Day 3 at the 2018 Prairie Chess Camp

posted Jul 18, 2018, 5:56 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Chess Camp Families,

Wow, we have made it past the halfway point.  I saw a few tired bodies make their way into the cafeteria today.  That reminds me of a quote that I will paraphrase. There’s tired and then there’s Chess Camp tired. It did not take long to catch their second wind though.  Instead of heading into our lessons right away, we started off with the final round of the Thematic Tournament.  Overall, students are now thinking and playing very sharply and silly mistakes are fewer and farther between. The instructors are responding with more critical analysis and higher level lessons for the students.

As I described yesterday, each instructor focuses their lesson on a specific subject of chess (tactics, middlegame, endgame, and instructional games).  Within each subject, they have broken it down further into specific lessons and very focused concepts. In the endgame, this may be how to checkmate with a King & Queen (or Rook) vs. King then building up to more complex positions with additional pawns and minor pieces (a Knight or Bishop) on the board.  In the middlegame, the lesson may focus on finding the best placement of the pieces or arrangement of pawns (pawn structure) and how that then forms the basis for forming a plan. If the plan is “what you want to do” then the tactics are the move by move calculation of “how you are going to do it.” Finally, the instructional games show how this all comes together.

That is why we play tournament style games in the afternoon.  So that our students can learn about all the different facets of the game and they try to put it together for themselves.  By writing down their moves and reviewing the game afterward with the instructor, we can assess what the students are picking up on well and where we need to focus more attention on the next day….and so it goes each day :-).

We are actually playing two concurrent afternoon tournaments.  We start off with a slower game, keeping notation, and going over the game with the instructor.  Each day is one round of this slow chess tournament. We then go into a faster time control and play the thematic that we complete by the end of the day. In total, we played one slow game and four quick games this afternoon.  The updated results are on the Prairie Chess Camp website.

Lunch today was pasta from Zio Johnos.  Salads and garlic bread were also provided with cookies for dessert.  Morning and afternoon snacks included Nutri-Grain bars, Cheeze-Its, and “Chess Mix”.  Fruit was in abundant supply, too, including grapes, bananas, and apples. (We may very well consume 50 pounds of apples this week :-)

Finally, I have posted today’s pictures online once again online at the following web address:

Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Take care,