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Newsletter #13

posted Mar 20, 2018, 7:46 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Chess Families,


I hope you had an enjoyable Spring Break.  We were certainly ready to play some chess on Monday!  We had a good lesson on chess openings, had snacks, and played some games.  I also provided some updates on upcoming chess events. In this newsletter:


Monday’s Lesson
Prairie Chess Camp, July 16-20, www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp
Ice Harbor Scholastic Open, May 18-20, Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, www.iceharborchess.com.
2018 Iowa K-12 Scholastic Open Championship & K-8, K-5, and K-3 Section Championships, April 14th, Prairie Point Middle School, http://www.iowa-chess.org/scholastichampionships

  • Monday’s Lesson, March 19

  • Prairie Chess Camp, July 16-20

  • Ice Harbor Scholastic Open, May 19 & 20

  • K-12 Open Championship and K-8, K-5, & K-3 Sectionals, April 14

Monday’s Lesson

We studied the chess opening today.  This is a very broad and theoretical discussion.  So we talked more about principles (move to the center of the board, don’t move the same piece twice, and castle as soon as you can).  Starting last chess club meeting, I have picked specific openings to learn by example. This week, we had some fun with the “Fried Liver Attack.”  You can search for this on YouTube and ChessKid.com. Here are a couple links to watch with your child.

Prairie Chess Camp, July 16-20, www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp

Of course, I have to start with the Prairie Chess Camp.  It is our 10th year and so we are pulling out all the stops to make it the best one ever.  It’s parent and kid friendly! The camp event hosted at Prairie Point over five days, July 16-20.  For the parents, we have early drop off available at 7:30 am and late pick-up until 5:00 pm. For the kids, we have chess lessons in the morning, chess tournaments in the afternoon, and recess and food three times throughout the day.


We divide the students into four groups based on age and skill level.  Our instructors are four US Chess Masters, Alex, Erik, Dan, and James. They are assisted by four high school champion chess players (some of them are Masters, too!).  We do three lessons in the morning and then have structured chess events in the afternoon. We have the kids record their games so that the instructors can review them with the students immediately afterword.  Time permitting the kids end the day playing for fun (including bughouse) or doing puzzles.


We have plenty of additional help from high school students and parent volunteers (including me) to serve food, supervise recess, and help with the logistics of drop off and pick-up.  Lunch is brought in from Subway, Taco Bell, Culver’s, Fazoli’s, and Pizza Hut. We have many games for recess including soccer, volleyball, bean bag toss, football, and frisbee.


Registration is limited to 64 players and we are already more than half full.  You may register for the camp online at www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.  The current registrants are also shown. The registration fee is $275, which you may pay by check or with PayPal/credit card at the registration website.  Financial scholarships are available based on need. Please contact me with questions.

Ice Harbor Scholastic Open, May 18-20, Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, www.iceharborchess.com.

This is a huge chess tournament.  So, big its two days (three counting Friday night Blitz).  Our tournament chess players have probably seen the poster with the blue and white flyers.  This event bring together 150 players from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. There are 7 different sections for beginners to experts.  The hotel has water park for those staying at the hotel, which is nice for the kiddos not playing in the tournament. For details, visit the website at www.iceharborchess.com.  We offer alternative schedules so that kids can play bughouse or the family to enjoy the water park and Dubuque’s food and museums.  The tournament website has information on the chess group room block, but are only guaranteed through April 17th.

2018 Iowa K-12 Scholastic Open Championship & K-8, K-5, and K-3 Section Championships, April 14th, Prairie Point Middle School, http://www.iowa-chess.org/scholastichampionships

This is the final “regular season” tournament of the Iowa scholastic chess season.  We are the host at Prairie Point again. This is an individual player tournament with sections based on grade level.  Registration is $15 and is available online at www.onlineregistration.cc.



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