Volume 2, Issue 10 December 2002

over 1,500 readers

Edited by Bob Ferguson, Member of USCF Scholastic Council 

Happy New Year to All Chess Folks!

Welcome to the twelfth issue (Volume 2, Number 10) of the Scholastic Chess Update.  

  • The Development of Scholastic Chess

  • News from Chessville and Others

  • Web Site of the Month!

  • Checklist for Attending Nationals

  • Topics from Atlanta

  • Website Update

!!! Coach Training at Castle Chess Camp !!!

For more than two decades, Castle has provided professional development units for coaches and adult players around the USA.  Camp is NOT just for kids!  Dates for the 2003 Castle Chess Camp are June 8-15 at Emory University in Atlanta and July 20-27 at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.  If you would like to be placed on our mailing list for the camps, email us at [email protected].  More than 50 folks have already registered for our 2003 camps!

The Development of Scholastic Chess

By Jerry Nash, Director of Global Pawn Promotions

 The development of scholastic chess is a task that requires a comprehensive approach and structure to be successful and enduring. While successful scholastic programs exist in many major cities in the United States, the majority of smaller cities and rural school districts experience little long-term impact from similar efforts. Given the lack of support for education in general in many states, the assignment of adding a scholastic chess program to the educational agenda becomes increasingly difficult. The following are a few of the factors that influence this success.

            I believe that there are 5 keys to success. The first key is the presence of an individual or a group committed to developing the program. Not all of this group need be proficient in chess. School officials, teachers, parents, and community leaders should eventually be represented in this effort. They must be convinced of the value that chess has for scholastic success. This group will plan (or help to plan) after-school chess clubs and tournaments. They will also spearhead the efforts to promote scholastic chess in the community.

            The second key is support from the local school board as well as area principals and teachers. Without permission and some encouragement from these individuals, real progress will be hard to make. As teachers and principals see the academic and behavioral impact of chess, the greater the likelihood that support will come from local � and state � administrations. This does take time! That is why the first key of committed individuals is so important.

            The third key is teacher training. Teachers who do not know how to play chess or run a chess club (and this is certainly the majority) are less likely to sponsor a club at school. It is common for the students to know more about chess than their sponsoring teacher! While this may not be a deterrent to an ongoing program, it will certainly hamper the development of chess skills in the students which, in turn, impacts the level of academic success the students might achieve. In addition, if a school has only one teacher who has chess skills, what happens if that teacher is transferred or takes a sabbatical? The program often stops altogether and must be completely reorganized when the teacher returns or another is finally found who will sponsor the club. (Notice we are still at the club stage. Most areas are not even close to including chess as part of the curriculum.)

            The fourth key is the local university. Cooperation from the university can come in the form of scholarships. Several states now have one or more universities offering scholarships to the winners of certain scholastic events. This provides publicity for the school and also assures them of the quality student they are already trying to attract.

            Cooperation from the university can also come in the form of academic preparation offered in the school�s department of education. Student teacher training is, I believe, an untapped resource for the development of scholastic chess. If new teachers are graduating from the university already having the skills to teach chess and run a club, the maintenance and progress of the overall program is enhanced.

            The fifth key is community support. This may exist in the form of parental involvement or local media promotion of events. But for the scholastic program to truly grow, the support must also come from area businesses that see the long-term value of developing students who can think. After all, it is from this pool of individuals that they will be searching for employees. Businesses may sponsor scholarships, tournaments, or even the placement of chess equipment in the schools. Their presence lends credibility to the program both in the community and to the students themselves, encouraging even more involvement.

            One added benefit of chess often overlooked  by parents and the community is the opportunity for cultural exchange. Whether meeting chess players from other parts of the U.S. or from other parts of the world, the chance for enlarging a child�s world view should not be downplayed. We do not live in isolation either politically, socially, or economically. Our students are not competing (educationally and in the job market) just locally or nationally but globally. This challenge becomes more apparent as the opportunities for global cultural experiences increase.

Much has been said and written from the educational community and the culture at large about teaching our children how to think. I can think of no better activity than chess to help accomplish that task! It is my hope that local and national organizations can combine their efforts to impact the development of scholastic chess in the United States. 

Jerry Nash is currently Director of Global Pawn Promotions ( in Lake Charles, LA. GPP was organized as a non-profit organization emphasizing scholastic chess cultural exchange. Because of the local economic situation, Jerry is considering relocation to an area in the U.S. more supportive of such a program. If you have questions or comments, please contact him at  [email protected].

** Story Hour with the Grandmasters **

GM Joel Benjamin and GM Arthur Bisguier along with their moderator, Stephen Shutt, entertain and inform their audience by sharing little-known chess anecdotes in this 90 minute video.




    Recent Chess News  News & Notes, including Chessville
    coverage of:  Rapid match: Kasparov vs. Karpov (December 19th-20th / New York, USA);
- World Junior Championships (Goa, INDIA) Levon Aronian won the title / Zhao Xue took the girls title; - Chess Festival "Christmas 2002" - Simultaneous of Boris Spassky; 1st Saturday Tourneys (Budapest, Hungary);  GM Patrick Wolff - the Rest of the World; Chess Battle at FICS

other online chess news resources
The Week In Chess (TWIC) The most complete Tournament News
Jeremy Silman - John Watson: Latest Chess News
The Chess Oracle Monthly International Chess News
The Chess Report Another great chess news site
The Campbell Report Correspondence Chess News
Net Chess News - News and More

Web Site of the Month!  

Bernard's Index at for Exeter Chess Club offers links to more than 130 chess lessons!

This Web site is not fancy, and some of the graphics do not render well on my machine.  But it offers a huge volume of chess knowledge on one site.  This Website was created and is maintained by Dr. David Regis. This is a page for people interested in teaching and learning about chess.  With nearly half a million visitors, you can tell this is a popular site.

This site has a variety of lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players

  • Openings
  • Middlegame
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Endgame

Check it out, and let us know what you think.  Share your favorite chess sites by e-mailing our Web Guy at [email protected].

Checklist for Attending Nationals

By Ralph Bowman


Each player is expected to provide a clock and writing instrument--chess sets and scorebooks are provided.  The following is a list of items to bring that I give my players:

1. Clothes should be comfortable. Make sure there is a change of clothes for each day.  Sometimes the playing room is very cool, so a comfortable lightweight jacket is necessary.
2. Personal items (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, etc.)
3. Watch ! ! !  The rounds begin punctually at specific times; therefore it is imperative that each player knows what time it is.
4. Two mechanical pencils with extra lead or three pens.
5. Necessary medication (if your players are subject to an upset stomach or headaches when placed in a stressful situation, then they need to provide that medication for themselves).
6. If taking more than $30, it is recommended to take it in traveler's checks.
7. Must have a chess clock.
8. Some type of small carrying case (large enough to hold scorebook, pencils, and chess clock). This reduces the chances of losing items that are hand carried and might be set down.


!!! Castle Chess Camp !!!

Dates for the 2003 Castle Chess Camp are June 8-15 at Emory University in Atlanta and July 20-27 at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.  Camp is filling up rapidly.  To save a space, register at Castle Chess Camp Online Registration Form or email us at [email protected].


Change of Address?

When you change your e-mail address, always inform us at [email protected] - we need to know your address in order too contact you.

Topics from Atlanta

By Scholastic Council Members

Over 2100 students played in the record shattering National Scholastic K-12 Grade Championships held December 13-15, in Atlanta.

While the students played, the Scholastic Council members were busy meeting and making decisions about how to best help scholastic chess.  A few of the topics included:

  • A review of the Scholastic Regulations

  • School Mates

  • Increasing the number of awards at nationals

  • Scholar Chess Player Awards

  • Scholastic Council election procedures

  • Support for Kolty Seminars

  • Chess in Education Workshops

  • Scholastic Council Website

Several changes were made, including that a player shall only have one year of eligibility per grade level in the K-12 Championship.  The Scholastic Council also voted to add an additional round to the K-12.  More details will be shared in next month's Scholastic Update.

Website Update 

Several subscribers have encouraged us to move our website, and we are working on that.  The American Chess School has purchased the domain name for Scholastic-Chess .us, Scholastic-Chess, and to further promote scholastic chess.  It will probably take us several months to get these new sites running, but we are headed in the right direction.  

If you are currently receiving annoying pop-up script messages, you might try going to Tools --> Internet Options. Advanced tab. Check on "Disable script debugging" and uncheck "Display a notification about every script error."

Using decreases some of the advertising pop-ups on my machine, so you may want to try it rather than

Chess Coach Certification

If you want to take the Club Level test for certification, you must first email your full name and email address to [email protected].  The AmChess staff will then email your user ID and password. 

** Submit Articles For the Update **

We need your help to provide articles to chess folks.  Please consider submitting an article.  Share your ideas with others to help more kids reap the benefits of chess.


One of the Scholastic Council�s goals is to improve communication among members of the scholastic community.  This e-Newsletter is the second step towards reaching this goal.  Our first step was the creation of a Scholastic Chess Website to communicate what the Scholastic Council is and what goals are being pursued.  For more details, visit or  

How do you contact your scholastic representatives?







[email protected] 


Ralph Bowman [email protected]  620.244.5683



[email protected]




[email protected]


Sunil Weeramantry [email protected] 914.997.9409

The following are ex-officio members of the Council.

Tom Brownscombe [email protected] 845.562.8350
Stephen Shutt [email protected] 215.978.6867

If you are NOT interested in scholastic chess, please click the reply button and type �remove� in the subject line.  If you know others who would like to receive this information, please forward the URL for the website to them.  If you are receiving multiple copies, please let us know so we can correct our error.  If you would like to see an improved newsletter, VOLUNTEER! 

The Scholastic Chess Update is a newsletter created to help coaches, parents, teachers, and others promote scholastic chess. It is read by over 1,500 chess aficionados.

The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of USCF Scholastic Council.  The Council makes no warranties about the contents of the Scholastic Chess Update.

To unsubscribe, just reply to this email with "remove" in the subject.

Copyright 2002 American Chess School

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