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Playing in a ChessKid Fast Chess Tournament

We regularly schedule Fast Chess tournaments on ChessKid.com to give students in our clubs the opportunity to play each other online. They get to play multiple games against kids from all over NC, and, since it is Fast Chess, the whole tournament usually lasts about an hour.

To reduce the chance of technical problems, clear your browser cache and restart your browser before playing in a Fast Chess tournament. Play in a spot where you have a good wi-fi signal. ChessKid also recommends using a computer rather than a tablet or phone for playing Fast Chess. Fast Chess works best using Chrome or Firefox. Here are more Fast Chess tournament tips from ChessKid.

To play in these tournaments, log in to ChessKid using a browser (not the app) 5 to 10 minutes early. We schedule our tournaments to begin 5 minutes after the top of the hour. For example, for a 9 am tournament, you can join at 8:50 am, and the first games will start at 9:05 am. You will not be able to join after the games start. You will get to play 3 to 5 games, and each game will usually last up to 10 minutes, so you could get to play up to 5 games in one hour! If one of your games finishes early, don’t leave the tournament. Watch some of the other games instead. Also try to stay where you have a good internet connection (so you don’t get disconnected during a game). Have fun!

Here are more detailed instructions. About an hour or so before a tournament starts you should see the upcoming Fast Chess tournament in the lower left corner of you screen.

“Fast Chess Tournaments” in the lower left corner

To get to a Fast Chess tournament, you can click on “Fast Chess Tournaments” in the lower left corner, or you can click on “Play vs. Kid” near the top of the screen.

You will see the names of upcoming Fast Chess tournaments on the right side of the next screen. Click on the name of the tournament you want, and then click the orange “Join” button.

Once you join the tournament, you need to stay in the tournament until it starts.

Names of upcoming Fast Chess tournaments in the upper right corner

If an odd number of children joins a tournament, then one student will get a bye each round. They will get 1 point for that round like they would when they win a game. If you get a bye, or if you finish a game early, you can watch other games that are in progress by clicking on the binocular icon next to a game.

Please try to avoid switching to another program or leaving the room while you are waiting for the next round as you could easily miss your game. Having a book to read during this time would be a good idea.

If you get disconnected from a tournament, please try to rejoin. If you can rejoin before the current round ends, the ChessKid server will include you in the next round. If you miss two rounds, the server will remove you from the tournament.

Most of the tournaments we schedule use the “5 min + 5 sec” time control, which means you will get 5 minutes for all of your moves plus 5 seconds will be added to your clock for each move. The extra 5 seconds especially helps if you run low on time as you will still have 5 seconds for each turn. We also schedule some tournaments with the “10 min” time control, which gives you 10 minutes for all your moves but does not add incremental time each turn. These games give you more time to think and can last up to 20 minutes, so we limit these tournaments to 3 rounds so they will still last about an hour.

After the tournament is over, you can review your games by clicking on “Play” and then looking at your “Recent Games”. Click on the result (won, draw, or lost) of the game you want to see.

You can also compare your statistics with those of other students in your club or group by clicking “Play,” then “Leaderboard,” and then selecting your club or group. You can see how your Fast Chess rating, number of wins, and total number of games compare with your friends.

Please note that Fast Chess tournaments are only open to children. Parents, teachers, and coaches cannot join them. Outside of these tournaments, children can play Fast Chess with an adult, but they must challenge the adult. An adult cannot challenge a child to a Fast Chess game.

Please let me know if you have other questions, and I will update this blog post.

Libraries Up Their Game By Adding Chess

It’s no secret that libraries have always been wonderful gathering places for folks of all ages within their communities. While everyone expects that they’ll offer not only the best books and, occasionally, even a few lectures or classes, did you know that some also host “Gaming Day” programs?  Many of the rural libraries that we’ve reached out to have already set aside a specific time of the week to provide board games for their patrons in order to foster a little friendly competition among both old and young, alike.  Now, they’re upping the ante by adding chess to the mix.

While plenty of games offer a brain boost, chess is different.  It’s an “activity that has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence, and academic performance as well as being fun,” writes a 32-year veteran elementary school teacher and librarian in rural N.C.  “Playing chess gives your brain a workout and develops beneficial skills, such as problem solving, strategic thinking, and concentration that spill over into other intellectual pursuits,” says a librarian who is constantly on the look-out for personal enrichment activities for members of the community.  Even though some have admitted to being a bit intimidated by the game, they are willing to learn by going through the workbooks we provide in order to instruct their patrons.  After that, they can all continue learning together.

One of the most common reasons these librarians want to start a club is their desire to bring an intergenerational community together. The relationships that are sure to develop between players of different ages will strengthen community ties. While it can be a challenge to find activities that appeal to such a broad age range, chess can close that gap. It’s a game for the ages, because it’s a game for all ages. A few of the librarians who reached out to us have plans to contact their local high school chess clubs for ideas, instruction, and inspiration, while others will leverage the partnerships they have with the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and their local homeschool association.  As one woman wrote, “Libraries are well positioned to promote the Game Changer Program.” 

Thank you for helping us support 17 chess clubs at NC schools and libraries

Thank you for telling your principals, PTA presidents, teachers, and friends about our Game Changer grant program to help NC schools and libraries start chess clubs. Thank you also for contributing to our 501(c)(3) and playing in our fund-raising tournaments.

With your help, as of November 29, 2019, we are now supporting 17 NC schools and libraries spread across 13 cities in 8 counties and are making good progress towards our goal of helping 100 NC schools start chess clubs.

This includes 4 elementary schools (K-5), 2 middle schools (grades 6-8), 2 high schools (grades 9-12), 4 K-8 schools, 3 K-12 schools, 1 grade 6-12 school (which serves students from 6 counties), and 1 library (which serves an adjacent high school). You can see photos of many of these schools on facebook.com/IndermaurChessFoundation and twitter.com/IndermaurChess.

If you would like to start a chess club or class at your school, please apply for one of our Game Changer grants.

Thank you, again, for your support and for spreading the word about our program!

Scholastic tournaments on school holidays

Holidays and breaks from school are a great time to hold scholastic tournaments since so many students are available. 34 students and 3 parents had fun playing in our Game Changer tournament today at the Triangle Chess Center while Wake, Durham, and Orange County schools were out.

You can give even more students a chance to play by holding a tournament at school on the afternoon of an early release day or on a teacher workday. For example, we had 122 students play in a tournament on an early release day before winter break in 2017. These events are convenient for parents, too.

Consider holding one at your school!

Start an elementary school chess club

Are you a parent or teacher looking to start an elementary school chess club? Here are some good first steps:

1) Register your club. Follow your school’s process for registering your club and getting support from your PTA. This will help you reserve space to meet, promote your club in the school/PTA newsletter, and potentially get funding to buy some chess sets. Apply for our Game Changer Program to get 5 chess sets, and see our previous post for recommendations on where to buy more.

Continue reading “Start an elementary school chess club”

Game Changer Program now provides chess sets to help NC schools start new chess clubs

We are excited to announce that the Indermaur Chess Foundation has enhanced the Game Changer Program to provide 5 chess sets along with instructional resources and support to each accepted school. Our goal is to help 100 North Carolina schools start new chess clubs!

NC public or charter schools starting new chess programs are eligible to apply. Accepted schools will receive:

  • 5 chess sets each with a 20-inch vinyl board and a set of chess pieces (We currently have colorful, weighted pieces. Please let us know your school colors so we can try to match them.)
  • Chess-Steps Learning Chess instructor manual
  • a Chess-Steps Learning Chess student workbook (and discounts on additional workbooks)
  • help setting up ChessKid accounts for their club
  • online support for their chess program coordinator
  • help arranging online or over-the-board matches with other schools in this Program

Now, it’s your move!

Apply now to bring the benefits of chess to your school.

If you would like to help more schools start chess clubs, please donate to support this Program.

Bringing Moms to the Boards

It’s no secret that chess moms deserve a medal; after all, they lend steady support to their kid’s chess-playing efforts in many ways, not the least of which is by logging weekend hours perched on uncomfortable chairs in hotel lobbies, school cafeterias, or chess centers while their future grandmasters hone their skills over the board. But on October 9th, 18 chess moms flipped the switch and played for trophies when they chose to showcase their own (mostly newly acquired) chess skills at the first ever “Chess Moms Play Chess, Too” tournament held at Hunter Elementary School in Raleigh, NC and organized by my husband, Mark, and me. Read more about our event in this article I wrote for US Chess: Chess Moms Play Chess, Too

January 3 Tournament and Workshop

Does your child want to play more chess during winter break?

Register them for our Friday, January 3rd tournament! They will get more practice before the Triangle and NC Championships, and you will also help NC schools start chess clubs since the proceeds from this event will help support our Game Changer Program. You can play, too, since it is a “parents play free” event. We have added a quick-rated only section for higher rated players, so they can participate without affecting their regular USCF rating.

Interested in starting a chess club at your child’s school?

Please attend our free workshop which will be at noon immediately following the tournament. Experienced chess club organizers will answer your questions. We will also explain our Game Changer Program.

Please see our flyer and registration page for more information.

Game Changer Program to help NC schools start new chess clubs

We are excited to announce that the Indermaur Chess Foundation will help up to 100 North Carolina schools start new chess clubs with our new Game Changer Program!

NC public or charter schools starting new chess programs are eligible to apply. Accepted schools will receive:

  • a Chess-Steps Learning Chess instructor manual
  • a Chess-Steps Learning Chess student workbook (and discounts on additional workbooks)
  • help setting up ChessKid accounts for their club
  • online support for their chess program coordinator
  • help arranging online or over-the-board matches with other schools in this Program

To apply for our Game Changer Program, please complete this application.

Are you interested in starting a chess club at your school?

Our goal is to provide you the resources and support so that you feel comfortable doing exactly that! Soccer leagues across NC help thousands of parents coach recreational soccer teams even if they have no previous experience teaching soccer. Through this Game Changer Program we will provide you similar help so you can start and successfully run a chess club at your school.

Resources we selected for you:

We selected the resources for this Program after testing instructional materials with elementary school, middle school, and home school chess programs led by school teachers, parents, and older student volunteers.

Learning Chess: Step 1 Manual and Workbook: the Chess Step method was originally developed in the Netherlands to teach children to play chess. It quickly spread across Europe and is now available worldwide. Each of the six steps in the method has a workbook with exercises and summaries for the student and an accompanying manual for the trainer. The manuals contain complete scripted lessons for the teacher as well as aids to address typical challenges children face at each stage of learning. The books are written so that trainers do not need extensive chess knowledge. Step 1 explains all the rules of chess and helps students develop the basic skills needed to play chess (from beginner up to a USCF rating of 800).

ChessKid.com: ChessKid is a fun, safe website and app for children to learn and practice chess. The new ChessKid Classroom Lesson Planner guides teachers and students through the most important 30 lessons that every new chess player needs to learn. We found that students really enjoyed the video lessons. Beginners liked playing against the robot while more experienced students liked playing against other students and solving puzzles. Students who practiced with ChessKid at home improved more rapidly.

Now, it’s your move!

Apply now to bring the benefits of chess to your school.

If you would like to help more schools start chess clubs, please donate to support this Program.