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Conrad/Tasby/Lowe Chess Club Meetings


   Tue - 3:40-5:10 PM - Tasby Middle School Library

   Wed - 4:15-6:15 PM - Conrad High School - Science Lab 2-220

   Thu - 3:40-5:40 PM - Tasby Middle School Library

   Sat - 8:00-4:00 PM - Tournament at Conrad - November 5, 2016


                                   (Sicilian 256-19 Mandatory)

                          1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6

                          5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.O-O O-O


Immediate Priorities - 10/25/2016 - 10/29/2016


1. Correct errors and omissions in our chess club roster. I need grade levels, etc. to enroll tournament participants.


2. Learn the required 8-move Sicilian opening, and play at least three games/week on ChessTempo. The more games you play, the sharper and better you will become at chess.


3. Everyone who wants to remain in chess club must provide his/her chesstempo password to me. Also, it is mandatory to UPLOAD EVERY GAME YOU PLAY ON CHESSTEMPO TO ONEDRIVE. Several members have still not uploaded any games. If you cannot do it yet, get help from a coach. Every time you play online you save the time it would otherwise take to write your moves carefully in AN and then validate them on the computer for upload. You can probably play at least twice as many games in a session than if you play on a 'real' board. If you will be transparent by showing us how you play, we (the coaches and your fellow club members as well) can help you improve your game. If you absolutely have to leave chess club before you can upload your game, do it as soon as you can get to a computer. It will become a quick and simple task to upload a game after you do it a few times.


4. Cell phone use will ABSOLUTELY not be tolerated during chess club meetings. If you need to use your cell phone, please go out into the hall or go home so the rest of us can play chess. Also, please endeavor to stay and play chess until the end of each session, if your schedule permits. Some of you seem so anxious to get out of chess club, it makes me wonder why you are here in the first place. I am trying to make this whole process fun, yet as efficient as possible. We need to maximize the number of games we can play. As in any sport, with chess there is a strong correlation between your performance and the number of games you play.


5. Initiate all ChessTempo challenges as 24-hour games. At this stage it is pointless to create short games that force you to move fast to avoid losing on timeout. Also, nobody should resign a game. Even if you are significantly behind, it is instructive to continue to play and learn how to checkmate (from winning and losing perspectives). You learn a lot about endgame technique by playing all the way to checkmate. And you might find that your opponent may not be proficient with endgame play, allowing you squeak out a draw or even an unexpected win.


I recently emailed a question to Richard, the administrator, developer, and owner of chesstempo.com. His website has approximately 500,000 visitors per month. He responded with some useful advice, as follows:


My Question: Richard, I intend to introduce my newer students to your Standard Tactics problems, and to suggest that they should set a goal to solve at least two problems CORRECTLY each day (or at least ten per week). Some of them may not be appropriately disciplined to do so. But based on my experience, a few will likely exceed that goal and will become the better players in the club. Does such a goal seem reasonable for tactical development (for 8 to 18-year-old students)?


His Answer (paraphrased): Yes, I think that is a good target. But are they also doing some Blitz problems for pattern recognition? Standard Tactics problems are good for calculation practice, an important part of the game, but Blitz problems allow the students to see a larger number of patterns in a given time period. The trick with Standard Tactics problems - especially with younger children - is to make sure they are VERY sure of their answer before moving. Young solvers tend to move before considering all opponent moves, and working like that will hurt anyone's progress.


6. Based on my email discussion with Richard, I have concluded that we need to take advantage of both types of ChessTempo problems: Standard Tactics problems and Blitz problems. Every serious club member's goal should be to solve at least one ChessTempo Standard Tactics problem CORRECTLY every day (5/week), and to CORRECTLY solve at least two ChessTempo Blitz problems per day (10/week). Last year we proved that tactical study definitely improves the games of diligent students. Three Tasby students worked a total of more than 9800 problems last year. That combined effort helped us win six team trophies and at least three individual trophies in six tournaments. If you were on your school basketball team or any other sport team, you would be required to put forth a lot of extraordinary effort to be able to stay on the team. Chess is no different; your team mates rightfully expect you to do your absolute best to make chess a successful team effort. Most tournaments have limited enrollment. Your performance records will be evaluated to determine who qualifies to participate in those tournaments.


How To Upload Online ChessTempo Games to Onedrive (using Firefox):


Using Firefox, open and sign into two tabs: chesstempo.com and onedrive.com. In ChessTempo click > Chess Database > My Chess Games.


In the View Column, click the right hand icon [View game] for your selected game.


Below the AN window, click the second icon [Download game PGN].


Then click [OK] in the pop-up window.


Click the blue down-arrow and click [Show all downloads] to create a small LIBRARY window that shows your selected PGN file at the top of the list.


Now click the tab to show your ONEDRIVE window.


If your file name doesn't include your name and your opponent's name, something is wrong, and you need to get a coach to help you remedy the problem. But if the PGN file name looks appropriate (like ct-ct.jerry-ct.alexis.h-1475019476.pgn) click and drag the desired file from the LIBRARY window to your ONEDRIVE window.


Release the mouse button after you drag the PGN file to ONEDRIVE and the file will upload in a few seconds. You may have to refresh the ONEDRIVE screen to see the file you have uploaded.


Finally, rename the file by right clicking it and placing your cursor at the beginning of the file name. Put your name at the beginning of the file name (so it looks something like jerry-ct-ct.jerry-ct.alexis.h-1475019476.pgn). Then I will know who sent it to OneDrive. Your opponent should also upload the game file from his computer, with his/her name similarly appended to the front of the PGN filename.


ChessTempo Standard Tactics Problems


We will use ChessTempo extensively. Primarily, we will be playing a lot of games against each other to improve our playing skills, but ChessTempo also has a database of more than 30,000 graded Standard Tactics problems that teach you how to figure out best chess moves. As you work these Standard Tactics problems, ChessTempo adjusts your problem difficulty to match your actual chess proficiency. Then as you improve, it gradually increases the difficulty of the problems that it challenges you with. You will need to work slowly and carefully enough to get 70-80 percent of your assigned problems correct. Wild guesses won't work because wrong answers hurt your rating 3-4 times as much as right answers help your rating. If you work fast and carelessly, your rating will trend negative instead of positive. I have assembled a database of sample ChessTempo problems (chesstempo.pgn) that we have encounteredseen in the past, and I will discuss a few of them today to give you an idea how to utilize ChessTempo efficiently.


Your basic free subscription to ChessTempo allows you to solve an unlimited number of Standard Tactics problems to measure and gradually improve your rating. To attain a standard tactics rating above 1200, you may have to work several problems per week for a while. Vung has a current rating around 1100. Per, who now attends another school, has a rating above 1200. My rating is in around 1300. Mohammad F has a rating above 1400. As the school year progresses, we will watch to see how our Standard Tactics ratings change with practice, and we will also see how well our actual performance at tournaments and within the chess club compares with these ratings.




SBRanch.org is a resource website available to the general public. However, it is maintained primarily for use by the Conrad, Lowe, and Tasby academic chess clubs in Dallas, Texas.


Our primary Chess Club objective is to learn to play excellent chess and to participate competitively in regular local district-wide chess tournaments on team and individual levels. Our immediate goals include playing and uploading (to our OneDrive depository)at least three games each week against other Chess Club members For those games, we currently agree to use a standardized 8-move Sicilian Najdorf Opening (MCO-14 p. 256, col. 19). This patticular opening sequence helps us obtain a solid mid-game entry from which we can develop our tactical skills.


All Chess Club members enjoy free access to chesstempo.com, a website where we can play against each other online and where we also have the opportunity to work on Standard Tactics problems that are designed to develop our chess playing skills. Each member is encouraged to solve at least ten Standard Tactics problems correctly per week.


Students who are unwilling to commit to diligent work to improve their playing skills may become ineligible to compete at tournaments or may even be dismissed from the club at the discretion of the Chess Coaches and Faculty Staff. There is no time for idle conversation or any other activity during any club session. Cell phone use for any non-chess-related purpose during Chess Club is prohibited. Computer use for anything other than supervised chess activity is also prohibited.


In many respects, Chess Club is similar to a college-level academic course. Material must be learned quickly: new words, new rules, practically a new language. Chess helps us to learn to think more quickly and clearly. Studies have shown that chess players tend to maintain better grades than the general student population. It is arguable whether chess makes better students or if it is simply that better students migrate into chess. Both factors probably interplay. But it has been shown conclusively that the game itself helps many students perform well in many of their academic pursuits.


If your parents or relatives play chess, many of you will probably be able to play as well or better than they can play very soon. Many of you will be beating your coaches pretty consistently within the school year if you pursue the game seriously. There is no luck in chess. You and your opponent both start out with even odds, and whoever plays the best game wins. The more you play, the better you become. And playing against a stronger player is the best path to improvement.


At the beginning of the school year some new members will likely not be even romotely familiar with the game. So for the first few weeks, our more experienced players will have to be patient while we work to get everyone up to speed. Advanced players will need to help the beginners learn the rules and concepts that go into becoming a good chess player. Some of you may think you already know how to play the game, but many times even 'experienced' players find that they have 'learned' some things that are contrary to the real rules. We will play by the official rules that evolved about 500 years ago. The rules have changed only slightly since then. If you pay attention to what is going on, you will quickly become a knowledgeable player, and we won't have any disagreement about the rules of the game.


We will start out by learning 'how to move the pieces' and how to play chess on the computer. We will also learn how to talk, think, and write in Algebraic Notation (AN). We will learn the concepts of checkmate and stalemate. Our first lessons will emphasize the end of the game - not the beginning. We will study practically every way there is to checkmate an opponent, and we will study some of the traps that can lead to stalemate or loss. We will learn a few basic checkmates. We will learn how to set up and start a game properly.


Within a week or so every student should be able to read a chess book and understand what it says. Many 'experienced' chess players cannot do that. It's quite easy to learn the rules that specify 'how to move the pieces'. But we are going much further than that; we are going to learn 'how to play chess'.


Chess will entertain you, but more importantly, it will help you develop your brain for the rest of your life. The game may also open up scholastic and career opportunities for you that you cannot even imagine. So hang in there and pay attention for a few weeks while we prepare for a great roller coaster ride in the coming school year, a ride that you may continue to enjoy for the rest of your life.


Sign in at the beginning of each session. Then, unless otherwise instructed, proceed directly to play against other Chess Club members. We will record every move in Algebraic Notation (AN), and we begin to 'speak AN' from day one. This new language will soon become second nature.


Written scoresheets will be used frequently. The Chess Coach will periodically review those scoresheets to insure that all players are writing their moves in proper and legible AN. Fill in both player names and the date each time you record a game, and upload a OneDrive validation record for each club game that you play.


Make every effort to attend each club session. If you need to miss a session, you will have to assume the responsibility to catch up and keep pace with the rest of the club members.


At the conclusion of each session, any game in progress should be suspended, and the game should be recorded appropriately so that it can be resumed at a later date. Put the chess pieces back into their storage containers. Stack the boards upside down so that a Chess Coach or a designated assistant can store them properly.


Part of our club activity will be devoted to instruction and discussion independent from actually playing chess against an opponent. It is very important to pay attention and to participate in these discussions that have been designed to help you and your club mates learn and improve your game. All club members are encouraged to play additional games against each other on chesstempo.com outside scheduled meeting hours. Such games should be submitted for playing credit, just like the games during regular meetings.


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