn’t even hard enough to be a puzzle for anyone over 1000!!  37…c4-c3 38.a5xb5 c5-a3 39.b5-b7 c3-c2 40.b7-c7 c2-c1+ –+

46. c6-c3?? The final throw away of the game by either side. White wins by forcing the bishop to protect the pawn from another diagonal.[46.d3-e4 g7-g6 47.c6-d6 g6-g7 48.e4-f5 f6-e7 49.d6-c6 e7-b4 50.f5-e4 b4-a5 51.e4-d3 f7-f6 52.c6-a6 a5-b4 53.a6-a4 b4-d6 54.d3xc3 d6-e5+ and the king will walk around and take everything.

This may look long but we only questioned 14 out of a possible 104 half moves. Now that you have finished your analysis and have written down all the possble continuations, here is how you make your analysis stick. Set the board up one more time and begin to rewrite the game. As you rewrite the game, put the proper punctuation for each move you looked at. Stop and look at the position and ask yourself if you understand the position and the punctuation you are giving.

1.e2-e4 d7-d6 2.d2-d4 g8-f6 3.b1–c3 g7-g6 4.g1–f3 f8-g7 5.f1–e2 0–0 6.0–0 c7-c6 7.h2-h3 e7-e5! 8.d4xe5 d6xe5 9.c1–e3 b8-d7 10.d1–d2 f8-e8 11.a1–d1N d8-c7 12.a2-a4 d7-f8?? 13.e3-c5 f6-d7 14.c5-d6 c7-b6 15.e2-c4 f8-e6 16.c4xe6? e8xe6 17.f1–e1 b6xb2!? 18.d1–b1 e6xd6 19.b1xb2! d6xd2 20.f3xd2 d7-f8? 21.d2-f3? f8-e6 22.e1–d1 e6-d4 23.b2-b1 b7-b6 24.f3xd4 e5xd4 25.c3-e2 c8-b7? 26.e2xd4 c6-c5 27.d4-b5 b7xe4 28.d1–d7?? e4xc2 29.b1–e1 c2xa4 30.d7xa7 a8xa7 31.b5xa7 b6-b5 32.e1–e8+ g7-f8 33.e8-a8 c5-c4?? 34.a7-c6 g8-g7 35.c6-d4 f8-c5 36.d4xb5? a4xb5 37.a8-a5 c5-d4?? 38.a5xb5 d4-f6 39.b5-c5 c4-c3 40.g1–f1 g6-g5 41.f1–e2 g7-g6 42.e2-d3 h7-h6 43.g2-g4 f6-g7 44.c5-c6+ g7-f6 45.f2-f3 g6-g7 46.c6xc3?? f6xc3 47.d3xc3 g7-g6 48.c3-d4 f7-f5 49.d4-e5 f5xg4 50.h3xg4 h6-h5 51.g4xh5+ g6xh5 52.e5-f5 ½–½

Finally it is time to load the game on to your computer. Set it up for infinite analysis and have it show 12 possible lines of play. Give each even slighlty non obvious move at least 20-30 seconds to see what your engine thinks. When you get to the moves you checked, see what the computer thinks and check your analysis. Once you have corrected all of the analysis with your computer, print it out and repeat the verification exercise.  Never ever allow your computer to go over a game before you do.  The computer is the tool, not the boss.  If you let the computer go 1st, Botvinik would just walk away from you!!!!!!

Now, go play chess with anyone or anything and notice how differently you are looking at the board.

If this has been helpful to you please leave a positive comment! If this has blown your mind, please leave a coment and a donation.

Always wishing the best for chess,

Mike Callaham/President