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!

King Philidor Teaches Chess!

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.

The Total Chess Personality embodies evolution!?!

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!

6 yr old Anagha Sinkar, while she was the Head Coach at Lucille Brown Middle School!?!

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. 

Every session at every level is customized to save time, money, and make the personality develop at a perfect pace for the student and the Coach!?!

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.

How you use this piece can change the outcome of the game!

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!

Make a list of the things you will constantly check when it is your opponents turn!

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!

White to move took 22 minutes to play 14. Ne4
White took 38 minutes to find 19. b3
It took Bobby Fischer 17 minutes to find 20…Qc5
Why did it take 10 minutes for Karpov to play 7. Rc1

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

White to move. The time to solve this was 15 minutes. It’s a forced mate!
7/17/1997 Black spent 30 minutes and played 16…Nf4!
3/29/2003 White spent 49 minutes and played 16. Nf7!
6/7/2014. After 36 minutes, White played 16. Bh6!!

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!!

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?

Your campaign starts 30-40 hours before you get here! lol

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 to you and give you key ideas about the opening and middlegame!

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.

A database tells you what was played, not what’s best!

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!?!

Chess engines are only as good as their users knowledge of how they work.

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?

Chess is simply not this complicated. People are constantly trying to get out of the work.

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 King’s Gambit position from the last blog will show you how a campaign punishes!!

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 -/+)

I was prepared to answer Nc3 with …a6 but they never bought out the knight! What happens next is the result of a campaign!!

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

The Kings Gambit Declined has no published theory for black about it’s campaigns, piece placement, maneuvers, strategies, or concepts. The chess world has no respect for it!?! lol If you want a theoretical walk in this opening, go back in the blogs to the 2019 World Open!!!

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.

Campaigns should begin at every major transposition or branchpoint. You must have a campaign that governs your movements after castling!!

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.

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nd7 4. Nc3 Ngf6 5. Bc4 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Re1 c6 8. a4
Qc7 9. h3 h6 10. Be3

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)!!

This knight paralyzes the kingside and gives black the time necessary for redevelopment!

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!

Once you’ve exhausted your campaign, checks, captures, threats, sacrifices, and the magic 10 will bring home the point!

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!?!

If they play 4. b1-c3 black takes the initiative with 4… a7-a6! and responding to 5. c3-a4 with c5-a7.

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.

White does not know what a7-a5!? is for!?!

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.

13… h7-h5!? Threatening to ruin the kingside pawns without a rook on the file is a surprise weapon in the campaigns against fianchettos!

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

Good luck and remember, if you are not ready for coaching, we’ll get you ready for Free!!!

Thanks,

Coach Mike C