SCBC 2020 in Review!!

Sundays: 430 pm – 630 pm Nov 29th – Dec 27th or, Monday Dec 28 – Thurs Dec 31st 10am – noon daily!!


Get the inside track on everything we learned in 2020?

1.) With no tournaments, how do players know they are making progress?
We’ve been accurately translating Chess.com numbers into over the board strength for years! That’s just one of the reasons Chess.com chose us to provide the post round analysis for the 2014 and 2016 Virginia Scholastic Championships!

2.) All of our students know to look for checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices on kings and queens and rooks. We are ready to share 2 more, “no skill required” factors that will help anyone win games faster.

3.) When we asked students to tell us the properties of the pieces, they told us how they moved, not what their properties were! This exercise gives an instant boost in understanding and playing strength!

4.) Pawns are fast!? Players were smiling ear to ear when we focused on the way pawns are supposed to be used. Find out their true value and the entertaining threats they pose when your opponents think that pawns are slow and expendable!

5.) A draw is a win! The key to being a better player is playing up! Understanding the rating system will help you get as many points from a draw as you do from a win!!

Registration is from today until the 28th of November or until Dec 27th depending on which class you pick. Cost for this great year ender is just $99.00! Slots are limited so please register early! Email your name, ratings of any kind, and which course you want to; waterman2010kir@aol.com. We will confirm and send you an invoice.

May your holidays be full of chess!!
Coach Mike C

Virtual Stamina

So how is the virtual school going? It’s hard to sit there for 40-55 minutes, get a 5 or 10 minute break and then repeat that 4 or 5 times in a day. Uninterrupted, that’s like having year round, daily, company training!?! LOL Just imagine it’s a year round chess tournament with 4 or 5 rounds a day! If you want your child to excel, they need to learn more about virtual stamina. My classes have always been 2 hours. If you talk to my students, they’ll tell you that in the 1st couple lessons, I wore them out in 20-30 minutes. In a little over a month, they found themselves going 50, 60, even 75 minutes before they even thought about their snack. Every one of my students can explain, “Chess Fatigue” and what to do about it! They’ve told me it works for more than just chess!

Learning to concentrate at chess is only hard if your opponent is annoying. Every act of thinking about chess encourages optimism, confidence, and commitment. Becoming better at chess is sure to improve their concentration! That includes school work. If you want to know how to get the most from virtual learning, we’ll teach you the shortcuts.

Private lessons only. Homework, No-Homework, and Prodigy Programs are still available. Our programs are 6 – 12 weeks. Ask about the free zoom consultation. Coach Michael Callaham 804-426-6058.

Turning Draws Into Wins! Just 3 fall slots left!?!

Whether it’s chess or body building, every sport is constantly evolving. Some of the variants that are coming out from Alpha Zero are going to change chess training for sure. One of the ways we evolve is to get rid of old ideas and habits! Competitive Chess Players must gain experience at managing risk!! When chess is a toy, there is no risk, not even to the ego!! It’s OK to win, lose or draw and it doesn’t matter how much you miss because there are no rating points on the line.

Let’s talk about the value of a draw and help you understand that a draw is just as good as a win if you manage your risk correctly. To do that, we need to explode a couple of long held myths! Once you enter into competitive chess, it’s win, draw, and never lose. By managing your risk, you can get 25%- 60% more points for a win, enough points to feel like you won from a draw, and if you do lose, they take less points away!

If you played in a quad as a 1200 against a 1400, 1300, and 1200 and scored 1.5, your new rating would be 1220. 2 points would make your new rating 1262!! 1 point would only drop you to 1195. If everyone was rated 1200, 1.5 gets you 1200, 2 points only get’s you 1225, and 1 point would drop you to 1175!! For the lower rated player, a 1300 gave them odds of 9-7 and the 1400 gave them odds of 5-3. These odds, the risk, are all imaginary until you have reached the 1st Category, 1800 and above!! You should expect to lose when chess is a toy. You are obligated to win or draw when it’s a tool! When you lose 3-5 days from work, pay lodging, pay transportation, meals, entry fees, and other expenses, that’s a really expensive toy!!

Myth # 1 … “Look for the best move every time.” Simply ridiculous!?! Look at this position with white to move:

There are 16 equally good moves in this position. There is only the move that suits your taste. I’ll say it again, Grandmasters beat other Grandmasters by making their opponents play unfamiliar middlegames from familiar openings. If you put any classic line on your computer, after about 12-14 moves the positions will read, “=”!!

Myth #2 “Draws don’t get you anywhere?!” Ridiculous!! Draws don’t get you anywhere among equals, but when playing up, you can have more draws than wins and get a, “Category” result.

15 | MICHAEL CALLAHAM |2.0 |D 13|W 4|L 7|D 16|L 6|
VA | 12417373 / R: 1881 ->1910 |N:1

I was playing in an under 2200 section when I earned that performance.

Myth #3 “Experience” is the best teacher”

In chess this is only half true!?! With 100’s of years of games and advice available, why would you be learning from your experiences when you can use someone else’s? Jason Morefield has gotten his rating all the way up to 2337 in just 407 games and only 84 events. He achieved the Category of, Life Master in Jan 2019!! All this talk is about saving the family time, money, and effort. No one is better at that than us! Call for a free consultation and quote! Your wallet, spouse, and other children will thank you!! Call Mike Callaham today. 804-426-6058.

Coaching Saves Time, Money, and Effort! 5 slots left!

That’s not so bold a claim once you get to know us and what we are about. We’re Coaches not instructors, teachers, or relatives. It doesn’t matter what you want to become good at, hiring a coach is supposed to increase efficiency! The thing is, most people teaching chess are to, “Authoritative” in their approach. The most important thing to the student is, not losing!! To say the most important thing is winning is just as naive!!

Today I needed to get some papers notarized. I didn’t feel like carrying my briefcase so I grabbed the August issue of Chess Life Kids and stuffed it in there. As I was closing the mag, I saw this:

Hats off to these kids and parents that are out there making it happen. There’s no reason for someone not to catch fire at this time in the worlds history! I’m predicting a continual increase in the number of chess players during the pandemic.

OK, Here is how coaching saves money, effort, and time!?! I went and checked the US Chess histories of all of the kids in the article. 8 of the 9 kids that got the correct answer are rated!! I think there should have been way more contestants than 9! So here is there stats and my, “Coaches evaluation;

Luger #1 on the 8 yr old list. His current rating is 1821. His record against 1600, 1700, and 1800 players is 9 wins out of 49 games. He has not achieved a category of any kind. With a 60% win ratio he has played 182 games. He has not really been tested yet! At this stage, he should have had that record against 1800, 1900, and 2000 players. Koganov is 12 and did not make his top 100 list because his rating is 1626 and your rating has to be 1795 to get on that list. He is a Category 3 player! The only way to get a category result without a perfect score is to play up! You must earn 5 category results to be awarded a category! He’s played 302 games. This kid has the heart of a lion. He’s played 89 games against players rated 1500 or more. He only won 17 games, but what impressed me was that he had 21 draws. Why is that impressive to a coach? It means he knows how to protect the point!! He was playing up and protected 38 out of those 89 games. Moss is 10 and he could not get on the age 10 list since his rating is 1222 and the minimum is 1548. Moss has not achieved any category results at all. In the last 12 months he has only played 28 games against players rated more than 1200 and was able to get 5 wins and 0 draws. He needs to be playing up! Petukhov is 8 and comes in at number 48 on the 8 yr old list! His rating is 1287! He has played just 74 games and this year he’s only lost 3 out of 17. He needs to be playing up all the time. Whether its study, coaching, natural ability or a combination, he and Koganov look like excellent potential students. Vellore is 9 years old with a rating of 1451. That places him at 88 on the 9 yr old list. He’s achieved a Category 4 putting him on the map as someone that will play up. 1451 for a 9 yr old is usually time to rejoice but in this case he was in the 1400’s when he was 8 and when he was 7!!. In Aug of 2018 he was number 13 for kids under 7 and in August of 2019 he was number 80!! It’s a shame that with his level of interest that he’s not getting the attention he deserves!! His winning percentage is just 43%. Someone has to begin to hold him accountable. He has played 715 career games and he’s 9. That’s just way too many. If someone doesn’t help him he’ll continue to stagnate and quit. Bass is 10 years old with a rating of 1282. He’s on fire! He has acheived this rating with just 39 tournament games! His record is 28-10 with no draws. The only thing to be said about this is great job!! Play up and start looking for that draw!
Su has career is just 5 games, De Melo a career of just 4 games, and Rutowski are not rated!

So there you have it;

24 events, 39 games, 1282

14 events, 74 games, 1287

91 events, 182 games, 1821

88 events, 244 games, 1222

83 events, 301 games, 1626

287 events, 715 games, 1451

By the way, of the 8 that are rated none of them have become Certified Coaches or Certified Tournament Directors

I’ll never stop saying it…today’s players get their ratings from the number of games they are playing, not the strength of their play. They win and lose when they are supposed to and seldom challenge themselves to play up!! That makes all of them beatable!!

So, what would I do!?! Well, I’d need to consult with the player and the parents but if the idea is to get more points with less money, time, and effort, this would cover all of them!

1.) They’ve got to get the challenge set right! Most parents and players of all ages are using prize categories as success markers. The 1st Category that has a rating requirement is Expert/Candidate Master. Counting down you also have Category 1, 2, 3, and 4, players. So with that in mind, the real prize for each event is earning bonus points and achieving a Category result!! A tournament must have at least 4 rounds to qualify as a Category event!!

2.) You must invest time in understanding the rating system! We are on a fluctuating 200% margin system of error that spans 400 points! I know, but let me explain. When 2 players rated 1200 sit down to play each other, they have a 100% chance of beating each other, not a 50% chance of beating each other! When a 1200 sits down to play a 1300 you would think then that the 1200’s chances go down to 75% and the 1300’s chances of winning go to 125%!? Wrong!?! The odds of the 1300 winning are not 5-3. That’s a static evaluation. This is the fluctuating/dynamic part of the evaluation. The 1200’s chances went down to 87.5% and the 1300’s only went up to 112.5%! That means the odds were 9-7!! If a 1200 was playing a 1400, now it’s 75% and 125% and the odds are 5-3. A 1200 playing a 1500 is 62.5% vs 137.5%. That makes the odds 11-5. The points from a draw earned while playing up can sometimes equal what you’d have earned for beating an equal player!! I scored a Category 1 result in an under 2200 section with a score of 1/2/2. 1 win, 2 draws, and 2 loses. At the time, my rating was 1880. My opponents were 2100, 2106, 2099, 2113, and 2199. Yes I beat the 2199. It was 5 time West Virginia Champion, John Roush!! After the tournament, my rating was 1910!

3.) These players range from the top 30% to the top 10% of all the rated players in the country!! When it comes to chess, you must understand that they are not children anymore!? Yes, they are immature, childish, inconsistent etc. but, there are ways to help them understand the difference between toy time and tool time in chess.

4.) At the pace they are playing and because they are kids, it’s likely that they are not thoroughly analyzing their games. When I say thorough, I mean set the board up, verify that the score is accurate, then replay the game noting where there could have been improvements. Now, write down the lines of what you thought could happen. Finally, put the game on an engine and see what it says. Don’t skip any games no matter how much you think you know what happened!!!

If driving, meals, hotels, and entry fees have to be paid, which player do you want to have? What would really be bad is if all of these kids already have a, “Coach”!! Let us save you some trips. Private, Custom, Coaching is just a phone call away!! Mike Callaham, 804-426-6058!!