Day 4 Summary at the Prairie Chess Camp

posted Jul 19, 2018, 5:48 PM by James Hodina   [ updated Jul 19, 2018, 5:50 PM ]

Dear Prairie Chess Camp Families,

Each of our amazing instructors brings a variety of teaching techniques to their lessons.  James, Dan, Erik, and Alex are all amazing chess players. But being able to communicate this to young learning chess players is another skill altogether.  The instructors usually provide a very specific chess position to the players and ask them questions.

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses in the position for each player (called imbalances)?  Can you list them?

  • How can we make a plan to take advantage of our strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses?  How do we defend against our own weaknesses?

  • Are there tactics present that allow us to win a piece or checkmate our opponent?

After helping the student make the assessment, we ask them to actually make moves from the given position: sometimes against the instructor, sometimes against each other, sometime as a team, or sometimes simply writing out the next 1, 2, or 3 moves that they can visualize forcing a highly favorable outcome. And always, we keep it light and fun with friendly competition on finding the right answers or letting students having a “redo” on a move that didn’t work out well.  In the end, the spirited competition between teams or with the instructors always brings excited cheers in the classroom.

Today was rainy and so we used our small gym for recesses in the morning and afternoon at lunch, but it did dry up and we went outdoors recess in the afternoon.  For lunch, we had Culver’s hamburgers, chicken tenders, grilled chicken sandwiches, or grilled cheese sandwiches with French fries. Snacks included Chex Mix, Go-Gurt, popcorn, and fruit.  

We continued our daily game of the slow chess tournament.  This includes students recording their moves and going over their game with our chess instructors.  Following the slow game, we played a blitz chess tournament. The kids were kept in four group aligned with their lesson groups.  Those who did not want to play blitz, worked with alex and our student instructors playing and doing chess tactics.

Tomorrow is amazingly the last day.  We have many things for the chess campers to take home with them included their folder with their chess tactics worksheets (puzzles), their recorded games, and a chess camp certificate of achievement signed by all four instructors.  All of this will be packed together at the end of the day. For those picking up on Friday, please make sure that they take this home with them - especially if you arrive early.

My final camp email will likely come out Saturday as I will be cleaning, packing, and unpacking Friday.

Here are photos from today:  We also had a parent. Katarzyna Wolniak-Bujakowska, come take pictures today, which are just wonderful.  She has shared them as well and you can view them through this link:

Take care,