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!

Masks, Sanitizer, and Thermometers are here to stay!

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!

Our club is both an Arena and a playground!?

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!

The proving grounds of chess!

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!!

Stamina and concentration from, “no mute” lessons!!

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!!

Information Overload!?

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.

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!

White just played Qf3??

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

Black just played Nd4?

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 just played Bd6??

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!

Black just played Qa4??

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!?!

Here white played Ne4??

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!

Here white played gf??

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!

Here black played Qb2??

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 (w) 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!

Here black played Rg3??

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.

Here black played Rh3??

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.

Here Back played bc??

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.

Here white played Rdg1?

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

Black played b5?

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!

White just played Qe3? instead of the forced Qa3

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!!

Black played Kh8??

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.

White played Ba2??

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

In this position white played f4??

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!?

White’s last move was Ne4?!

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!!!

White’s last move was dc??

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!

Thanks for all the games!! They were a joy to read and more instructive than I could put in this article. If you want to learn more about our form of chess discipline, please contact us!! if you are not ready for lessons or coaching, we will get you ready for free!!! We hope you learned something unbelievable!! Coach Mike C 804-426-6058

Ready For Coaching? We Get You Ready For Free!?!

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!!

Rosen 2425 vs Chow 2232 from the year 2011

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.

Callaham 1863 vs Cohen 1990 From the year 2014

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?!

Checkmate Drills

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.

If you think you are ready for Tournament Coaching, we offer a free 90 minute assessment/consultation. We will discuss your goals, play the potential student, and then give you our assessment. If your student is ready, we will give you a quote. If your student is not ready for lessons, we will help you get them ready for FREE!! Rated Tournament Chess Players Only!! Call, write, or email. No texting. Coach Mike 804-426-6058. Call anytime!

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!!