« School Spotlight: Myers Park Traditional School | Main | School Spotlight: Sharon Elementary »

School Spotlight: Collinswood Language Academy

Young Master Chess holds chess clubs and chess instruction at elementary schools all over the area. This week's school spotlight is on Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte!

Bright and early on a chilly Wednesday morning, chess club at Collinswood started right away with a warm up game! Kids paired up to get fingers warm, pieces moving and their brains in gear.

Coach Chris Callahan sat in at one board and reviewed an important concept to consider when starting a game: the 3 things you do in the opening! Number 1: Put a pawn in the center. Number 2: Move knights & bishops first. Number 3: Castle! (A special move with the king and the rook to help the king get to a safe place.)

Next up, the focus moved to the smart board, where Coach C was nice enough to accept some ChessKid.com Slow game challenges! That means each player has 7 days to make a move (and that Coach C is going to have a lot of games going at one time!) Thanks Coach C!

This week’s lesson was all about which moves to consider during any game. How do you take a move into consideration? In chess games (like in tactics puzzles), moves are very often one of 2 types: checks & captures! So, always take a look at checks and captures. That doesn't mean PLAY checks & captures – but at least consider them.

The group worked together as a position was placed on the smart board to identify as many checks & captures as they could – the first two things to look at when considering a move.

Finishing up club time was the chance to play over the board chess in optional ladder groups. All chess club members started out the year in one of three animal groups based on grade level & whether they'd been in chess club before: the King Kongs, the Ducks & the Zebras. There was also one group added for special achievements: the Nuclear Pandas! (Nuclear Panda status can be won by beating one of the existing pandas…) And sure enough, this morning saw the crowning of another panda through an exciting game win!

Coach C & Assistant Coach (and Collinswood student) Kevin circulated around to assist with questions and offer move and game play suggestions. Keep up the great chess enthusiasm Collinswood students!