Newsletter #09

Post date: Jan 17, 2018 4:46:31 AM

Dear Prairie Chess Families,

Lots of excitement today at chess club as we celebrated the success of our Prairie Chess Club at the Iowa Scholastic Team Championships on Saturday. I do have trophies ordered for all participants and received notification that they have shipped. So I am hopeful they will be her by club on Monday.

Upcoming Chess Tournaments

We have many more opportunities at upcoming chess tournaments. Fortunately for us there are several upcoming tournaments in the Cedar Rapids / Iowa City Area. Details are online at with online registration at

    • January 20, Iowa High School and K-8 Championships (Winner goes to Nationals), Iowa City
    • January 27, Prairie Winter Classic, Prairie Point
    • February 24, Iowa Scholastic Match Play Championship (think “tennis match”), just moved from Iowa City to Prairie Point!
    • March 18, Iowa Class Championships (all ages) Cedar Rapids
    • April 14, Iowa K-12 Open and K-9, K-6, & K-3 Sectionals

Chess Club Lesson

So, today, we logged onto the internet to explore our options for chess learning and playing websites. This is our main website for our students. Through a generation donation from the Prairie Chess Foundation, we are able to purchase 1-year memberships for every student. We took our K-4 students into the Creek computer lab and logged in with our accounts. I realize being a Tuesday club, not everyone was able to be there today. Each player has a username and password for their personal account. We will learn how to use our accounts more in future weeks. But first things first. We will have another lab next Monday, but I can send a username and password beforehand….just reply with an email! Students can play online, watch videos, do puzzles, and play the computer. This is the parent site to ChessKid. ChessKid has content that is appropriate to the skill level of all of our chess players. But the ChessKid delivery can be “cartoonish” at times and is not always as appealing to the older kids. After all, a learning system is only good if the student uses it. Unlike, though, we cannot afford to purchase memberships for our students. You can sign up for a free account, which has limited features. There are gold, platinum, and diamond memberships for a fee that opens up all the learning tools including lessons, computer workouts, videos, articles, and of course, online play. Nevertheless, I find it a great resource and have a diamond memberships and are two more websites with some of the features at The plus side is that there is more stuff with a free account. So, if you don’t mind bouncing around, these are good sites to have in your chess toolbox. All of these sites track your progress and adjust the level of difficulty accordingly. So, sticking with one site does add value in this respect.

YouTube. There are some great chess lessons on YouTube. But there is also quite a bit of junk, too. I have three recommendations for chess channels on YouTube.

    • St. Louis Chess Club: Hands down, this is an awesome site and can provide all the video content you need. The St. Louis Chess Club posts Grandmaster lectures routinely. The STL Chess Center was founded by Rex Sinquefield, a philanthropist. One of the key missions of the Center is to promote and grow scholastic chess programs and it shows in the quality of these videos. The only drawback for our younger kids is that the videos are about 40 minutes.
    • PowerPlayChess: Narrated by GM Daniel King, his videos are high quality. He is an energetic speaker that captures your attention. He often broadcasts on current chess tournaments. His videos are typically 20 minutes
    • The Chess Website: As indicated, there is a companion website to this YouTube channel. This channel has lots of good videos on chess openings and current events. Most videos are about 15 minutes in length.

That’s it for Newsletter #9. We will see everyone back on MONDAY!

Take care,