Over The Board Chess Is Back!

Remember this?

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!

We can give you lessons on how to use one of these!

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

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.