Am I ready to play in a chess tournament?
If you know how to play a legal game of chess, you can try a chess tournament. Ask your coach which event would be best suited for your level.
What if I lose?
The great thing about chess tournaments is that you don't get eliminated. Just bow or shake hands, say good game, and you'll get another partner next round.
What's a rating?
That's a number your receive when you get a USCF membership and play in rated tournaments. It will change A LOT so don't get too attached to it, or start judging people because of it.
What's the best way to get better at chess?
Play a lot of serious games (where you try), then go over them (preferably with a coach)!
What's your number one tip for me?
Always ask yourself, "Is it hanging or protected?" You might capture more pieces that way, and save more of your own!
How old does my child need to be?
As long as your child knows what straight lines are, and that you have to take turns, s/he is ready to learn the basics. We teach children ages 4 and up. Even two-year-olds can name pieces and become familiar with the board.
What should I expect for my child/me at a tournament?
Bring a book, a snack, and maybe a folding chair! Most tournaments last the majority of the day. They are non-elimination so your child will play all the games, regardless of result. This means tournaments are excellent practice! Ask your child's coach which event is best for his/her level. Tournaments are a great way to meet new friends, practice both chess and social skills, and learn new tricks.
How much do you charge for private lessons v group lessons?
Should my child have a half hour or hour lesson?
Generally, beginners and under 8-yr-olds I recommend a half-hour, weekly lesson. Stronger players will do better with an hour.
What resources do you recommend?
My book of course! www.myfirstchessbook.com
Also www.chesskid.com is a great website, for which I have written hundreds of articles under "BoundingOwl."
What can I do to get better and support my child?
Ask for homework, play with them maybe 10 minutes a day, take lessons with us!
What books do you recommend we carry in our school library?
Jessica's activity book is designed for kids to learn the basics through intermediate and advanced tactics and strategy. It's great for lunch time, rainy day, or after-school enrichment. www.myfirstchessbook.com
I want our students to have a more structured chess club. Do I need to know how to play to be a chess coordinator or club liaison?
Not at all! Your interest is enough. You can certainly learn along with the kids if you come to the club!
Do you offer workshops?
What is the best room in the school for chess classes/club? Why not the cafeteria?
Chess is a thinking game, and mostly, a quiet game. Cafeterias tend to remind the kids of the opposite...a classroom is best. Smart boards are an asset, but not necessary, as every chess instructor carries a large demonstration board.