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.
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
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.
Chess isn’t easy by a long shot but it’s definitely more fun than difficult when it’s taught correctly. Chess, above all other things it’s called, is a discipline!!! The challenge is what are you supposed to be disciplined about? There’s a correct way to do everything. Chess is no different. Checks, Captures, Threats, and Sacrifices is the beginning of your discipline training. Lombardi said we are going to get very good at the basics. Your punches, and kicks aren’t allowed o be sloppy because everyone knows you are a Black Belt!? Ask a chess player what they are supposed to be disciplined about and the answers will make you laugh more than provide guidance. The answer should have a common level of acceptance and then gain depth and diversity!! Read your chess instructions again for the 1st time and you will understand that there are things that you are supposed to be looking for on every single turn. Once you know what to be disciplined about and follow it, it’s like making people play any other sport in slow motion!?!
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