Volume 2, Issue 1 


Edited by Bob Ferguson, Member of USCF Scholastic Council

If you prefer, you may read this news online at www.chess.isgenius.com.  The American Chess School funds this eNewsletter.  Please visit our sponsor’s website at www.amchess.org and read the details for the 2002 Castle Chess Camps.

The USCF Scholastic Council and the American Chess School wish you a successful New Year!

Scholastic Chess Update is emailed on or about the twelfth day of each month.  If you have articles you would like to submit for inclusion please email them to [email protected].

If you know other chess folks who would be interested in receiving the Scholastic Chess Update, please submit their email for inclusion.


Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess (Book Cover)

Kids love this book. No notation. Every page contains a single problem.  This book has 11 sample pages. See all pages.

In this issue:

1) The George Koltanowski Memorial Conference on Chess and Education was a tremendous success!

2) Many coaches have tested the beta pages for chess coach certification and offered suggestions.

3) Scholastic Council met in Dallas on Thursday, December 13.

4) Thank you for contributing to the Coaches’ Corner.

5) Hey! Look what one "Chess Mom" in Mississippi did!

6) The Goodwill Ambassador of Chess

7) FREE Chess Research Summary

Greetings to All Chess Folks,

Welcome to the fourth issue (Volume 2, Number 1) of the Scholastic Chess Update.  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 details, please visit www.chess.isgenius.com.

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.

The Koltanowski Conference on Chess and Education

by Tim Redman, Past President of the USCF

They came.  They spoke.  They listened.  36 presenters (representing 42 authors) and about the same number of participants attended the George Koltanowski Memorial Conference on Chess and Education December 14-16, 2001, at the Dallas Hyatt Regency Reunion in downtown Dallas.  Dedicated to the memory of my old friend George and in appreciation of his widow Leah, the conference sought to determine what we know at the start of a new century about the effect of chess on educational growth.

The conference was held in four rooms in a secluded section of the mezzanine; downstairs, more than two thousand chess players, parents, coaches, and staff attended the National Scholastic Grade K-12 Championship.  As I told one reporter:  "The tournament is more exciting; the conference is more important."

Those who participated enjoyed three days of wide-ranging discussions about the past, present, and future of chess in education.  The last such conference was organized by Professor Howard Prince at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in 1995.  This conference was more academic in nature:  more than a third of the presenters held doctorates.  To accommodate the large number of papers, conference sessions were divided into ten 75-minute time slots, four Friday, four Saturday, and two Sunday morning; 9 of the time slots had three concurrent sessions, each with one or two speakers.  The talks ran 30 minutes or 60 minutes each, with 15 minutes at the end for discussion.  One of the conference rooms was dedicated to refreshments so discussion could continue informally during frequent breaks.

The last session, Sunday morning, was a plenary session featuring Dr. Uvencio Blanco of Venezuela, Secretary General of FIDE's Chess in School Committee.  Dr. Blanco is known for his two indispensable books in the field of chess and education, Why Teach Chess in Schools? and The Chess Teaching System, both published in 1998.  The Chair of the FIDE Committee, Nicola Palladino, was unable to come, but sent a paper and another Committee member, IM Goran Antunac of Croatia, to represent him.

For the rest of Dr. Redman’s article, please refer to his upcoming Chess Life article.  Others have posted comments about the conference on the Web.  Here are two:



Many coaches have tested the beta pages for coach certification

A big thank you to Ryan Ferguson, Dewain Barber, Michael Aigner, Glenn Glorioso, Tom Brownscombe, John Smith, Mike Hoffpauir, Lori Weidemann, Susan Herzing, Randy Grove, David Mehler, Frank Oslick, Frank C. DelBonis, Lance C. Eck, David Clark, and the other coaches who assisted with the beta testing.  We are still working on the improvements and are trying to integrate your suggestions.  If you would like to help us with this project, please visit the coach login page at http://www.geocities.com/chess_camp/coach_login.html and test the tests.  Afterwards, please email us your suggestions for improving them.  Thanks.

Scholastic Council met in Dallas on Thursday, December 13

The Scholastic Council met the day prior to the Koltanowski Conference and the National Scholastic Grade K-12 Championship.  Until services improve, the Scholastic Council is strongly opposed to any scholastic dues increase.  Scholastics expect ratings to be available within one week of a tournament by emailing results to the office.  The Canadian Chess Federation and other organizations are able to post updated ratings within 24 hours of submission.  We expect the USCF to match the services of other organizations.  School Mates should be available both online, perhaps in PDF, and in its current format.  The Council also discussed the possibility of inserting School Mates in Chess Life four times each year provided the cost can be controlled and the integrity of School Mates is maintained.

Ralph Bowman and Robert Ferguson are working on developing a manual for coaches, which will include sections on developing a coaching philosophy, training principles, tournament knowledge, how to teach chess, psychology of chess, managing a chess team, and more.  They are looking for individuals to submit ideas for the manual and later write one or more chapters to make the Coaches’ Manual a reality.  Tentatively, this will be a free publication like the Guide to Scholastic Chess.  Dewain Barber has indicated that he will help underwrite the publication expense.

Thank you for contributing to the Coaches’ Corner

Many coaches have contributed ideas for the Coaches’ Corner pages.  To visit the Coaches' Corner Home Page, go to http://www.geocities.com/chess_camp/coaches_corner_home.html.












STEP-BY-STEP METHODOLOGY (200-500 WORDS, simple enough that a teacher could print it out and follow it on his/her own):

PLEASE NOTE:  We prefer that all items be forwarded by email as an attachment in Word, FrontPage, or PDF. 

Send your submissions to [email protected]

Cover of School MatesHey! Look what one "Chess Mom" in Mississippi did!

By Kelly Jacobs, Chairperson of the Scholarship and Fundraising Subcommittees of the
USCF Scholastic Committee

(Paste) http://www.uschess.org/about/smates.html (or click) U.S. Chess Federation
 The United States Chess Federation has been gifted with permission to use Dexter's Laboratory artwork on the cover of the newest issue of School Mates Magazine. (My Dexter Chess Tournament is featured inside!) The importance of possibly getting a HUGE conglomerate (AOL/Time-Warner) interested in supporting chess is an opportunity just knocking at our door, but all of us need to help so this opportunity doesn't pass us by. (Flattery, honey, sugar pour it on! Cartoon Network, you are so wonderful!) Cartoons and comic books are not limited to the USA but are known worldwide. Cute, kid related chess products would result from a major cartoon that had chess playing in it those products would sell everywhere.
     It is my impression that the USCF is seriously considering RAISING Scholastic fees because (now watch me dance) they need to stay "in the black". The why they are almost bankrupt is a political answer that would get me into trouble.
     Nonetheless, the game of chess is still great for kids and
if one cartoon, like Dexter's Laboratory, would portray kids having fun playing chess, it would benefit every chess club and classroom by providing more interest in chess. (Dexter's Laboratory is a cartoon about a 4th grade boy who is proclaimed a genius by the Pentagon. He loves school, has a secret laboratory in his bedroom where he invents all kinds of stuff and an older sister DeeDee who should beat him with Scholars mate to get him hooked.)
  I hope you will help me in my "campaign" to get more chess on TV either in cartoons, or regular programming. You can help by writing to the Cartoon Network, send them art, mail, be creative! Forward this note to other chess players!

Genndy Tartakovsky is the Creator of Dexter's Laboratory, and other cartoons. He is based in California, and the honchos in Atlanta say that they do not ever tell their creators what to do. Maybe he will see this magazine cover as FLATTERY, and will be interested in drawing chess into his 2002 shows, maybe not. Like a good game of chess, we have to have a plan, even if it is long term. So please write to Atlanta, let them know you appreciate Dexter's support!


The Cartoon Network
1050 Techwood Drive,
Atlanta, GA  30318

Feedback E-mail site:
Cartoon Network: Feedback

 Make your voice heard by using your circle of influence to let the Cartoon Network and TV show creators (of your choice) know that you want chess on TV!  
I did a little something, YOU CAN TOO!

The Goodwill Ambassador of Chess

By National Master Dan Heisman

Many of our scholastic players may only know IM Donald Byrne as either the loser of the "Game of the Century" against Bobby Fischer or GM Robert Byrne's brother. Both are true, but Professor Donald Byrne was much more than that, a real Goodwill Ambassador of Chess.

Donald and his older brother Robert were two of the most famous prodigies of Brooklyn's John Collins, who also coached Bobby Fischer.  Donald quickly became one of the country's top players and won the US Open in 1953. He represented the US very successfully in radio matches vs. the USSR and in many Olympiads. Further, Byrne was so popular among both US and foreign players that he was selected to be the US Olympic Team Captain on several occasions. Always quick with a quip or joke followed by a hearty laugh, Bryne's presence could light up a room or create a warm atmosphere. Everyone who came in contact with Byrne seemed to have a nice thing to say about how he helped them or greeted them as a compatriot, even if they had been a stranger.

Unfortunately, Byrne became seriously ill while still a young man. He held the position of English Professor and Chess Coach for Penn State University for several years before he passed away in the late 1970s. Because the ELO system was not instated for international play until he was just about finished with serious play, it was almost impossible for Professor Byrne to get the GM title since the US did not hold "norm" tournaments, despite the fact that he was rated in the Top-10 in the US and GM strength virtually his entire life. Today all of Byrne's students and friends in the chess world fondly remember "The Coach" and it is hoped that he will achieve the posthumous GM title and eventually be elected to the US Chess Hall of Fame.

FREE Chess Research Summary is available at www.amchess.org/research.  Educators around the world acknowledge that chess is a powerful tool for developing higher order thinking skills, creativity, numerical and verbal aptitudes, and memory.  Now, you can have the documentation to support your belief in the positive value of chess

A message from our sponsor:

Details for the 2002 Castle Chess Camps are available at www.amchess.org. The Bradford Castle Chess Camp will be held July 21-28 and the Atlanta Castle Chess Camp is scheduled for June 9-16.  Both camps feature current U.S. Champion Joel Benjamin.

Registration info is at http://www.amchess.org/camp/registration.html. The full camp fee for residents at the Bradford camp is $739, but the early bird price is only $599.  Fees increase $20 per month after the early bird deadline. For more info about either the Atlanta or Bradford camp, please visit the www.amchess.org website and click on the "Castle Chess Camp" button.

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