PCC Newsletter

Newsletter #17, April 20, 2017

posted Apr 20, 2017, 9:01 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Chess Families,


Well, here we are.  Staring at our last meeting of the Prairie Chess Club is this Monday.  


We had a somewhat smaller but highly energetic group on Tuesday (make-up from Monday’s in-service day).  For the Creek and Point students, we studied the game Bobby Fischer v David Byrne, 1956.  This is known as “The Game of the Century.”  What was perhaps more remarkable was that Fischer was only 13 years old at the time.


The Elementary School students met in the computer lab.  We watched the 60 minutes story, “Chess Country” about chess has changed the lives of student in rural Franklin County, Mississippi.  We then logged to ChessKid.com for the last time a chess club, just to make sure that we all remember how to do it.  The kids will have their accounts for the calendar year and I hope they continue to use them over the summer.


The Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21 at Prairie Point, is filling up.  We have 49 registrations, 15 spots remain. So, if you remain interested, its time to Register Now at www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.  One really cool thing is that we 17 registrations for students entering 7th grade and above.  We also have 10 students from Prairie signed up, so good representation from our chess club.  


The Ice Harbor Scholastic Chess Tournament registrations continue to build as we approach 130 participants.  We have 5 Prairie players registered though and would love to see some more sign-ups.  I have been asked recently, so I thought I would mention that I am the chief tournament director and organizer of this event.  You can register online at www.onlineregistration.cc


I look forward to seeing  you on Monday for our final club meeting.  I hope to see you at Ice Harbor and the Prairie Chess Camp.


Take care,

Jim


Newsletter #16, April 4, 2017

posted Apr 20, 2017, 9:00 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Families,


I did not get a newsletter out last week, so I will combine activities for the past two chess club meetings.  Chess Club is cancelled next week, April 10, as I will be out of town most of the week.


On March 28 we hosted our match with Coolidge Elementary School.  Cedar Rapids Elementary Schools are K-5 and so we limited our team to the K-5 players in our club.  We each had over 20 players.  While I did not keep track, my impressions were that we seemed to win at least two out of three games and did especially well on our top boards.  We played for at least an hour and everyone got to play a couple games.  Meanwhile, our 6-9 graders played two rounds of our spring club chess tournament.


A little bit of history with Coolidge’s chess club.  Over 10 years ago, when our one and only chess club at Crest was just getting started, Coolidge was a state powerhouse and won several state elementary team championships.  Our young Crest Chess Club ventured a trip to their school for a match.  We were completely overpowered and did not win a game.  Unfortunately, the Coolidge math teacher and chess coach retired.  The chess club disbanded - temporarily - until a neighborhood volunteer, Craig Brophy, stepped in.  They are on the way back up and I have a feeling we will see them more often.


This Monday, April 3, I reviewed a famous game played by former World Champion Garry Kasparov, know as the contemporary “Immortal Game.”.  It was full of tactics that posed good problems for us to solve as a group.  After the lesson, we played some fun games.  Our K-4 elementary students met in the computer lab where we did a lesson on “when it’s good to trade pieces” using a  ChessKid video to supplement the learning.  We then did a ChessKid.com workout where the students start out with a material advantage (material odds on ChessKid) against a computer (one situation where it is good to trade pieces.)


Chess Club is cancelled next week, April 10.   I will be out of town most of the week and unable to hold chess club.


On April 18, there is no school on Monday, April 17th.  We will meet on the 18th, normal schedule.


April 24 will be our last Chess Club Meeting of the School Year! We will have a celebration.  I welcome any ideas and help.


April 29 & 30: Ice Harbor Scholastic Open:  This is the penultimate scholastic chess tournament of the school year!  Visit www.iceharborchess.com for details and registration information. In addition to two days of chess, we have a blitz and a bughouse tournament.  As of this writing, we have 111 students registered from four states.  Only four are from Prairie :-(.  I am the tournament organizer and chief tournament director, so you know it will be good :-)  …  We have more trophies than players! So there is something for everyone.


Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21, 2017:  Register online at www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.  We have filled 44 of the 64 available spots.  The full week chess camp, open from 7:30 pm to 5:00 pm each day, is held at Prairie Point. And we don’t just play chess.  We have great food, lots of outdoor recesses with soccer, volleyball, and other activities.  Best of all, our students make some really good friends.


Newsletter #15, March 22, 2017

posted Apr 20, 2017, 8:59 PM by James Hodina

With a week off for spring break, it certainly feels like it’s been awhile since I sent out information.  With spring, a lot of new activities are underway.  I understand if there are other obligations that you must juggle.  However, all students continue to be welcome to join us, even it means coming a little later or leaving a little early.


We are approaching the end of the school year, here is the calendar of upcoming club meetings and chess tournaments.

  • March 25:  Iowa Class Championships, Des Moines.  This is an All-Ages State Championship Event, hosted at Drake University. Players will compete in sections based on their rating.  Most of our students would compete in Class E for players rated under 1200.  This section will have mostly scholastic players.  See details below.

  • March 28:  Match with Coolidge Elementary School. Next week, we will meet on Tuesday and not on our normally scheduled Monday.  See details below.

  • April 1: Iowa K-12 Open and K-9, K-6, and K-3 Section Championships.  This scholastic chess tournament will be held at Northwest Junior High School in Coralville.  Online registration at https://onlineregistration.cc/CII/2017K12CHAMP

  • April 3: Prairie Chess Club: Regular meeting of the Prairie Chess Club.

  • April 10:  Chess Club Cancelled? I will be out of town most of the week and unable to hold chess club.  If there are parents willing to help run the club, we can still meet, but otherwise we will cancel.  I will let you know on next week’s newsletter if I receive enough volunteers.  Of course Dustin Sellon and our high school volunteers will be available.

  • April 18: Prairie Chess Club:There is no school on Monday, April 17th.  We will meet on the 18th, normal schedule.

  • April 24: Prairie Chess Club: Last Chess Club Meeting of the School Year!

  • April 29 & 30: Ice Harbor Scholastic Open:  Final scholastic chess tournament of the school year!  Visit www.iceharborchess.com for details and registration information.  This tournament is LIKE NO OTHER!

  • July 17-21:  Prairie Chess Camp.  Register online at www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp

Monday’s Activity

We have been studying a lot.  So, I thought it was time to just let the kids play.  Actually, we started our Spring Chess Club Tournament.  The Point and Creek students got in two rounds.  The Elementary Students complete one.  We will continue the tournament over the next few meetings.  I am sure I will be unable to resist the urge to drop in a lesson.



Iowa Class Championships, Des Moines, Saturday March 25  This is an All-Ages State Championship Event, hosted at Drake University - the same location as our state team championship held earlier this year. Players will compete in sections based on their rating.  Most of our students would compete in Class E for players rated under 1200.  This section will have mostly scholastic players, but could have a few beginner adults (Parents?)  Details are posted online at http://www.iowa-chess.org/iowaclasschampionships.  You may register online at http://onlineregistration.cc


Chess Club Match with Coolidge Elementary, Tuesday March 28

We have set up another chess match.  This time, it will be against Coolidge Elementary School of Cedar Rapids.  The match is set for Tuesday after school, March 28 and will go from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  It will run much like our last two matches.  We will not meet on Monday, March 27 (Sorry, I cannot take off work to have club Monday and the match on Tuesday).  Pick up will be the normal time.  Parents are invited to come and watch.

Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21, 2017

The chess camp is now half full (32) including 6 Prairie students.  It does sell out every year and if you want to join us, I strongly suggest registering early than later.  We do offer a full refund until June 17.  This is a great experience for the kids.  The camp web page, with registration information, is available online at: http://www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.  I have flyers on the table at chess club, too.


Newsletter #14, March 6, 2017

posted Apr 20, 2017, 8:58 PM by James Hodina

In This Newsletter


  • T-Shirts

  • Today’s Lesson

  • Prairie Chess Series Tournament #3, Saturday March 11

  • Chess Club Match with Coolidge Elementary, Tuesday March 28
    Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21, 2017

T-Shirts

I believe that I have handed out all the t-shirts.  If you ordered one but did not receive it, please let me know.  I do have a few extras if you have changed your mind and would like one. I will bring them to the tournament Saturday.

Today’s Lesson

As we head into the Spring Break, we wrapped up the lesson focus areas we have been working on the last couple weeks.  

  • The Creek and Point students finished our overviews on the numerous chess openings looking at some of the options to the more popular double king pawn openings that kids most often see in tournaments.

  • The elementary students completed our working on “hanging pieces.”  I am particularly impressed with how well our K-4 students did with the ChessKid.com chess puzzle this weeks.  We had a few chess stars do more than 40 puzzles last week.


Following the lessons, we played some organized chess games.  

  • The K-4 kids played online in their ChessKid.com account.  With ChessKid.com I can view any game being played by our students.  Today, I used the projector in the computer lab to project their games on the white board where I would commentate on the position.  It was impromptu, but the kids really seemed to enjoy it as I took turns among all the games being played.

  • The Creek and Point students played in a tournament. Students were given the choice to play either standard rules or a variant known as 3-Check.

Prairie Chess Series Tournament #3, Saturday March 11

The third and final tournament of the Prairie Chess Series is this Saturday at Prairie Point.  Many of you registered for all three tournaments back in January.  If your plans have changed and you will not be there on Saturday (e.g. Spring Break vacation), please let me know.  You can play in the third tournament even if you did not play in either of the first two tournaments.  We will have trophies for this tournament as well as some individual and team trophies for the series totals (hint, we will win a team trophy).  You can register online at https://onlineregistration.cc/CII/10PCST3.


Chess Club Match with Coolidge Elementary, Tuesday March 28

We have set up another chess match.  This time, it will be against Coolidge Elementary School of Cedar Rapids.  The match is set for Tuesday after school, March 28.  So we will not meet on Monday, March 27 (sorry, I cannot take off work to have club Monday and the match on Tuesday).  Pick up will be the normal time.  Parents are invited to come and watch.

Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21, 2017

The chess camp is now half full (32) including 6 Prairie students.  It does sell out every year and if you want to join us, I strongly suggest registering early than later.  We do offer a full refund until June 17.  This is a great experience for the kids.  The camp web page, with registration information, is available online at: http://www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.  I have flyers on the table at chess club, too.


Newsletter #13, February 28, 2017

posted Feb 28, 2017, 9:39 PM by James Hodina


Dear Prairie Chess Families,

Chess T-Shirts

I handed out the second order of T-Shirts on Monday.  I send individual emails to those who I don’t have marked off as picking up their shirt.  If you did not get your t-shirt (or an email from me), please let me know in case I inadvertently crossed your name off the list.  I have a few extras (Adult M, Youth L, and Youth M) if anyone did not order a shirt and would still like one.  Just let me know.

Chess Lesson: Point & Creek (5-9)

For the Creek and Point students, we continued our series of lessons on the chess opening.  Two Monday’s ago, we explored the Scotch Game following through one our own players games played in the Team Tournament at Point on the 4th.  Last Monday, we reviewed the Ruy Lopez, also known as the Spanish opening, which was a player request.  We will continue this approach for the next couple of weeks. If any student has a request, particularly from a game they notated in a tournament, I would be happy to highlight in an upcoming lesson.  Just send me an email with a copy of their notation sheet.  For those students that would like to review or go deeper into these two openings, I am providing a few links to two of several good YouTube videos for each opening.


Scotch Game

Ruy Lopez


For our Elementary Students, we have spent time learning about “hanging pieces” while using our ChessKid.com accounts.

Chess Lesson: Elementary (K-4)

The link to our ChessKid lesson is:


For this lesson, there are a series of 4 short videos with an assessment at the end.  Everyone completed at least one of the four lessons. I then issued a challenge to complete the remain 3 lessons by this Monday’s club meeting.  I had prizes for all those who complete the remaining lesson as part of the challenge. Those who did not complete the challenge over the prior week used this Monday to do so.


For those who completed the lesson, we practice by solving chess puzzle on the “Hanging Pieces Theme.”  The challenge this week is to attempt and solve the most “hanging pieces” puzzles.There will be prizes for those who attempt the most "hanging pieces" puzzles and those who get the most correct.

When logging on to their ChessKid.com accounts, students will see a message about the challenge and instruct them to:


“Click on this link: https://www.chesskid.com/puzzles/server.html?theme=12


To get their from the main menu follow these clicks:


Learn => Puzzles => Themes => Hanging Pieces



Please let me know if you have any trouble logging in.  Most kids know their username.  They all start with “Prairie”  such as PralrieWalrus.  All passwords are either checkmate or pawn2e4.

Save the Dates:


March 11: The third Prairie Chess Series is coming up March 11th, once again at Prairie Point.  You can play in this even if you have not played in the first or second.  You can sign up by sending me an email and paying on site… I don’t quite have the online registration set up yet, but will soon.  We have several students doing very well in club but have not attempted a tournament yet.  I really like to see them give it a shot. We have a lot of kids from our trophy winning Creek student moving on to Point next year and we are really looking to see who is going step in and fill their shoes.


March 21 or 28: I am working to arrange a match with Coolidge Elementary school on either March 21 or March 28.  That is a Tuesday.  They will come to Prairie.  Whichever date, we may move chess club that week from Monday to Tuesday.  I will let you know when we have something firmed up - likely next week.


April 29-30: Registration for Ice Harbor is taking off (visit www.iceharborchess.com for complete details).  Approximately ¾ of the 100 rooms in our block at the Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park have already been taken.  So, if you are thinking of going, get your reservation now.  We do have an overflow hotel at the nearby Holiday Inn, but the Holiday Inn does not have a water park :-(.


Newsletter #12, February 21, 2017

posted Feb 28, 2017, 9:26 PM by James Hodina

This Week’s Chess Lesson

After a few weeks off, our K-4 students returned to the computer lab and logged into our ChessKid.com accoounts and the virtual Prairie Chess Club. We started a new lesson, “Hanging Pieces!”  There are four videos in the series with five puzzles at the end of each video. All students who complete the four videos and puzzles will receive a fun prize on Monday.  All K-4 ChessKid students have an online account.  Please contact me if you have any problems logging in.  The website again is www.chesskid.com.  The lesson is Home=>Learn=>Lessons and scroll down to Queen1 or use the hyperlink above.


For our Creek and Point students, we kicked off discussion on chess openings.  Chess openings are both principled and theoretical.  By this, I mean there is both “rules of thumb” and very specific sequences that may need to be memorized.  It is a very rich topic with lots of material to cover.  So this will be our topic through Spring Break.  I will use our students’ games from past tournaments to teach openings each week.  If your student has recorded their moves from a past tournament or from a game played online, please send it my way and I will work to include it in our lesson.


Borlaug-Weber (Iowa City) K-6 Chess Tournament

This is a free tournament for K-6 students.  This is not rated by US Chess and therefore membership is not required either.  Rather that writing out all of the details, I am attaching a flyer.  Even though free, there are many trophies available.


Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21

I know it is about 5 months away, but the chess camp already is over one-third full.  It does sell out every year and if you want to join us, I strongly suggest registering early than later.  We do offer a full refund until June 17.  This is a great experience for the kids.  The camp webpage, with registration information, is available online at: http://www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp.  I have flyers on the table at chess club, too.


Ice Harbor 2017

You may have seen all the posters and flyers for the 2017 Ice Harbor Scholastic Open.  This is the best scholastic tournament in the midwest (seriously).  We have nearly 200 players from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa come to play.  It is a two day event with sections for all ages and skill levels.  Lots and lots of trophies.  Extra events like blitz and bughouse.  It is a two day event at the Dubuque Grand River Center.  Hotel accommodations are at the adjoining Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park.  Rooms are limited and go fast (overflow is available at the nearby Holiday Inn).  The tournament website is www.icecharborchess.org where tournament and hotel registration information is posted.


Newsletter #11, February 6, 2017

posted Feb 6, 2017, 7:34 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Chess Club Families,


In this Newsletter

  • Today's Chess Lesson

  • Upcoming Chess Tournament

  • Iowa Scholastic Match-Play Tournament Report

  • T-Shirts

  • Prairie Chess Camp


Today's Chess Lesson


In today's lesson, we worked on endgames.  For the older students, we went over two famous techniques applied in rook and pawn endgames (where one player has a rook, pawn, and king and the other has only a rook and pawn).  In this newsletter are links to videos on the lesson and to practice on ChessKid.com.  Please share with your students.


The Lucena Position is a techique to force a win with extra pawn and the Philidor Position (exit to YouTube) is a technique applied to force a draw when down the pawn.  The position of the King determines which technique applies.  If the defending King can get in front of the pawn, he can draw using the Philidor.  If the defending King is cut off, then the Lucena technique can be used to win.



   Lucena Position                                          Philidor Position


Students may practice these positions on ChessKid.com


​​In the King and Pawn endgame lesson, we learned about the concept of "opposition."  When two kings are facing each other, the one who moves first is often at a disadvantage.  The player not on move is then said to have the advantage of "opposition."  Having opposition often leads to a win when it is a King and Pawn versus a lone King.  If you do not have the opposition, then it is often only a draw. (Exit to YouTube Video.) We practice opposition with the position below.

Students can practice this position on ChessKid.Com

https://www.chesskid.com/computer/play/winning-with-an-extra-pawn



Upcoming Chess Tournaments:

2017 Iowa Girls Championship:

This coming Saturday (2/11) is the Iowa Girls State Champion ​ in Wellsburg, Iowa (just west of Waterloo)​..  I will be directing​ the event​ and my daughter ​, Regan,​  will be playing.  We have some amazing young talented female chess players ​ at Prairie..  I hope Prairie is well represented!​

Click here for tournament and registration information.


Prairie Chess Series #2: ​

In two weeks (2/18) we host the second installment of the Prairie Chess Series, back at the Prairie Point cafeteria (Number 3 is March 11).  You may play in Tournament #2 regardless of whether you played in Tournament #1.  We had 25 Prairie Chess Club players compete in Tournament #1, January 7.  We do have medals for all 1st time tournament players!

 Click here for tournament and registration information.


Iowa Scholastic Match-Play Championships

​Congratulations to our Prairie Team Championship winners.  Last Saturday, 20 Prairie Chess Students competed in the 2017 Scholastic Match Play Team Championships.  They all did great.  Here is a quick summary of how they did.


  • K-9 Open: 3rd Place; AJ Kozich, Eli Copeland, Cameron Gilbertson, and Austin Groff

  • K-6 Open: 3rd Place: Ben Kleiman, Audrey Sellon, Mason Kimm, Angell Ortega

  • K-6 Reserve: 1st Place: Catherine Yang, Connor Groff, Elliott Bourgeous, Laiken Geary

  • K-6 Reserve: 2nd Place: Ethan Strecker, Colin Sellner, Damon Kelso, Kyle Sellner

  • K-6 Reserve: 5th Place: Maya Kelso-Bailey, Melanie Buresh, Sasha Postnikov, Emily Kleiman


Here is a link to a photo album from the event.  You can add pictures if you would like to share


https://goo.gl/photos/ePysrFAHByxDc9wh7


T-Shirts

I will place our second and final order for T-Shirts on Friday.  There is still time to place your order.  Go to www.chessiniowa.org/prairiechessclub to fill out the online form.  You may pay via PayPal or by check.


Prairie Chess Camp

Registration for the Prairie Chess Camp opened this week.  Go to www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp to fill out the online registration form.  In three days, we have already received 10 registrations.  We close registration at 64.  So, if you are interested, please register soon, before all spots are taken.  Once you sign up, you may complete your registration with a check or online via PayPal.


Take care,

​Jim​


Newsletter #10, January 30, 2017

posted Jan 30, 2017, 8:28 PM by James Hodina

In this newsletter

Iowa Match Play Scholastic Chess Championship

This Saturday, Prairie Point is hosting the Iowa Match Play Scholastic Chess Championship.  This event is played like a tennis match where we place our four players against another school’s four players and whichever team wins the most games wins the match.  This is different than everyone playing individually and taking the four best scores at the end and adding them up.  It really is a unique and fun experience for the kids.  They really seem to enjoy the head to head match ups and rooting for their teammates.


The match play format does also come with the challenge of assembling exact teams of 4 players each.  So, if you are interested in playing, please let me know so I can group everyone into teams.  I would like to know by Wednesday so that I can figure something out if we are a little short to fill out a team.


We will have multiple teams playing in one of three sections (a section is a “tournament within a tournament”).  We have a team of Prairie Point students playing in the Junior High section.  Our four highest rated players at Creek will form a team in Elementary Open section.  We will then have at least one team and hopefully two competing in the Elementary Reserve section in elementary school, which does not allow players with a US Chess Federation rating over 600 to enter (this is most of us). This would make a friendly section for younger or less experienced players.


The tournament is in the Prairie Point Cafeteria.  Please arrive around 9:30 am to check in. We should be done around 4 pm with trophies soon afterward. We will play four or five games depending on the section the kids are in.  We will have concessions including food for lunch.  If you would like to help with concessions (it doesn’t need to be the entire day) please let me know.



Junior High School

Grades K-6 Open

Grades K-6 Reserve (U600)

  1. AJ Kozich

  2. Eli Copeland

  3. Cameron Gilbertson

  4. Austin Groff

  1. Ben Kleiman

  2. Audrey Sellon

  3. Mason Porter

  4. Angell Ortega

  1. Connor Groff

  2. Laiken Geary

  3. Ethan Strecker

  4. ???


  1. ???

  2. ???

  3. ???

  4. ???



Today’s Lesson

Today we worked on some of the more difficult checkmate skills.  For the Creek and Point students we practiced the technique of checkmating with a King + 2 Bishops versus a King.  Those who could master that skill then attempting checkmating with a King + Bishop + Knight versus a King (the hardest).  Students again paired up and worked together to play the instructors and demonstrate this skill.


For our K-4 students we learned to checkmate with a King + Rook versus a King.  Here we logged on to our ChessKid.com account.  Students completed the video lesson King + Rook Checkmate.  We then queued up the ChessKid.com King + Rook workout and practiced against the computer.  High school assistants and I came around and helped students along the way.  We wrapped up with a review of the skill before shutting down the PC’s and going to the cafeteria for snacks and free play.


Students can practice these endgames on ChessKid.com against the computer.



Need more instruction.  Watch these videos to see how its done!


Last Call for T-Shirt Orders


T-Shirt Image.PNG

We placed our first T-Shirt order on Friday.  We will place one more order next Monday.  Both Youth and Adult sizes are available.  All shirts are $6.25 with the exception of 2XL and 3XL, which are $7.25 and $8.25 respectively. To place your t-shirt order, go to our website at www.chessiniowa.org/prairiechessclub.


You may place your order and pay through the PayPal / Credit Card option or you may complete the online form and send a check to chess club or by mail to me at 3411 Blue Pointe Ct. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.  Thank you Parrish Copeland for this great design!


Newsletter #9, January 24, 2017

posted Jan 24, 2017, 8:06 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Chess Families,


In this newsletter:

  • Chess Tournaments for February

  • T-Shirt Order

  • Monday Chess Club Lesson

  • Prairie Chess Camp Registration Now Open


Chess Tournaments for February

We have a break this Saturday but then start up February 4th with Iowa Match Play Team Championship.  


February 4th: Iowa Match Play Tournament, Prairie Point Middle School:  This event is structured different than most.  We play in teams of four in head-to-head competition.  This is much like a tennis match. There will be two sections at the event, Reserve and Championship, with trophies in both sections.  Since I have to form our four player teams, PLEASE let me know if your are interested.  I will group players based on past performance in chess tournament including our own club.


February 11th: Iowa Girls Chess Championship: Yes, this event is just for our girl chess players!  It is hosted at the Wellsburg Public Library Conference Room, 411 N Adams St, Wellsburg, IA 50680.  Wellsburg is just west of Waterloo off highway 20.  We have a nice variety of trophies for all experience levels.  The winner, though, gets to represent Iowa at the Iowa Girls National Championship.


February 18th: Prairie Chess Series, Tournament #2:  This is the second of three tournaments in the Prairie Chess Series.  You probably know the details but one thing to clarify is that you can play in Tournament #2 even if you didn’t play in Tournament #3.


February 25th:  11th Annual Weber-Borlaug Chess Tournament, 1000 Kennedy Parkway, Coralville, IA 52241:  This is a FREE scholastic event is only for K-6 players.  Although free, there are great individual and team trophies!


T-Shirt Order


T-Shirt Image.PNG

We will be placing our first T-Shirt order on Friday.    Both Youth and Adult sizes are available.  All shirts are $6.25 with the exception of 2XL and 3XL, which are $7.25 and $8.25 respectively. To place your t-shirt order, go to our website at www.chessiniowa.org/prairiechessclub.


You may place your order and pay through the PayPal / Credit Card option or you may complete the online form and send a check to chess club or by mail to me at 3411 Blue Pointe Ct. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.  Thank you Parrish Copeland for this great design!


Monday's ​Chess Club Lesson​

For Prairie Creek and Point students, we did something new this Monday  I played simultaneous games of two players teams.  We started from a position that was thematic from our lesson last week on promoting a passed pawn into a queen.  It was a winning position for the students but they had to apply our student.  The students really enjoyed working together to beat me in the game.


For the Elementary Students, we returned to the computer lab and logged into our ChessKid.com accounts.  The last few students that were not with us either last week or two weeks ago got set up as well.  Everyone should have an ID now.  If you’re having trouble, let me know and  will set you up with a new account.


Last week we learned to use the “computer workout” learning tool (https://www.chesskid.com/computer/).  This week we learned the “lessons” learning tool and set a challenge on who could “level up” by chess club next week.  Our chess club tracks student achievement on our leaderboard at https://www.chesskid.com/groups/leaderboard.html?id=10837.  We will recognize students on Monday who have made progress on the lesson learning exercises.


Prairie Chess Camp, July 17-21, 2017, Prairie Point Middle School

Dates are set for the Prairie Chess Camp. We are now taking online registration at www.chessiniowa.org/chesscamp. Camp hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm with 30 minute early drop off and late pickup. Our Chess Master Instructors Alex Betaneli, Erik Santarius, and Dan Brashaw will be returning.  Registration is limited to 64 students currently in 1st through 11th grades. Many of you have participated in the past.  For those not familiar, I will provide more details in future emails. We do sell out and so early registration is encouraged.  In the meantime, checkout the camp webpage.


Newsletter #8, January 17, 2017

posted Jan 17, 2017, 8:32 PM by James Hodina

Dear Prairie Chess Families,


Iowa Elementary Team Championship Results

Congratulations to our Prairie Creek Students who competed in the Iowa K-6 Chess Championship last Saturday.  Our team of six players made the trip and were rewarded with a third place finish.  This equals our best performance in ten years of competing in this event and improves upon our fourth place performance last year.


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Left to right: Elliott Bourgous, Mason Porter, Angell Ortega, Ben Kleiman, Audrey Sellon, Connor Groff, and Jim Hodina










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T-Shirt Order

Parrish Copeland, one of our many amazing Prairie Chess Club Parents, has put together a T-Shirt design for our chess club.  It is fabulous and quite different from our past chess club designs.   Both Youth and Adult sizes are available.  All shirts are $6.25 with the exception of 2XL and 3XL, which are $7.25 and $8.25 respectively.

To place your t-shirt order, go to our website at www.chessiniowa.org/prairiechessclub You may place your order and pay through the PayPal / Credit Card option or you may complete the online form and send a check to chess club or by mail to me at 3411 Blue Pointe Ct. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404


Today's ​Chess Club Lesson​

For Prairie Creek and Point students, we discussed the value of a "passed pawn."  A passed pawn is a pawn that has no other pawns blocking its path to the bank rank and promoting to a queen.  I demonstrated this with a game that I had actually played recently.  We then had some puzzle handout to work on with the students.  


For the Elementary Students, we returned to the computer lab and logged into our ChessKid.com accounts.  A few students were not with us last week and so they got set up as well.  We used the “computer workout” learning tool (https://www.chesskid.com/computer/) to practice how to checkmate.  Then we learned how to challenge other Prairie Chess Club members online.  Our Prairie Chess Kids have an online club on ChessKid.com at https://www.chesskid.com/clubhome/prairie-chess-club.  I encouraged our students to use their accounts this month to complete more computer workouts and puzzles.  Our chess club tracks student achievement on our leaderboard at https://www.chesskid.com/groups/leaderboard.html?id=10837.  We will recognize students on Monday who have made progress on these two learning exercises.


Otherwise, things seem to be continuing to go well.  We are still fine on snacks for a few more weeks.  Elementary students continue to do well walking from the bus loading area to Creek. As always, please let me know if you have questions.




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