Proposal for a “chess book” study group

For the MetroWest Chess Club

Howard Goldowsky, September 9, 2002

Proposed Program:

·        The Title of the program shall be: The MCC Chess School

·        The program is an intermediate to advanced study group class using a prepared syllabus and textbook.  Students will interact and discuss with other students the assigned material for each session.

·        The class will meet on Thursday nights, one night per month. 

·        Doors open at 6:30pm with an end time of 10:30pm.

Objectives:

·        To have students increase their practical technique in a given area of chess.

·        To assist Class A and Class B (and lower) players to Expert or Master level through their own work and mutual discussion using the syllabus as a guide.

·        To provide a relaxed environment for participants with study being their primary purpose of coming.

·        To provide an additional benefit of club membership.  Only members may participate.

·        One course every twelve months.  The first course will be an endgame survey course.

Outline of Plan:

Selecting Thursdays to hold the class will remove it from the commotion of the club’s regular activities on Tuesday nights.  This supports the objective of providing a relaxed environment. 

The first year’s course would be titled “Endgame Lab”. A proposed syllabus has been written based on the textbook Fundamental Chess Endgames, by Muller and Lemprecht.  The selection of a book for the course each year necessitates the selection of a good practical book with examples.

No instructors are necessary.  Expert or master level players will not be required to assist in working through the syllabus and textbook.

Students will be required to read through that month’s material at home before the next class.  In class, students will work in teams to go over that month’s material.

In order for the class session to be as productive as possible, it needs to be treated as a lab.  Students study that month’s material at home, then come to class to work out practical examples, discuss questions with each other, and to practice that months material.

Students may join the course at any point as long as they do that months reading, and as long as they feel comfortable with the prerequisites for each type of endgame we study.  For example, when the unit on K+N+P vs. K+N+P endgames is covered, the prerequisite for this type of endgame is K+P vs. K+P.  One aspect of a K+N+P endgame is knowing when and when not to trade off the knights into a favorable pawn endgame. A beginner without at least a little experience in K+P endgames would not be recommended to join in the middle of the year.

Possible class activities include “team games” using a demo board, having small team games with groups of four using a regular board, or setting up an instructional position from the text (or supplementary material), and talking through the moves of the game – either using the analysis in the text, or playing a new game, etc… in a relaxed non-rushed atmosphere. There will be no competition; just discussion and interaction.

Resources:

No financial support is required from the club.

Access to the club on the designated Thursday night for each month’s class is required.  As the primary organizer for the class, I am committing to attend every class.  One additional person with access to the facility needs to participate as a backup to me in the event that I cannot make it or am late.

Students are required to purchase the textbook at their own expense.

Other:

We may attempt to collect money for the books from those who are participating so that we may order the books in bulk to save on shipping costs and to relieve players of the task of purchasing the book themselves.

Non-participating club members will be allowed to use the facility to play casual games provided they do not place any burden on or are a distraction to the Class.  There will be no support to have rated games.

A small fee could be charged to purchase dinner (pizza, Chinese) for the participants to make life less hectic. Dinner isn’t practical in Tuesday’s environment, but in this environment it could be.

The class does not need to align to any particular month.  The first class will be held after a promotional period and purchasing of textbooks has been completed and sufficient time for the first lesson to be done has passed

Risks:

In order to make the program successful, the participants need to be extremely committed. The material for the course should begin at a level that lower rated players can begin at. Our first year’s selection of the endgame is well suited for this.