Dr. Alexey Root
Written by Alexey W. Root on Thu, Nov 06 2014 (08:08)

Dr. Alexey Root taught forks using problems from Bruce Pandolfini’s Beginning Chess (New York: Fireside, 1993). Dr. Root demonstrated a sample fork position and had students define what a fork is in chess. Then pairs of students set up positions following instructions such as “W: Kf1, Qd1, B: Ke8, Ne4, Pe7. White to move.” After studying the position, students wrote the answer in algebraic notation. Then students raised their hands for Dr. Root to check their answers. Students understood that it was best not to show the answer (correct move) on the board, because then a neighboring pair could copy that answer. Also, visualizing the answer without touching the chessmen was good practice for the upcoming November 15 tournament. Two pairs in the advanced group were able to complete six of the 10 problems. Most pairs completed three or four problems. Next week’s lesson will continue with the remaining fork problems.

Written by Alexey W. Root on Tue, Oct 28 2014 (20:05)

Dr. Alexey Root gave one example of a checkmate and one of a stalemate on the demonstration board. Then she asked Greenhill School students to pair up and then create four checkmates and two stalemates. Beginner and intermediate students got to use a white king, white queen, and black king. Advanced students used a white king, white rook, and black king. For example, white king g6, white queen g7, black king g8 would meet the checkmate criteria for the beginner and intermediate pairs. As each checkmate position was created, Dr. Root checked the position. The pair that finished first over all six positions was acknowledged and given the “reward” of getting to practice getting to a checkmate position from the starting position of the defending king in the center and the attacking king and major piece on the first rank. Teams worked very hard to finish, be acknowledged by Dr. Root, and then cheerfully practiced their basic checkmates.

Written by Alexey W. Root on Mon, Oct 27 2014 (21:25)

Dr. Alexey Root traveled to St. Louis for the launch of the Journal of Chess Research. While there, she got to visit the chess tourist sites (Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis and the World Chess Hall of Fame). Also, Grandmaster Susan Polgar showed her around Webster University, home of the national collegiate chess champions. A personal thrill for Alexey was seeing Fide Master Loren Schmidt, PhD, at the launch dinner. Loren was Alexey’s first chess teacher, back in Lincoln, NE when Alexey was nine years old. Her parents paid Loren $3 for an hour lesson, which was followed by an evening at the Lincoln Chess Club (another couple of hours). Today’s chess parents would not be able to get three hours of high quality chess instruction and play for $3! Loren and Alexey wrote letters for years after Alexey moved away at age 11. Alexey considers Loren a friend and an inspiration. She dedicated her Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators to Loren and to Dr. Tim Redman, who was instrumental in Alexey’s career at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Written by Alexey W. Root on Tue, Oct 21 2014 (19:32)

Greenhill Chess Club students played the Game Theory challenge from Thinking with Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14. The advanced group had to notate their “castling” games, while the other two groups did not.

Written by Alexey W. Root on Tue, Oct 14 2014 (21:22)

For October 14, Dr. Alexey Root taught the Tandem Chess exercise from People, Places, Checkmates: Teaching Social Studies with Chess. Students in the A group partnered with students in the C group. B group students partnered together. Thus teams were balanced to play one tandem game as White and one tandem game as Black against another team. For example, a team of a A and C player played two tandem games versus a team of two B players. Since usually students only interact with students in their own group, this exercise gave students an opportunity to get to know others in the Greenhill School Chess Club.

Written by Alexey W. Root on Thu, Oct 09 2014 (06:54)

The beginners learned the values of the chessmen, for example a queen is worth nine pawns. Then the beginners played Exercise 7 “Queen versus Rook and Bishop.” from Read, Write, Checkmate: Enrich Literacy with Chess Activities.

Dr. Root tested the handful of intermediate and advanced students on their knowledge of en passant who had not been previously tested. While Dr. Root tested those students individually, the rest of the students played Battleship Chess, a drill from Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators.

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Chess Quotes

And for the chess-player the success which crowns his work, the great dispeller of sorrows, is named "combination."

-Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

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