Newsletter #16, April 4, 2017

Post date: Apr 21, 2017 4:00:47 AM

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 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 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 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.