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CHESS CAMP: MOSAIC WEEK ONE PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alexey W. Root on Fri, Jun 10 2016 (14:32)

Dr. Alexey Root taught at the Coppell Gifted Association’s MOSAIC from June 6-10, 2016. She had eight students from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and a different 10 students from 10:30 a.m. to noon. All students were entering grades 4-8 this fall, which means that the age range was roughly nine years old to thirteen years old. Dr. Root will be teaching chess again for MOSAIC July 25-29, 2016. This blog posting tells the lesson plans that Dr. Root used each day at MOSAIC. Remember, the plans are for a class that is 90 minutes long. That is, the plans were taught to one group from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. then repeated for a new group from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Monday: 3-on-3 pawn problem from Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving. When

presenting this problem, Dr. Root gave a sample line in algebraic notation (writing the notation on the board) and asked students to share how pawns move, capture, and promote. Then students paired up to try to solve this problem, tracking their answers in notation on scoresheets. When one group solved the problem, the other groups were asked if they wanted to keep trying or hear the solution. All the groups wanted to keep trying for 10 more minutes. Then the first group that solved the problem showed the solution on the demonstration board.  Then Dr. Root asked students if they played sports or a musical instrument. The importance of drills (rather than playing entire sports games or music pieces) was discussed, leading into students being shown the two-rook checkmate drill and then practicing it with partners. Those that succeeded on it (tested by Dr. Root) then were shown the one-queen checkmate drill and practiced it with partners. After a brief explanation of notation for pieces (as pawn notation had already been covered), the last 45 minutes was for tournament game #1 which students notated. Those that finished their tournament game early could play their opponent again for fun, either a full game or a Pawn Game.

Tuesday: The Create challenge from Thinking With Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14. As part of explaining the Create challenge, Dr. Root explained en passant. As pairs of students completed the Create challenge, and had their notated answers checked by Dr. Root, Dr. Root tested them on basic endgame checkmates (two-rook, one-queen, one-rook) and taught the next checkmate to practice. The last 45 minutes was for tournament game #2 which students notated. Those that finished their tournament game early could play their opponent again for fun, either a full game or a Pawn Game or play Battleship Chess, a drill from Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators.

Wednesday: Leftover round 2 games were completed while other students began the Game Theory challenge from Thinking With Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14. As part of explaining the Game Theory challenge, Dr. Root explained castling and presented some sample Game Theory games on the demonstration board with notation alongside on the dry erase board. Then pairs of students played the Game Theory challenge. They also tested with Dr. Root on whatever basic endgame checkmate they had not yet mastered and learned a new one, such as the K + B + B vs. K checkmate.  Dr. Root gave a brief lecture on the Scholar’s Mate, as she had noticed students winning in four moves on Tuesday. The last 45 minutes was for tournament game #3 which students notated. Those that finished their tournament game early could play their opponent again for fun, either a full game or a Pawn Game or play Battleship Chess, a drill from Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators, or try a Knight’s Tour on diagram paper (see Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving).

Thursday: Leftover round 3 games were completed while other students paired up for a Tactics worksheet, with problems from a Bruce Pandolfini book as described in Prepare With Chess Strategy. The values of the chessmen were briefly discussed, as the point of tactics is often to win material.  After pairs of students completed the 10-problem tactics worksheet, they tested on their basic endgame checkmates with Dr. Root. The last 45 minutes was for tournament game #4 which students notated. Those that finished their tournament game early could play their opponent again for fun, either a full game or a Pawn Game or play Battleship Chess, a drill from Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators, or try a Knight’s Tour on diagram paper or play bughouse.

Friday: As some students finished their round four tournament games, others completed eight checkmates-in-one diagrammed problems from KidChess.com. Problems had been downloaded and photocopied. Then students practiced their basic endgame checkmates with each other and tested on those checkmates with Dr. Root. At this point, every student could do the two-rook checkmate and the one-queen checkmate. Several had also conquered the K + R vs. K checkmate, and one student mastered the K + B + B vs. K checkmate.  If students completed the eight problems correctly and passed whatever test they were on, they could play fun activities (such as bughouse) until parents arrived. The last 45 minutes of class Dr. Root played a simultaneous exhibition against the students. Parents were invited to join the class for the simul and help their students. Nine copies of Prepare With Chess Strategy sold for $12 each, with $2 from each sale donated to the Coppell Gifted Association.

 

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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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