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School Spotlight: Charlotte Lab School

Young Master Chess holds chess clubs and chess instruction at elementary schools all over the area. This week's school spotlight is on Charlotte Lab School - in uptown Charlotte!

Charlotte Lab School students are lucky to have both chess instruction during the school day, as well as an afterschool club. Lab was the first school to start the chess club back up this school year, so they've been meeting for more than a month already. This means the advanced students are already getting ready to complete their first tournament cycle of the year, and the beginning students are already several weeks into instruction.

The beginning group was led by National Master Shawn Pealer and started this week's club with a few warm-up puzzles.

The group has been learning basic concepts for the past few weeks, and today's lesson began with a new activity: group computer drills! The students worked together to figure out how to beat the computer using two rooks vs. king and another win using a queen and king vs. king. These drills are available to all YMC students using their ChessKid accounts! Look for the "Computer Workout" section and you can practice anytime or anywhere -

After the group computer activity, they broke into individual over-the-board games - paired up based on the previous club games' results.

Down the hall in the Spanish classroom, the advanced group was led by National Master Chris Mabe. This group is in the middle of a fierce 5 week tournament cycle competition! Each week, they play another tournament game, rewarded at the end of the cycle with some fun variant games the following week. The goal is to alternate quality, focused tournament games followed by some chess fun!

Today's group lesson was about opposite side castling. What happens when one side attacks the king's castle with his or her pawns? The group looked at a game example together - by none other than Coach Chris Mabe himself! (It had a cool opening name too..."the Sicilian dragon." One side castled on the queenside (white) and the other castled on the kingside (black), and yes, it looked like the dragon was breathing fire diagonally down the board!

A quick check of the ChessKid Puzzles leaderboard revealed that the student in the lead attempted 142 puzzles the previous week! It's nice seeing some friendly ChessKid leaderboard competition. All of the students have access to the Charlotte Lab School Club leaderboard, and can see who's done the most activities on the site each week.

Club activity then turned to this week's tournament games. Game pairings were read out, boards & clocks came out and the piece action started. This was the last week of the first tournament cycle - so the pressure was on! The leader had 4 wins so far...
Chess clocks and notation sheets are the norm for the advanced group! Game notation is required for tournament games, and the club has practice clocks for the entire group to use, so everyone gets used to the idea of playing with a clock and writing down moves before they're played.


We'll see everyone in chess club next week! Keep up the good work!