Welcome  2018 Prairie Chess Camp Families,

posted Jul 1, 2018, 2:28 PM by James Hodina

I hope your summer is off to a great start.  Six weeks from Monday, the Prairie Chess Camp begins.  It is our tenth annual chess camp and we are very excited for reaching this milestone.  In the days leading up to the camp, I will share with you information on food, transportation, registration, and instruction.  Once we start, I will provide daily updates and pictures of our chess camp activities. If you would like to look at the 2017 camp and pictures, feel free to check them out at http://www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp/2017chesscamp


The chess camp is nearly sold out with only three of the sixty-four openings remaining. So, if you have a sibling or friend thinking about the chess camp, please refer them to our registration website and sign up  I will start a waitlist once the final spot is filled. The refund policy for canceling has been posted with the registration information. It is 100% for cancellations received by June 16 (a week from today), 75% by June 23, 50% by June 29, 25% by July 6, & 10% by July 13.


Our great crew of instructors returns to teach our chess students:  Senior Chess Masters Alex Betaneli, Erik Santarius, and Iowa US Masters Dan Brashaw and James Neal.   Assisting our professional staff is top junior players, US Chess Masters Arshaq Saleem and Joseph Wan and US Chess Experts Gokul Thangavel and Kevin Li.  Along with me, we have five (5) have additional volunteers helping out with food, recess, bus transportation, and classroom activities: Regan Hodina, Trevor Ciha, Andre Vongpanya, Crissy Vigil, and Teresa Knecht. Finally, we have some scholastic classroom helpers: Clive Power, AJ Kozich, Owen Fiedorowicz, Nathan Chen, and Anish Lodh - all very strong players in their own right.  So, you can see that we will be well staffed to provide a rewarding chess camp experience for our student chess players.


Over the years, we have refined a daily schedule that has proven to be a good mix of learning, play, food, and (of course) fun.  We place students into one of four groups (about 16 campers each) based on chess experience and age. Each instructor has a classroom and, in the morning, the groups take turns rotating to each classroom.  This way, every student has the opportunity to work with each instructor. Each classroom has a theme that they emphasize (endgame, middlegame, tactics, and instructional games). In the afternoon, students will then play tournament style games (e.g. slow, writing down moves, touch-move) against one or more opponents of equal playing strength.  The students will then review each game with an instructor. All students have a folder that they keep throughout the week where we store their tactics puzzles, recorded games, and other chess camp handouts. We break up the day with a 30 minute morning snack/recess, one-hour lunch/recess, and 30-minute afternoon snack/recess.


I will send out my next email in about three weeks. In that email, we will have a sign up for food from Subway, Taco Bell, Fazoli’s, Culver’s, and Dominoes (one each day).  These have proven to be good options as they are well liked and offer options that meet the varying dietary needs of our campers. On the subject of food, we will also have healthy morning and afternoon snacks.  We will avoid nuts and peanuts as a few of our students have nut allergies. If there are other allergies or dietary restrictions that I need to be aware of, please send me an email. I will also have more details on the logistics of transportation, drop-off, and pick-up.


In the meantime, feel free to check out our camp website and camp roster online at http://www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.


Take care,

Jim Hodina

Ph: 319-432-1459

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