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I have played tournament chess for over 25 years (US Chess rating 2113 - Expert). I have tutored chess for the past 25 years for all ages, individual and groups. I have been the coach for the Benjamin Middle School chess team for 19 years. (We've won 4 Illinois State Championships!) I also have been the coach for the West Chicago High School chess team for 13 years. In addition, I have taught chess at park districts and libraries, as well as private lessons in my home (or student's home).
My style is play instructional sparring games with each student. I then teach students how to record their chess games in writing so that we can review games that they play with family and friends and competitors in tournaments. I provide ample instructional material on all phases of chess and lend out chess books and videos as well.
My chess tournament experience began in high school with simple knock-out tournaments. Even then, I was a student of the game – studying many chess books on opening play, middle game tactics and strategy, and end games. In college (beginning in 1977), I joined the Bloomington-Normal chess club. I was mentored by the president of the club and we attended many local tournaments. Upon graduation, I moved to the Chicago suburbs and joined the St. Charles Chess Club and eventually the Oak Park-River Forest chess club. Over the next several years I played regularly at both clubs in the evening and attended many weekend tournaments. My knowledge and ability increased rapidly and I attained a US Chess Federation rating of over 2000, which is Expert class. (Master is 2200 and above.)
Shortly after reaching Expert class, I began giving my first formal chess lessons – with an adult, once a week for one hour. Eventually, I gave lessons to more adults and through word-of-mouth I made contact with those working with scholastic chess. Soon I was instructing several grade school and junior high players. A few years later, I was asked to coach the Benjamin Middle School chess team, as two of the players I had coached individually had propelled their team to win the IL State Chess Championship – Elementary Division. As coach of the Benjamin Middle School, we went on to win four more state championships (junior high) over the next 16 years. When many of these chess players went onto high school at West Chicago High, a chess team was initiated, and three years later I became the chess coach and still am after 10 years.
My chess teaching has extended to a library and two park districts. I have also taught at eight one-week chess camps. One of my most notable accomplishments was to receive in 1998 the “Colias Teaching in Excellence Award” for my work with young Illinois players in the national Top 50 for their age.
My instruction range has included beginners who have never played chess through advanced players who are quite active in tournament play. My curriculum includes:
Beginner: How each piece moves and captures, check and checkmates, value of each piece, basic opening play, basic checkmates, basic tactics (such as pins and double attacks), how to record (write down) each move.
Intermediate: Calculation and analysis of several possible moves on each turn, further opening study, checkmate patterns, intermediate tactics, attacking the king, and intermediate endgame play (such as K & R vs. K, R & P)
Advanced: Long-term planning and strategy, deep opening study against nearly all reasonable opponent formations, advanced tactics, positional play via study of master games, and advanced endgame play such as (K, R & 3 P’s vs. K, R & 4 P’s).
Included in all of the above is my analysis of games played by the student between the lessons. I also have over 200 chess books and over 30 videos for students to borrow between the lessons.
I am still an active player myself, playing at the St. Charles Chess Club and with the Chicago Chess Industrial league. I am still reading new books, sparring with my chess computer, and learning new techniques for playing and teaching.
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