Archive for the ‘scholastic chess’ Category

Chess Chat: Q&A with Karen Thurm Safran, Author of Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It

May 25, 2019

Many people know you as the powerful marketing force behind some amazing companies and products. Authoring a parenting book seems to be an interesting career pivot for you. What motivated you to become an author?

Thanks for including me on your blog… and for the compliment. Wow, we’ve known each other for nearly twenty years since my son started chess in elementary school. Time sure flies by quickly! 

Writing a book is definitely a career shift from managing marketing teams, working in a fast-paced high-tech environment, and driving revenue for companies. While it seems like a random career move, I decided to fulfill a childhood dream of writing a book and combine it with my love of parenting. 

Welcome, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, an entertaining book showing playful ways to stop struggling with your child and start having more fun. Now kids will listen and cooperate-willingly! I’m excited because already it’s been a #1 New Release in 7 Amazon categories.

How is your book different from other parenting book?

While I love reading parenting books, my book is very different. First, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It entertains as well as inspires. The “how to” lessons are shown through entertaining, light-hearted stories. People say that reading my book is like sitting with a friend over coffee. Second, many parenting books focus on babies, toddlers, or teens. I focus primarily on elementary school-age kids (as well as toddlers). There aren’t many books for this demographic. Lastly, parents don’t have time. My gosh, there’s barely enough time in the day to tackle parts of the formidable To-Do list, nevermind read a book. So, I organized my book into short, easy to read chapters that stand-alone. Now whenever parents have a spare moment, they can easily flip to a chapter on a specific parenting challenge. My goal is to have these fictional, whimsical stories spark the reader’s own playfulness. It’s very touching hearing how stories inspire people’s own creativity for handling frustrating parenting situations.

Why did you choose to write a parenting book and specifically, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It? 

Parenting is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also stressful. Even the best kids fuss, don’t listen, and misbehave. With the never-ending power struggles, parenting can be overwhelming. My parents had a trick. They embraced a “can do!” spirit, used their imagination, and created games to turn around frustrating moments. It was like magic! Goodbye nagging and yelling. Life became more enjoyable for our entire family.

When I became a mom, I experienced first-hand the benefits of this playful attitude and positive parenting style. I wrote Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It to help other families because this playful approach helped me as a stressed-out single parent. By creating games to deal with frustrating moments, you make parenting more fun, you empower your children, and you spend quality time connecting with your family.

This playful approach is in contrast to that stereotypically serious Silicon Valley parenting style. What are the greatest advantages of making a game out of parenting for families that live in such a competitive environment?

I know, parenting playfully seems counterintuitive, especially when your kids aren’t cooperating and you’re about to scream. Being playful is the last thing you want to do! Luckily, being playful doesn’t have to be hard, You can adopt a fun attitude in less than a minute as shown in my blog, “How to be a Fun Mom (Like Mary Poppins Not “Monster Mom”). I also wrote a blog outlining 46 Tips on How To Be a Playful, Positive Parent. While it may seem like another task to conquer, being positive and playful reduces your stress… and YOUR child’s stress. You’ll spend more quality time connecting with your family, which makes parenting more fun and empowers your child.

Whether or not you live in a competitive area like Silicon Valley, adopting this playful approach has many benefits.

  • Entertains kids when they’re bored and misbehaving.
  • Calms children when they’re upset and melting down.
  • Gets kids to help around the house with chores.
  • Teaches real-life skills like organizing school work, writing papers, and project planning to meet deadlines.

Being a Chess Mom/Dad presents unique challenges for parenting. Could you describe some of these challenges and how you handled them?

The biggest challenge was making time to attend chess tournaments. These are so important and part of the chess experience, so I made sure that my son participated in as many as possible. We even flew to several national events. If you’re going to encourage your child to play chess, realize from the get-go that this is a time commitment. However, there’s plenty of “down” time during each chess round. I recommend bringing work to keep you busy. Most importantly, have a positive, supportive attitude and consider this as time to sit and catch up on whatever.

I learned at the first national tournament, that we were there for one reason: chess. During the first break, I dragged us to the local aquarium and had plans to squeeze in fun activities throughout the weekend. Woo-hoo, we’d get to explore a new city! I quickly realized that competing is exhausting, so my ten-year old son needed to simply rest in the hotel room. These national chess tournament trips are now highlights because they provided special, connecting opportunities that also empowered my son.

How did your son choose and benefit from chess?

While visiting a relative’s house, our cousin taught my five-year-old son some basic chess. Boom! That was the catalyst. This passion continued and grew since the elementary school offered chess (which is where we met Chris!). At seven, he participated in his first tournament, second tournament, and so forth, all the way through high school. Now in his early twenties, he continues playing chess online.

Chess is VERY beneficial! It teaches patience, emphasizes discipline, develops problem-solving skills, trains a logical mind, improves memory, builds confidence, and provides a life-long hobby. I’m impressed how my son can focus and tune out any noise. He’s also great at math, was a stats major, and is now an actuary. Chess gave him an opportunity to be a leader when he started a chess club in high school. But the most important benefit is that chess provided countless hours of fun!

Finally, how can all the chess parents who read this blog obtain a copy of your book? 

They can visit my “Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It” website and also visit Amazon directly.

Thanks for all of your wonderful work inspiring students in chess! And thanks for interviewing me for your Chess Chat blog.

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Playing Blindfold Chess

May 19, 2019

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a photographic memory to be proficient at blindfold chess. The basic visualization required is really not all that different from the kind of mental exercise chess players commonly experience while calculating long endgame variations. In fact, if you’ve ever had a vivid chess dream while sleeping (quite common among my friends), you have already played blindfold chess!

Playing a chess game blindfolded (or at least facing opposite the chess board) against a class of young chess players is a sure fire way to raise the excitement level of the classroom or camp. Generally, I save such exhibitions for midway through a long camp or series of difficult lessons to add a little spice to the curriculum. In addition to adding energy to the room, a blindfold chess performance might just inspire a student to pick up the skill for his/herself which will greatly benefit their chess in the long run.

Below is my best ever such game played during the Fremont Summer Chess Camp in 2016. Enjoy…

 

[Event “Blindfold Game”]
[Site “Fremont, California (USA)”]
[Date “2016.7.13”]
[Round “”]
[White “Chris Torres”]
[Black “Intermediate Students”]
[Result “1-0”]
[Eco “C50”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]
[Source “”]

{[ ITALIAN GAME & HUNGARIAN def.,C50] [ ITALIAN GAME & HUNGARIAN def.,C50]}
1.e4 {I practice what I preach: “Open With a Center Pawn.”} e5
2.Nf3 {Knights Before Bishops.} Nc6 3.Bc4 {For a blindfold game, I chose my most comfortable structure (The Italian.)}
Qe7 {Perhaps my opponents were trying to confuse me by choosing the rare Qe7 sideline.}
4.Nc3 Nd4 {
My students have already broken two opening rules. They brought their queen out
early and now they have moved the same piece twice. Normally punishing these
mistakes wouldn’t be too difficult. But playing foreign positions with no view of the board is stressful.}
( 4…Nf6 5.Ng5 d5 6.exd5 Na5 7.d6 cxd6 8.Bxf7+ Kd8 9.Bb3 Nxb3
10.axb3 d5 11.O-O h6 12.Nf3 Bg4 13.d3 a6 14.Re1 Rc8 15.Bf4 Nd7
16.h3 Bh5 17.g4 Bf7 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.Bxe5 Qh4 20.Qf3 Bg8 21.Qxf8+
{1-0, Zhotev Jasen (BUL) 2086 – Ivanov Oleg (RUS) 2425 , Sofia 8/ 8/2009 It “Hemus Open” (3)}
) 5.Nd5 {In order to punish mistakes you must attack. Here, I know that their queen must
retreat to d8 in order to stop the knight from capturing on c7 with a fork.}
Qc5 {?!} {Honestly, I did not anticipate this move at all and was forced to repeat all the moves to myself outloud and calculate.}
6.Nxe5 {!} {“Whenever you’re aggressive, you’re at the edge of mistakes.”-Mario Andretti}
d6 {I hear excited chatter from my students about “winning a piece.”}
7.b4 {!} {Even when blindfolded, it’s hard to miss this obvious threat!}
Nxc2+ {Black had no choice that did not involve losing a piece or more.}
8.Qxc2 {I gain a knight without losing the initiative.} Qd4 {The queen may look threatening, but, really, she is all alone against an army.}
9.Bb5+ {At this point I couldn’t quite see the forced mate in 4 but this check seemed very promising.}
c6 10.Bxc6+ {!} {Looks impressive but really it is just the result of analyzing checks, captures and threats.}
bxc6 11.Qxc6+ {Forcing black’s king to d8 and a nice finish.}
Kd8 12.Nxf7# 1-0

Chris Torres Offers Online Chess Lessons

April 23, 2019

and would love to help your child play better chess now!

Reasons to try an Online Lesson with Chris:

1.  Follow up to in-person chess lessons to check on your child’s understanding.

2.  Live too far away to come often for private instruction.

3.  Preparing for a major tournament with a coach who has taught numerous national champions!

4.  Very cost effective. For $40 per online lesson, you can have your child learn chess from one of California’s most sought after chess coaches.

How it Works

1. Chris Torres harnesses the power of Chess.com and Wyzant to create the ultimate 21st century chess classroom.

2. After each lesson, Chris Torres will provide you with customized feedback and a study plan to take your child’s game to the next level!

3. All of Chris’ students are welcome to play slow paced (1 move per day) games with him during the week at no extra charge.

Sign up today

via https://is.gd/u5bIVd

Or by emailing Chris Torres (chesslessons@aol.com)

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship a Success

March 25, 2019

FremontChess.com held it’s annual Scholastic Chess Championship on March 16th and 17th at the Learning Bee Learning Center in Fremont, California.   Nearly fifty children participated in the event to share their passion for chess while competing for the title of Fremont Chess Champion.

The tournament which was a combined effort between US Chess Mates and the Torres Chess and Music Academy had an entry fee of only $20 thanks to the generous sponsorship of Grace Wong (Director of the Learning Bee Learning Center) and Joe Lonsdale (The Head Coach for Mission San Jose Elementary School Chess Team).

The K-1 section provided Fremont’s newest chess players a stage to show off their impressive skills on. And impress they did! Pranavi Pramod and Suhas Indukuri led the way with 3.5/4. Other players who performed admirably are Karanveer Singh Saran, Davin Lazar Vinod, Eayon Hsu and Emmett Zhao.

The largest and most competitive was grades 2-4. Joshua Huang won first place with 4.5/5 followed closely Dhruv Sheth with 4/5. From a tournament director’s standpoint, this group was a pleasure to watch. There was at least one interesting game to watch every round. It was wonderful to see so much up and coming talent.

The 5-8’th grade featured many excellent players but none played as well as eighth-grader Arjun Ganesan who achieved the only perfect score in the entire tournament. Second place went to Hemanth Kumar Merugu whose only loss was to Arjun. I have no doubt that all of the competitors in this section are destined for great things in Middle School, High School and beyond.

As the organizer for the Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship, I want to take one more moment to thank all the players, chess parents and sponsors for making this tournament possible. As a Fremont native, it was a special privilege for me to serve Fremont’s up and coming chess stars.

Details for the 2019 Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship

March 5, 2019

On March 16th and 17th, 2019, the Torres Chess and Music Academy in conjunction with US Chess Mates will be hosting the Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship at the Learning Bee Learning Center in Fremont, Ca.

map_of_fremont_ca

The Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship is a Swiss style tournament (a non-eliminating tournament format which features a set number of rounds of competition, each competitor does not play every other. Competitors play opponents with a similar running score, but not the same opponent more than once.) All participants will be broken into age appropriate sections (Kindergarten (G/30), grades 1-4 (G/30) & grades 5-12 Section (G/60) and the winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned after five rounds. Impressive trophies will be awarded to the top 10 in each section, top school team per section, and the top boy & girl in each grade. All other players will receive medals for participating. 

I strongly encourage any and all scholastic players in Fremont and its neighboring cities to come and join the tournament. It’s not only competitive and fun, but it’s a place where players can meet new people, make new friends, and gain a lot of experience.

For all those interested in attending, kindly visit FremontChess.com. Because of generous donations from longtime chess coach Joe Lonsdale and Learning Bee Director Grace Wong, the entry fee is only $20! As usual, please make sure that your child has a current United States Chess Federation membership . For ease of processing, you can join or renew your child’s USCF membership on the tournament application. 

I hope to see you all on March 16th and 17th at the spacious Learning Bee Learning Center which is located at 

39977 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539

Sincerely,

Chris Torres

Organizer for the Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship 

 

u8 chess

The Learning Bee, US Chess Mates & the Torres Chess and Music Academy, Inc. Present:

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship

March 16 & 17

Where: Learning Bee Learning Center, 39977 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539

What: Scholastic (K-12) 5 Round Swiss, Kindergarten (G/30) 1-4 (G/30) & 5-12 Section (G/60)

Cost: Thanks to a generous donation from Joe Lonsdale Sr., the entry fee for this event is only$20!

Trophies are awarded to the top 10 in each section, top school team per section, and the top boy & girl in each grade. All other players will receive medals for participating.

Registration: Each time control (G/30 & G/60) will be limited to only the first 100 applicants. Please do not delay in registering as there is no guarantee that there will be room to register the day of the tournament.

USCF Rated SWISS Format All players must be USCF members. All players must understand USCF tournament rules. USCF Membership fee is $17, per year. SWISS Format – a non-eliminating tournament format which features a set number of rounds of competition, each competitor does not play every other. Competitors play opponents with a similar running score, but not the same opponent more than once. The winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned in all rounds. All competitors play in each round unless there is an odd number of players. Sets and boards provided. Clocks will be provided, but players are encouraged to bring their own .

*Round Times *

K & 1-4 G/30: 3/16* R 1 @ 9:00am * R 2 @ 10:30am * 3/17* R 3 @ 9:00am * R 4 @ 10:30am * R 5 @ 12:00pm

5-12 G/60: 3/16* R 1 @ 1:00pm * R 2 @ 4:00pm *R 3 @ 7:00pm * 3/17* R 4 @ 3:00pm* R 5 @ 6:00pm

Trophies: K & 1-4 awarded @ 2:00pm on 3/17, 5-12 Trophies awarded @ 8:30pm on 3/17

APPLY ONLINE atwww.FremontChess.com

Information : Contact Chris Torres atChris@uschessmates.com or (209)323-0197

Learning Bee Learning Center, 39977 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539

The registration fee for this tournament is $20. No refunds will be issued after 3/13/19. Sign Up online at FremontChess.com Please call 209.323.0197 or emailChris@uschessmates.com if you have questions.

ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST BE MEMBERS OF THE USCF TO PARTICIPATE IN THE TOURNAMENT.

The Learning Bee, US Chess Mates & the Torres Chess and Music Academy, Inc. Present:

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship

March 16 & 17

Childs Name: ___________________________________________________________

Parents Name: _____________________________ Phone: _______________________

Email: _________________________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________________

USCF ID: ____________________ Grade: _______ School: ______________________

OR ___My child is new and does not yet have a USCF ID

___ Please add $17 for a USCF Membership

My Child will play in Section: (Circle One) K 1-4 5-12

Total Fee: $20 + ___ = $___________

Please make all checks payable to U.S. Chess Mates and bring to the Swiss OR mail to 16691 Colonial Trail, Lathrop, CA 95330

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship | Fremont, CA Patch

February 25, 2019

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship – Fremont, CA – The Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship will take place on March 16-17th at the Learning Bee Learning Center in Fremont.
— Read on patch.com/california/fremont/fremont-scholastic-chess-championship

Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship 2019

February 16, 2019

The Learning Bee, US Chess Mates & the Torres Chess and Music Academy, Inc. Present:

The Fremont Scholastic Chess Championship!

March 16 & 17, 2019

Where: Learning Bee Learning Center, 39977 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539

What: Scholastic (K-12) 5 Round Swiss, Kindergarten (G/30) 1-4 (G/30) & 5-12 Section (G/60)

Cost: Thanks to a generous donation from Joe Lonsdale Sr., the early bird entry fee for this event is only $20!

Trophies are awarded to the top 10 in each section, top school team per section, and the top boy & girl in each grade. All other players will receive medals for participating.

Registration: Each time control (G/30 & G/60) will be limited to only the first 100 applicants. Please do not delay in registering as there is no guarantee that there will be room to register the day of the tournament.

 

USCF Rated SWISS Format: All players must be USCF members. All players must understand USCF tournament rules. USCF Membership fee is $17, per year. SWISS Format – a non-eliminating tournament format which features a set number of rounds of competition, each competitor does not play every other. Competitors play opponents with a similar running score, but not the same opponent more than once. The winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned in all rounds. All competitors play in each round unless there is an odd number of players. Sets and boards provided. Clocks will be provided, but players are encouraged to bring their own.

*Round Times*

K & 1-4 G/30: 3/16 * R 1 @ 9:00am * R 2 @ 10:30am * 3/17 * R 3 @ 9:00am * R 4 @ 10:30am * R 5 @ 12:00pm

5-12 G/60: 3/16 * R 1 @ 1:00pm * R 2 @ 4:00pm *R 3 @ 7:00pm * 3/17 * R 4 @ 3:00pm * R 5 @ 6:00pm

Trophies: K & 1-4 awarded @ 2:00pm on 3/17, 5-12 Trophies awarded @ 8:30pm on 3/17

Register Online at:

http://www.fremontchess.com

Fremont Summer Chess Camp: Day 3

July 2, 2015

We had a lot of memorable moments  during our third day of the Fremont Summer Chess Camp. Don’t forget to sign up for next week’s chess camp!

  
  
  

MSJE Wins the Yes2Chess International School Team Championship in London!

June 25, 2015

The kids from Mission San Jose Elementary School are headed home from London with a huge trophy for winning a prestigious international school team championship. This truly global chess tournament was organized by the UK based Yes2Chess and sponsored by Barclays. In order to represent the United States, Team MSJE first had to defeat the other top chess programs from the United States in the Yes2Chess National Championship. Once MSJE won there, our players were awarded with an all expenses paid trip to London for the International stage of the event.

MSJE-Yes2Chess

Team USA from MSJE: (left to right) Annapoorni Meiyappan, Leo Jiang, Kevin Pan, David Pan, and Rishith Susarla

In London, the kids from MSJE made quick work of the top schools from Sweden, Spain and Norway. Next, the small school from Fremont, California was paired against the Portuguese champions in the Grand Final. MSJE did the USA proud by winning the Grand Final with a score of 4.5 – 1.5

Results from the 2015 Yes2Chess International Challenge Grand Finals

Results from the 2015 Yes2Chess International Challenge Grand Finals

Many chess enthusiasts are likely unaware that the USA wouldn’t have been victorious if not for the amazing efforts of  one Chess Mom, Hui Wang. I first met Hui at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp in 2011 and she has continually impressed me since then with her devotion to her children and chess. Behind every great chess team I have ever coached for is a parent or two who really are the unsung heroes. Parents like Hui and are a huge factor in Mission San Jose Elementary School’s and the United State’s chess success. At MSJE, this parent tradition extends back decades all the way to when Head Coach and Founder Joe Lonsdale started the group.

Finalists from eight different countries enjoying London together.

Yes2Chess finalists from eight different countries enjoying London together.

Of course it was the kids themselves who won the event. Team USA from MSJE was comprised of David Pan, Rishith Susarla, Kevin Pan, Annapoorni Meiyappan and Leo Jiang. Each of these children are chess stars in their own right and together they proved to be an unconquerable force with an overall record in the international stage of 16.5 wins out of a possible 20!

Kevin Pan hanging out with Grandmaster David Howell after Kevin defeated the GM in a simul!

Kevin Pan hanging out with Grandmaster David Howell after Kevin defeated the GM in a simul!

The MSJE Fremont Summer Chess Camp starts on Monday June 29th. For more details and to sign up for the camp, please visit: http://chessandmusic.com/aboutus/

2015 Susan Polgar Foundation’s Nationwide Open for Girls and Boys

November 10, 2014

PolgarflyerFIDE(rev2)

 

Sign up today!


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