Archive for the ‘chess philosopohy’ Category

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 3

July 18, 2014

The Torres Chess and Music Academy is constantly at work making sure the events we offer your children are the very best in California. Below are some images from week 3 of the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp. There is still one more week left in our chess camp at Mission San Jose Elementary School which will feature instruction from International Master Emory Tate and Grandmaster Susan Polgar.

 

Click here to register for week 4!

 

Our camp is filled with a diverse group of students who all love chess.

Our camp is filled with a diverse group of students who all love chess.

 

 

Joe Lonsdale is a legendary chess coach who brings decades of teaching experience to our camp daily.

Joe Lonsdale is a legendary chess coach who brings decades of teaching experience to our camp daily.

 

 

International Master Emory Tate enjoys teaching as much as his students enjoy learning.

International Master Emory Tate enjoys teaching as much as his students enjoy learning.

 

 

The Fremont Summer Chess Camp features a USCF rated chess tournament with prizes so that our star students have an opportunity to shine.

The Fremont Summer Chess Camp features a USCF rated chess tournament with prizes so that our star students have an opportunity to shine.

 

 

When the kids finish their rated games they are treated to personalized analysis from the best minds in the business.

When the kids finish their rated games they are treated to personalized analysis from the best minds in the business.

 

 

Famed chess author Eric Schiller stopped by on Thursday and presented seven of his best chess games to our students.

Famed chess author Eric Schiller stopped by on Thursday and presented seven of his best chess games to our students.

 

 

After his brilliant performance, Eric graciously handed out our weekly awards and signed autographs.

After his brilliant performance, Eric graciously handed out our weekly awards and signed autographs.

 

 

Our Fremont Summer Chess camp even had its own book fair.

Our Fremont Summer Chess camp even had its own book fair.

 

Take a moment to check out my report on weeks 1 and 2.

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 1

 

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 2

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Week 1

July 5, 2014

The first week of the Torres Chess and Music Academy’s Fremont Summer Camp was a smashing success. One parent even asked me why our camp was so much better than the other chess classes in the Bay Area. I answered, “The real secret is in enthusiasm. It is the magic we use to transform challenges into accomplishments.”

 

Students learn more when they are having fun.

Students learn more when they are having fun.

 

 

 

TCAMA Director of Instruction, James Paquette, teaches his students the secrets to Paul Morphy's success.

TCAMA Director of Instruction, James Paquette, teaches his students the secrets to Paul Morphy’s success.

 

 

 

Tans Hylkema taught our youngest campers how to play chess and notate their moves.

Tans Hylkema taught our youngest campers how to play chess and notate their moves.

 

 

 

Students at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp were constantly challenged.

Students at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp were constantly challenged.

 

 

 

Joe Lonsdale has been doing this for nearly thirty years!

Joe Lonsdale has been overlooking chess games at MSJE for nearly thirty years!

 

 

 

Francisco Anchondo teaches his students how to turn chess advantages into stunning combinations.

Francisco Anchondo teaches his students how to turn chess advantages into stunning combinations.

 

 

 

Our campers learn first hand why International Master Emory Tate is a chess teacher of the highest quality.

Our campers learn first hand why International Master Emory Tate is a chess teacher of the highest quality.

 

 

 

After just one week, our youngest players understand the most important endgame positions.

After just one week, our youngest players understand the most important endgame positions.

 

 

 

Every game played at our camp is turned into a custom lesson for the children who played it.

Every game played at our camp is turned into a custom lesson for the children who played it.

 

 

 

All of our hard work pays off during the next school year.

All of our hard work pays off during the next school year.

 

 

How important are chess ratings for children?

May 22, 2014

A chess rating is just a number used in chess to estimate the strength of a player based on his/her past performance. For years, I have been advising chess coaches, parents and kids to avoid becoming preoccupied with ratings as doing so creates unnecessary problems for children. Some common problems I see regularly from over emphasizing chess ratings are: 

1) Avoidance of tournaments for fear of losing rating points

2) Avoidance of tournaments out of embarrassment from having a low rating

3) Being overly confident because his/her rating is higher than his/her opponent’s

4) Playing in a self-defeating mindset because his/her rating is much lower than his/her opponent’s

5) Dropping out of chess because of too much pressure to maintain a high rating.

 

So it was a real pleasure when I read a recent blog post by Susan Polgar where she offered her wisdom on chess ratings for scholastic players:

Q: How important are chess ratings for children?

A: My answer may be unpopular but ratings are not very relevant at an early age. The problem is that many parents are so concerned about the ratings their children become too timid to play “proper” chess in order to improve. They are so afraid of losing that they play not to lose instead of playing to win and this can seriously hinder the development of their children.

While in the short term ratings can satisfy one’s ego, it is better to look at the long term outcome.

Source: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2014/05/some-important-questions-about-chess.html

 

I will be teaching with Susan this summer at the MSJE Fremont Summer Chess Camp.

 

Sign up today!

 

The Tenth Rank

May 17, 2014

The Top Ten Chess (CC) Players in the United States for May 2014.

Source: United States Chess Federation

1 Menke, John R IL USA 2489
2 Buss, Michael IN USA 2430
3 Brandhorst, Wesley FL USA 2416
4 Ingersol, Harry Walter IA USA 2415
5 Tracz, James G OH USA 2405
6 Tseng, Wilbur IL USA 2403
7 Kain, Anthony James SC USA 2398
8 Mcgregor, Stephen Dean TX USA 2391
9 Sogin, David Warren KY USA 2386
10 Torres, Chris CA USA 2375

 

Of course it was never about rank or rating but rather the happiness and enjoyment that I derive from playing chess at a high level. Still, it is nice to be ranked in the top 10… Although, I still have work to do as there is no tenth rank in chess.

 

 

Oops She Did It Again!

April 6, 2014
Susan Polgar continues to shatter the glass ceiling by coaching her fourth straight Division I Men's Team to a National Chess Championship!

Susan Polgar continues to shatter the glass ceiling by coaching her fourth straight Division I Men’s Team to a National Chess Championship!

 

To most fans of college athletics, a coach fails unless he/she wins it all every time. To Susan Polgar, the head coach of Webster University’s Chess Team, success and failure are connected like cause and effect. Still, her unique philosophy on coaching chess has allowed her to set a record that even the harshest college sports fans couldn’t diminish. After her team from Webster University took first place at this year’s Final Four of Chess, Susan has coached four consecutive National Championship teams in a streak that spans two different universities.

Susan’s chess career began at an early age under her father, Laszlo’s guidance.

Susan’s chess career began at an early age under her father, Laszlo’s guidance.

 

Susan’s chess career began at an early age under her father, Laszlo’s guidance. At age 4, Susan Polgar won her first chess tournament, the Budapest Girls’ Under-11 Championship, with a 10–0 score. Despite restrictions placed on her international tournament play by a communist regime, Susan became the top rated female chess player in world by the age of 15. Later, in 1991, Susan became the first woman ever to be awarded the GrandMaster(non-gender biased) title by FIDE. An eventual world champion in blitz, rapid and classical chess, Susan single handedly forced FIDE(World Chess Organization) to allow women to achieve the same titles and play in the same competitions as men. Susan’s role as an empowering female leader did not stop when she retired from playing competitive chess.

As a coach, Susan has shattered the glass ceiling as well. Her college chess coaching career began in 2007 as the head coach of Texas Tech University’s chess team. By 2010 she had raised their team to division I status and a third place finish in the Final Four. The following year, Susan’s team, despite being the lowest rated, finished in First Place. This victory made Susan Polgar the first woman in NCAA history to coach a men’s division I team to a national championship. After winning this year’s NCAA Final Four for Chess with her team from Webster University, Susan Polgar has now coached four consecutive National Championship teams at the division I college level.

Susan Polgar incredible talent and drive have made her one of the most sited examples of chess success and women’s achievements in intellectual pursuits during the last 100 years. I am excited to have Susan Polgar join the Torres Chess and Music Academy for our Fremont Summer Chess Camp and look forward to allowing my own daughters to gain from her inspirational character.  Your daughters and sons can too!

 

To book your child for our Summer Chess Camp featuring Susan Polgar please visit: http://chessandmusic.com/onlineregistration/

 

 

For more information on Susan Polgar please visit these fine sites:

http://www.susanpolgar.com/

 

http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/

 

http://www.webster.edu/spice/

 

 

"Win with grace, lose with dignity."-Susan Polgar

“Win with grace, lose with dignity.”-Susan Polgar

 

 

Susan Polgar Explains Her Coaching Philosophy

April 5, 2014

Susan Polgar is, in my humble opinion, the best chess coach in the United States. Her achievement of coaching two different division 1 colleges to National Chess Championships on several occasions speaks volumes as to her abilities. I believe Susan’s coaching philosophy should prove useful for coaches of any discipline.

Obtained from http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-coaching-philo<a href="http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2014/04/my-coaching-philosophy.html?m=1

Many people have asked what is my coaching philosophy when it comes to team events? There are four main issues which I stressed. We may or may not be the best team (depend on the year), but our approach is always the same:

1. Come to each match fully prepared: Physically, mentally, and chess-wise. Players have to be fully focused. We have fun after, not before or during important events.

2. Play with complete discipline: We are prepared to fight hard every game, and play all games with complete discipline, just as the prepared game plan for each match.

3. Team work: We prepare as a team, fight as a team, and celebrate as a team. There is no I in team. We are one family.

4. Win with grace, lose with dignity: This has long been my motto. I will not tolerate any hot-dogging or in your face nonsense. Self control and be gracious, win or lose.

Here is to hoping Susan Polgar’s chess team at Webster University wins this weekend’s College Final Four of Chess.

Don’t forget that Susan Polgar will be visiting the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp.

Calchess Scholastic Super State Championship: Preview 2

March 31, 2014

Throughout its 39 year history, there have been many great leaders who organized the Calchess Scholastic State Championships. Each of them has led with unique talents and in different circumstances. Tonight I present to you my brief interview with one of the best chess promoters in the history of California chess, Salman Azhar.

One of the best chess promoters in the history of California chess, Salman Azhar.

One of the best chess promoters in the history of California chess, Salman Azhar.

 

(For ease of reading, Salman’s answers to my questions are in bold)

When did you first learn how to move the chess pieces?
I first learned to move the pieces when I was four. My father and brother taught me how to play chess.
Why did you decide to get your boys involved in chess?
My oldest son started to learn chess Weibel and at a class taught by you. He was inspired by you and his other teachers and joined Weibel Chess team and went on to win many state championships for himself and help Weibel keep its winning streak alive in 2004.

Congratulations on Aamir(Salman’s oldest son) being recently accepted to Duke, Berkeley, and other schools. Do you feel chess has helped him in his scholastic career?

Chess has definitely helped him develop his analytic skills and logical thinking. He lost interest in competitive chess some time ago because he was targeted by some parents and coaches due to local chess politics.
Who first convinced you to start organizing tournaments?
Dr. Alan Kirshner hand picked me to run tournaments and was instrumental in my success. I owe much of what I have learned about organizing tournaments to Dr. Kirshner.
Why do you think Alan chose you?
I believe he said I was a, “combination of someone who is thorough and also who can interact with the people in a professional way.” I am honored to be his protege. 
A happy Alan Kirshner standing with Salman Azhar at the 36th Calchess Scholastic State Championship.

A happy Alan Kirshner standing with Salman Azhar at the 36th Calchess Scholastic State Championship.

This will be your seventh consecutive year organizing the Calchess Scholastic State Championships . What have you learned from running this tournament?
<smiling> As Richard Shorman said, “You will know the true nature of people.” I have learned a lot about human psychology and behavior and also developed the courage to do the right thing regardless of personal gain, external threats, financial temptations, and other things that cause many good people to lose your integrity.
Your name has become synonymous with quality tournaments. How has that changed your life?
There are many excellent organizers all over the world and I have a lot to learn. However, I do enjoy people coming up to me in restaurants, grocery stores, business meetings, and other places to express their appreciations. It helps me sleep better at night that I have given something back to the community that has given me so much.
One of your detractors was an individual who used to be your mentor and most vocal supporter. Why do you think that is?
I cannot speculate on someone else’s intentions but I have a lot of respect for him and have learned from him. I hope some day we overcome local adult politics and realize that scholastic chess is about children.
What is your advice to parents who have children who are currently attending Weibel Elementary School?
I don’t like to advise people who don’t ask for advice but I have always welcomed Weibel players and their parents at my tournaments. They should rise above the local chess politics and do what is best for their child(ren).
Why have you decided to rename the Calchess Scholastic State Championships the Calchess Super States?
This is patterned after National Super States indicating that it is a championship sections encompassing all grade levels. Many other states have separate elementary, junior high, and high school champions or Super States where all sections are in the same tournament.
Why do you think that you have become the most popular tournament organizer in the history of California chess?
You are a great danger to my desire to be humble, aren’t you? I see many shortcomings in every tournament I run and perhaps recognize them with humility so that I can improve the next time. This pholosophy has made me get better.
I am honored to be respected by this community and feel that honor is largely due to heeding Dr. Richard Feynman’s advise: “So I have just one wish for you – the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.”

What is the funniest moment you have ever experienced while running a chess tournament?

Most of them center around children trying to get out of touch move rule but the funniest was a child whose excuse was that he accidentally picked up the King to dig his nose.
What advice would you give to someone who plans on running their first large chess tournament?
Run small tournaments first and have a person who has run large tournaments watch your back when you run your first one. That his how my mentor and friend, Dr. Alan Kirshner, taught me.
You are also heavily involved in the High-tech industry? How do you think technology will change scholastic chess tournaments? What will a chess tournament look like in 20 years?
Yes, I am. I think computer analysis has already influenced the development of players. I think it is changing interactive teaching as well. Coaches like you are using iPads in their class. All this will help players get stronger much faster. However, I am concerned about taking the fun out of the experience of learning. 
I also think we will also see more online play but nothing can replace the social aspect of coming together physically for a tournament or a class.
For more information on this years tournament, please refer to “Calchess Scholastic Super State Championship: Preview 1.”

 

Chess Wisdom and Philosophy from Twitter

November 21, 2012

Here is a collection  of my chess wisdom from @TorresChess. If you are not following me on Twitter, then you are missing out on some interesting discussions.

11/5 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

 It is beyond coincidence that chess and music produce child prodigies with a much greater frequency than that of other intellectual pursuits. -Chris Torres

 

11/7 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

To play a match for the World Championship is the cherished dream of every chess player. -David Bronstein

 

11/8 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Starting from Chester Arthur in the early 1880s, 89% of Democratic presidents have been chess players, compared to just 35% of Republicans. – Chris Torres

 

11/8 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Nervous energy is the ammunition we take into any mental battle. – Garry Kasparov

 

11/9 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Genius. It’s a word. What does it really mean? If I win I’m a genius. If I don’t, I’m not. – Bobby Fischer

 

11/11 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Wins and losses are rarely determined at the the chess tournament, but rather in the effort toward preparation the player demands of himself. -Chris Torres

 

11/12 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

 Confidence in chess stems from  preparation in solving your problems without outside interference. -Chris Torres

 

11/13 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

“In chess, as in life, opportunity strikes but once.”-David Bronstein

 

11/13 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

“Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on.”-Frederic Chopin

 

11/14 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

My students know that it is better to lose some of the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever fighting.-Chris Torres

 

11/15 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Follow the path to the end and you will find no sanity in reason.-Chris Torres

 

11/16 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

A chess coach with a fancy title is good. A chess coach who can teach useful lessons that inspire confidence is better.-Chris Torres

 

11/17 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Apparently the chess board is really a special kind of mirror. Staring at it on length will force one to accept his flaws or go mad.-Chris Torres

 

11/17 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Chess is the best tool which we can use to fix education.-Chris Torres

 

11/18 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Of all the pleasures I have received from the game of chess, the greatest is the friendship of my students. -Chris Torres

 

11/19 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

If your life was a game of chess, would you rather live a hundred mediocre moves or be brilliant for a few?-Chris Torres

 

11/20 Chris Torres‏@TorresChess

Chess exercises a child’s capacity to change a vision into reality.-Chris Torres

 


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