Day 4 Summary at the Prairie Chess Camp

Post date: Jul 20, 2017 11:51:31 PM

Dear Prairie Chess Camp Families,

This is a reminder that I will not be at the camp on Friday until later in the afternoon. Eric Vigil is stepping in for me on Friday. If, on Friday, you need to contact the camp, you may reach Eric at 319-621-3116.

Each of our amazing instructors bring 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 both rainy and hot. We did use our small gym for recesses in the morning (because of the rain) and afternoon (because of the heat), but did sneak in an outdoor recess at lunch. For lunch, we had Culver’s hamburgers, chicken tenders, grilled cheese sandwiches, or corn dogs. French fries and a side salad were available, too. Snacks included Chex Mix, Go-Gurt, popcorn, and fruit. Alex and Erik kept up their tradition of bringing cake one day to camp (we have a little left over, so there will some for tomorrow, too :-).

We concluded our team match today by playing two more one-hour games in the afternoon. The results are posted on the camp webpage.

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 scorebooks that they recorded their games in, 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:

Take care,