tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-85563051259573410242022-01-14T05:30:48.591-05:00Elizabeth Spiegel's blogintermittent thoughts on my life and work as the chess coach at IS 318, a public middle school in BrooklynElizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.comBlogger803125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-79290459817649859922019-09-09T05:54:00.002-04:002019-09-10T09:09:11.244-04:00The Scholastic Council Are A Bunch of Cheaters, Part Two.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;For a long time, the National Junior High has had two championship sections, K-8 and K-9.&nbsp; In the last forty years, almost all American intermediate schools have changed from 7-9 to 6-8, making the K-9 section redundant.&nbsp; The only schools that bring 9th graders to nationals are private k-12 schools (and Hunter, a public gifted K-12). Other schools, like TH Rogers and 318 have learned to play in this section, because sometimes its much easier to win, but no one actually has 9th graders except the k-12 privates. Note that even the private K-12 schools generally divide themselves (internally) into k-5, 6-8 and 9-12 sub-schools.<br /><br />The scholastic council just announced changes to the 2019-2020 Scholastic Regulations that eliminates the K-8 section of Junior High Nationals, leaving only the K-9. <b>This gives private schools and Hunter the exclusive right to bring 9th graders, a huge, entirely gratuitous, structural advantage.&nbsp;</b><br /><br />Also keep in mind that private school students in New York are already a full year older than their public school counterparts. Technically it is supposed to be 9 months, but they hold their kids back so they can be the oldest and most accomplished. That means the private schools (and Hunter) have a <b><i>two year</i></b>&nbsp;age advantage on public school kids.<br /><br />In 2016 I was on the Scholastic Committee (the larger, advisory body) and on the subcommittee to redo the nationals sections. We did not remove the K-9 championship section then because there was, at the time, one remaining 7-9 school that competed, Metcalf, and their coach was also on the committee. That school became 6-8 in the last couple years.<br /><br />Sunil Weermantry kicked me off the voluntary Scholastic Committee without warning or notification because he unilaterally felt there were "too many people from New York.<b>" </b>No one else I know was removed. I was an active member of the committee and served on numerous subcommittees. My emails asking to be reinstated were ignored.<br /><br />I know someone will make the argument "why should we reduce the overall attendance numbers at nationals by excluding a grade." But why not include tenth grade? It's exactly the same!<br /><br />THERE ARE NO 7-9 SCHOOLS (ok, I'm sure there are a couple somewhere, but definitely none that consistently attend nationals).<br /><br /><b>Scholastic Council Members and the private schools you teach, let me be the first to CONGRATULATE YOU on most probably winning the next 7/10 National Junior High School Chess Championships!&nbsp; Way to put your finger on the scale and entrench your power!</b><br /><b><br /></b>Beautiful example you are setting for your students.<br /><br />(updated to reflect my calming down and realizing this is a huge but not 100% decisive advantage.)Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-13294295885215198842019-05-22T08:50:00.001-04:002019-05-22T08:51:00.214-04:00I am not meeting my recruitment targetsI find the whole accusation of recruitment weird. I don't think recruitment is in any way wrong, but I am also fairly certain I have never in my life approached anyone and suggested they go to IS 318.<br /><br />Almost two years ago,, I received an email from Kele Perkins (who I know of but don't actually know) saying he was helping out two Chinese families who were thinking to move to NYC and wanted their children to go to a chess school. One kid was 2000, the other was ten and 2300. Both would be amazing, game-changing recruits for IS 318.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; <br />I told them they would be very welcome at IS 318, but that with that rating they could probably get a scholarship somewhere better. I personally approached David MacEnulty at Dalton, Marcus Mairena at Collegiate, and Matan Prilleltensky at Speyer to try to get this kid, who I don't know at all,&nbsp; a scholarship to a better school. I copy an email I sent at the time below. I removed the family's names and emails,&nbsp; but I'm sure Kele, David, Marcus and Matan will all verify my account.<br /><br /><div class="gE iv gt" style="background-color: white; color: #222222; cursor: pointer; font-family: Roboto, RobotoDraft, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px; padding: 20px 0px 0px;"><table cellpadding="0" class="cf gJ" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; border-collapse: collapse; display: block; font-size: 0.875rem; letter-spacing: 0.2px; margin-top: 0px; width: auto;"><tbody style="display: block;"><tr class="acZ" style="display: flex; height: auto;"><td class="gF gK" style="display: block; line-height: 20px; margin: 0px; max-height: 20px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: top; white-space: nowrap; width: 982.951px;"><table cellpadding="0" class="cf ix" style="border-collapse: collapse; table-layout: fixed; width: 982.222px;"><tbody><tr><td class="c2" style="display: flex; margin: 0px;"><h3 class="iw" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: auto; color: #5f6368; font-size: 0.75rem; font-weight: inherit; letter-spacing: 0.3px; line-height: 20px; margin: inherit; max-width: calc(100% - 8px); overflow: hidden; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><span class="qu" role="gridcell" tabindex="-1"><span class="gD" data-hovercard-id="espiegel318@gmail.com" data-hovercard-owner-id="26" email="espiegel318@gmail.com" name="Elizabeth Spiegel" style="color: #202124; display: inline; font-size: 0.875rem; font-weight: bold; letter-spacing: 0.2px; line-height: 20px; vertical-align: top;">Elizabeth Spiegel</span>&nbsp;<span class="go" style="color: #555555; vertical-align: top;"><span aria-hidden="true">&lt;</span>espiegel318@gmail.com<span aria-hidden="true">&gt;</span></span></span></h3><div><span class="qu" role="gridcell" tabindex="-1"><span class="go" style="color: #555555; vertical-align: top;"><span aria-hidden="true"><br /></span></span></span></div><div><span class="qu" role="gridcell" tabindex="-1"><span class="go" style="color: #555555; vertical-align: top;"><span aria-hidden="true"><br /></span></span></span></div><div><span class="qu" role="gridcell" tabindex="-1"><span class="go" style="color: #555555; vertical-align: top;"><span aria-hidden="true"><br /></span></span></span></div><div><span class="qu" role="gridcell" tabindex="-1"><span class="go" style="color: #555555; vertical-align: top;"><span aria-hidden="true"><br /></span></span></span></div><div><span class="qu" role="gridcell" tabindex="-1"><span class="go" style="color: #555555; vertical-align: top;"><span aria-hidden="true"><table cellpadding="0" class="cf gJ" role="presentation" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; border-collapse: collapse; color: #777777; display: block; font-size: 0.875rem; letter-spacing: 0.2px; margin-top: 0px; width: auto;"><tbody style="display: block;"><tr style="display: flex;"><td class="gH bAk" style="align-items: center; color: #222222; display: block; margin: 0px; max-height: 20px; text-align: right; vertical-align: top; white-space: nowrap;"><span alt="Sep 29, 2017, 9:14 PM" class="g3" id=":1bw" role="gridcell" style="color: #5f6368; display: inline-block; font-size: 0.75rem; letter-spacing: 0.3px; line-height: 20px; margin: 0px; vertical-align: top;" tabindex="-1" title="Sep 29, 2017, 9:14 PM">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 9:14 PM</span></td></tr></tbody></table></span></span></span></div></td></tr></tbody></table><table cellpadding="0" class="cf gJ" role="presentation" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; border-collapse: collapse; color: #777777; display: block; font-size: 0.875rem; letter-spacing: 0.2px; margin-top: 0px; width: auto;"><tbody style="display: block;"><tr style="display: flex;"><td class="gF gK" style="display: block; line-height: 20px; margin: 0px; max-height: 20px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 8px; vertical-align: top; white-space: nowrap; width: 943.09px;"><br /></td></tr></tbody></table><table cellpadding="0" class="cf gJ" role="presentation" style="-webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; border-collapse: collapse; color: #777777; display: block; font-size: 0.875rem; letter-spacing: 0.2px; margin-top: 0px; width: auto;"><tbody style="display: block;"><tr style="display: flex;"><td class="gF gK" style="display: block; line-height: 20px; margin: 0px; max-height: 20px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 8px; vertical-align: top; white-space: nowrap; width: 943.09px;"></td><td class="gH bAk" style="align-items: center; color: #222222; display: block; margin: 0px; max-height: 20px; text-align: right; vertical-align: top; white-space: nowrap;"><span alt="Sep 29, 2017, 9:14 PM" class="g3" id=":1bw" role="gridcell" style="color: #5f6368; display: inline-block; font-size: 0.75rem; letter-spacing: 0.3px; line-height: 20px; margin: 0px; vertical-align: top;" tabindex="-1" title="Sep 29, 2017, 9:14 PM">F</span></td></tr></tbody></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div><div class="" style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: Roboto, RobotoDraft, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"><div class="ii gt adO" id=":18y" style="direction: ltr; font-size: 12.8px; margin: 8px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; position: relative;"><div class="a3s aXjCH " id=":18x" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: 1.5; overflow: hidden;"><div dir="auto"><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature">&nbsp; &nbsp;Hi,&nbsp;</div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature">&nbsp;So I spoke with teachers at three elite private schools in NYC, Dalton, Collegiate, and Speyer Legacy. They all have strong chess programs and the coach at each believes the school would seriously consider giving **** a scholarship if he applied. They can't really know without knowing more about **** academically, but historically strong young players who move to NYC end up at some top school, so I would be optimistic.&nbsp;</div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature">&nbsp; &nbsp; If **** is moving soon, I can send you links to applications, which would be the next step. If it's not until next September or later, then it can wait.&nbsp;</div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Of course, we would again love to have him at IS 318. I only suggest these schools because it's what I would choose for my child and I suspect you could do it for free.&nbsp;</div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature">&nbsp; &nbsp;All the best</div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature">Elizabeth Spiegel<br /><br />Sent from my iPhone</div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature"><br /></div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iAw5UptXywQ/XOVFQMFxa4I/AAAAAAAATnU/_YzR-838UKwJpNx0z98xuQc-M8gXYnAWgCLcBGAs/s1600/ability.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1122" data-original-width="1417" height="253" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-iAw5UptXywQ/XOVFQMFxa4I/AAAAAAAATnU/_YzR-838UKwJpNx0z98xuQc-M8gXYnAWgCLcBGAs/s320/ability.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div id="m_661644949939359681AppleMailSignature"><br /></div></div></div></div></div>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-51476387298519172842019-05-17T10:59:00.000-04:002019-05-22T21:45:54.010-04:00The Scholastic Council Should All ResignThe Scholastic Council should all resign.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Let me backtrack.&nbsp; In late March, Nura Baala, 7th grade, 1900, transferred from Success Academy to IS 318. She had been constantly disciplined at Success for minor infractions-- if you don't know this charter chain's reputation, it's for military style discipline and daily standardized test practice.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp;At Girls Nationals, a week and a half after she transferred, Success complained that she should not be allowed to play.&nbsp; The head TD, Jeff Weibel, did not speak to us to ascertain the facts of the case. He simply removed Nura from the team, changed her team code from 318NY to 318Ny (in order to "not hurt her feelings") and DID NOT TELL US ANYTHING AT ANY POINT. The organizer of the event, NTD David Heiser, came in Sunday morning to tell us they had changed their minds because banning transfer students wasn't in any rules at all, and we were like "what? you did what?" He apologized to us and said there was absolutely no rule prohibiting her playing.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp;The simple failure to communicate is ridiculous on every level.&nbsp; Why wouldn't you at least ask us how long she had been going to 318? Or tell us when you remove a top player from our team? How is that acceptable behavior on a most basic human level?<br />&nbsp; <br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;But ok, we aren't vindictive people and we didn't make a fuss.<br /><br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;A week later, three days before junior high nationals begins, we get a letter from Boyd Reid saying "<span style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">US Chess has long striven to avoid schools purposely recruiting players for the purpose of assembling so-called scholastic “superteams”, under the reasonable belief that this would create an unfair competitive imbalance.&nbsp; Allowing a player to transfer to a new school in the same academic semester as a national tournament, and then permitting that player to join the new team immediately, flies directly in the face of that tradition."</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">&nbsp;</span>. They cited a rule for national youth events that reads:<br /><br />4 TEAM REQUIREMENTS FOR NATIONAL YOUTH EVENTS This Section describes Team requirements for National Youth events <b>only</b>—e.g., the U.S. Junior Chess Congress, the National Youth Action Championship, and the U.S. Junior Open. For Team Requirements that apply to other National Scholastic events, please see Rule 13.2.<br /><br />This rule clearly states it does not apply. Boyd then cites NCAA rules, and national high school athletic association rules, none of which even remotely apply.<br /><br />The Scholastic council voted 5-0-2 to allow Boyd Reed to remove Nura from our team. The Scholastic Council are largely private school coaches with strong personal interests in hurting other teams. Sunil and Danny Rohde "abstained" but they abstained only to make themselves look innocent after it was obvious the measure would pass.<br /><br />We complained to the USCF executive board, and they overturned the Scholastic Council's ruling 5-2, saying "Section 13 which covers team composition at national scholastic events does not include any language requiring the player to attend the school they are playing for at the national scholastic to be enrolled at that school for the entire semester."&nbsp;<span style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 11pt;">&nbsp;It is extremely rare for the EB to get involved in scholastic issues, but they recognized that this decision was ridiculous.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 11pt;"><br /></span><span style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: &quot;arial&quot; , &quot;helvetica&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 11pt;"><b>Either this was a blatant attempt by Boyd Reed, Sunil Weermantry, Beatriz Marinello, Joe Lonsdale, Robby Adamson, Eric Vigil, and Danny Rohde to cheat, or they lack 6th grade reading comprehension skills. I see no other way to understand the situation.&nbsp;</b></span><br /><br /><br />It seems relevant to mention that Speyer Legacy, one of Sunil's teams, is famous for recruiting a very large percent of their team .<br /><br />And while we're talking about cheating, Sunil's school, Bronxville, that came second in the K-12 Under 1900 section, <a href="https://patch.com/new-york/bronxville/bronxville-chess-team-earns-2nd-place-national-competition" target="_blank">had two eighth grade students from the middle school illegally playing on the high school team</a>.&nbsp; While the elementary, high school and junior high are in the same building, they have separate principals and thus are considered different schools, per USCF regs that Sunil helped write. So he clearly <b>knew</b> he was cheating.<br /><br />I used to be an active member of the larger Scholastic Committee, which elects the Scholastic Council. I was removed by Sunil without my knowledge or consent because he decided "there were too many New York people." He does not respond to my emails asking to be reinstated.&nbsp; He obviously removed me to consolidate political power.<br /><br />The Scholastic Council is made up of people with strong vested interests and they have shown themselves to be biased. I no longer have faith in any of them. They should all be<b> deeply personally&nbsp; ashamed</b> to have made up rules in such a totally ludicrous fashion to try to cheat a little girl. They have abused their positions and they should all resign.<br /><br /><br /><br />Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com11tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-77478330187192397642019-03-03T08:59:00.003-05:002019-03-03T08:59:49.511-05:00Chess Educator of the Year TalkHeres a talk I gave for the Chess Educator of the Year Award at UT Dallas.<br /><a href="https://youtu.be/__CPZu4ckjM">https://youtu.be/__CPZu4ckjM</a>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-42755594242972699372019-02-25T09:26:00.000-05:002019-02-25T13:07:41.339-05:00"Absolutely Unforgivable"<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fi8J8MD1P-Y/XHP6-LtjrXI/AAAAAAAATig/GqjrG4aHDFED2IxdHOJGFjIRawBo5WozgCLcBGAs/s1600/3c18f8bc8b2305d5ffe238ef433df779--lady-justice-esoteric-symbols.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="441" data-original-width="702" height="201" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fi8J8MD1P-Y/XHP6-LtjrXI/AAAAAAAATig/GqjrG4aHDFED2IxdHOJGFjIRawBo5WozgCLcBGAs/s320/3c18f8bc8b2305d5ffe238ef433df779--lady-justice-esoteric-symbols.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>My hat is off to the USCF Ethics Committee for coming to the correct decision in the Henderson case, also for some beautiful writing and incisive reasoning.<br /><br />In copying the text, some formatting was removed so I attempted to add the section breaks and headings back in. It looked much nicer in the original and I apologize to everyone for that. I removed the page numbers and a few letters from the minors' last names.&nbsp; Otherwise the letter is exactly as received.<br /><br />In case you don't feel like reading the whole thing, here's the conclusion:<br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><b>The committee majority finds this behavior by Coach Ramirez to be absolutely unforgivable. This majority takes the position that an adult who uses his position of authority to influence children to commit unethical acts has committed the most serious violation of the Code of Ethics. It is also worth noting that while he was apparently trying to enhance the self-esteem of his players by gaining them undeserved prizes at the national scholastics, he was simultaneously crushing the dreams of players from other schools, many of whom were also poor and facing serious challenges at home. The committee majority therefore agrees that its recommendation of a permanent membership revocation is fully justified.</b></span><br /><br /><br />February 22, 2019<br />Ms. Elizabeth Spiegel<br /><br />Dear Ms. Spiegel:<br />The US Chess Ethics Committee has considered the complaint by John Galvin and eighteen other complainants against Saul Ramirez and sixteen other respondents. We first give the basic decisions and recommendations with respect to each respondent, followed by an overall case summary and the committee’s analysis of the evidence.<br />For ease of reference, here is a list of the Code sections under which the various charges fell, accompanied by a brief quote of the relevant language from each:<br />Section 6 (preamble) – “…action or behavior that is …inconsistent with the principles of fair play, good sportsmanship, honesty, and respect for the rights of others…”<br />Section 6 (a) – “Intentional violations of tournament regulations, or of any other regulations pertaining to USCF activities and goals…”<br />Section 6 (c) – “Deliberately losing a game for payment, or to lower one's rating, or for any other reason; or attempting to induce another player to do so. Deliberately failing to play at one's best in a game, in any manner inconsistent with the principles of good sportsmanship, honesty, or fair play.”<br />Section 6 (d) – “Deliberately misrepresenting one's playing ability in order to compete in a tournament or division of a tournament intended for players of lesser ability…”<br />Section 6 (e) – “…submitting a falsified rating report.”<br />Section 6 (g) – “Purposely giving false information in order to circumvent or violate any rule or regulation or goal recognized by US Chess.”<br />Now the decisions:<br /><h4>Coach Saul Ramirez</h4>By four identical votes of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Saul Ramirez has violated Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (a), 6 (c) and 6 (g). By a further vote of 8-2, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that his US Chess membership be permanently revoked.<br /><h4>TD William Barela</h4>By a vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee finds William Barela not guilty of violating section 6 (a) of the Code.<br />By a vote of 8-2, with David Hater recused, the committee finds William Barela not guilty of violating section 6 (e) of the Code.<br />By a vote of 8-2, with David Hater recused, the committee finds William Barela not guilty of violating section 6 (g) of the Code.<br />Notwithstanding these findings, the committee recommends (at Mr. Barela’s own request) that his entire TD history be referred to the Tournament Director Certification Committee for review.<br /><h4>TD Augustine Valverde</h4>By three identical votes of 9-0, with one abstention and David Hater recused, the committee finds Augustine Valverde not guilty of violating sections 6 (a), 6 (e) and 6 (g) of the Code.<br />Former Assistant Coach/Assistant TD David Alvarado<br />By three identical votes of 9-0, with one abstention and David Hater recused, the committee finds David Alvarado not guilty of violating sections 6 (a), 6 (e) and 6 (g) of the Code.<br /><h4>Thirteen Members and Former Members of the Henderson Middle School Chess Team</h4>By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Devante A***re has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 8-2, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Dereck Al***a has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Chris C* has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Pedro C***ar has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Aileen Ma****z has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that she receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Steven M***a has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br /><br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Carlos P***no has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 6-4, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Nathan R***s has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Juan R****ez has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Saul R***ez Jr. has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Eduardo Re**na has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that he receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Angelica V**ez has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that she receive a reprimand.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee finds that Allesandra R**z has violated at least one of Code sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) and 6 (d). By a further vote of 9-1, with David Hater recused, the committee recommends that she receive a reprimand.<br />The Code of Ethics defines a reprimand as follows: “A determination that a member has committed an offense warranting discipline becomes a matter of record, but no further sanction is imposed at the time. A reprimand automatically carries a probation of at least three months, or longer if so specified. If the member is judged guilty of another offense during the probation, he or she is then liable to further sanctions for both offenses.” The entire Code may be found here: http://www.uschess.org/content/view/7538/189/<br /><h3>Additional Recommended Sanctions</h3>The committee makes the following additional recommendations:<br />1. All prizes won by Henderson Middle School players at the National Junior High School Championships, held in April 2018, shall be revoked. The US Chess Director of Events shall have responsibility for deciding whether or how to adjust scores and reallocate prizes. (Approved by a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused.)<br />2. All of the thirteen junior respondents charged in this complaint shall be barred from “under” sections at all national scholastic tournaments for a period of five years. They may enter only championship sections. (Approved by a vote of 6-4, with David Hater recused.)<br />3. Henderson Middle School shall be placed on probation for a period of two years. During this time, all entries to “under” sections at national scholastic tournaments by Henderson players not named in this complaint shall be subject to review before they are approved. The US Chess Director of Events and the Scholastic Council shall have joint responsibility for this task. (Approved by a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused.)<br /><h3>Case Summary</h3>The complainants in this case are coaches and players from several schools who had teams participating in the National Junior High School Championships, held in April 2018. They allege that in January 2018, Coach Saul Ramirez of the Henderson Middle School in El Paso, TX arranged several tournaments in which he instructed his players to lose games deliberately, with the purpose of lowering their ratings enough to make them eligible for “under” sections at the nationals – and in some cases at the Texas Scholastic Championships, held in March 2018. They also present evidence purporting to show a similar pattern of events before nationals in prior years. They further allege that three TDs participated in the scheme in 2018, by mis-coding tournaments and designing sections in a way intended to maximize rating changes.<br />In support of their charges, the complainants present an elaborate statistical analysis focusing on the three events from January 2018. In the first two events, the Texas players (most with well- established ratings) faced opponents from New Mexico who mostly had lower, provisional ratings. In the third event, the Henderson players faced their own coaches and other adults. The adults had a slight average rating edge in the third event. The combined score of the Henderson players in these three events was one win, 49 losses and one draw. The complainants assert that this result is impossible with fair play.<br />The complainants also draw attention to a book written by Saul Ramirez, where there appears a story about an incident in which he pressures one of his players to pre-arrange the result of a game. They note that while the game result in the story is a draw, the actual result (which appears in the MSA tournament record) was a loss.<br />In their replies to the complaint, the respondents deny all charges. Coach Saul Ramirez does not address the statistical evidence directly but merely asserts in several places that such inconsistent results are normal for scholastic players, especially those who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and face extreme challenges in their personal lives.<br />With respect to the story and other items related to his book, Ramirez provides a statement from the publisher, John Seidlitz, who claims that many inaccuracies related to the publicity were due to his staff’s unfamiliarity with chess. Seidlitz also explains that many parts of the book, based on interviews with Ramirez and the players, were subjected to “editing” and “polishing.” Ramirez cites<br />this letter and asserts that, “The Leo vs. Brandon story in the book, as John Seidlitz mentions in his letter, was polished for story purposes.”<br />The TDs all assert that they merely reported the results that came in and that they did not mis-code these events deliberately.<br />The junior respondents provide a mixture of statements from the parents and the players. The players all insist that they play honestly; several relate personal issues that they say periodically produce dramatically negative results in their play. The parents uniformly extol the honesty and integrity of their children and express indignation at the charges. Many also describe in great detail the relentless hard work they say their children have invested in the study of chess. All assert that Coach Ramirez has had a huge positive influence on the children.<br />In the final set of comments from stage 4, a statistician associated with TD Augustine Valverde finally addresses the analysis provided by the complainants. He notes that the various rating scenarios analyzed by the complainants’ statistician do not take into account that many of the ratings of the non-Henderson players in the three specified events are provisional. Provisional ratings based on only a few games can be hundreds of points more inaccurate than in even the most extreme case analyzed by the complainants. In other words, he argues that the provisionally rated players could be tremendously stronger than those ratings, making the lopsided results seen in the three events much more likely.<br /><h3>The Jurisdiction Process</h3>When the committee first received this case, it was noted that two of the potential respondents were age 12. This made it necessary for the committee to activate a new procedure for parties under the age of 13. Under this procedure, an Ombudsman elected from among the members of the Ethics Committee contacts the families of the young individuals and attempts to resolve the matter in an informal way, without resorting to the full ethics process.<br />Unfortunately, only U.S. Mail addresses were available for these two individuals, so there was no opportunity for a quick back and forth in communication. The committee’s Ombudsman, Mr. Harold Stenzel, wrote to the two families but, when they received these letters from someone they did not recognize as an official U.S. Chess contact, they responded only with suspicion and hostility. With no substantive response to report, Mr. Stenzel recommended that the two age 12 individuals join the other potential respondents in the normal jurisdiction process. The committee then voted unanimously to accept jurisdiction as to all respondents.<br />In subsequent discussions with the US Chess Executive Board, it was agreed that if such a situation should arise in the future, the first contact will be made by a member of the Executive Board, on official US Chess letterhead. The Ombudsman can then take over the discussion.<br /><br /><h3>The Committee’s Analysis</h3>After reviewing all the evidence, the committee unanimously agreed on two core conclusions:<br />1. The results seen in the three cited tournaments could not have occurred unless most of the Henderson players lost games deliberately.<br />2. The Henderson players who lost games deliberately did so on the instructions of the Coach, Saul Ramirez.<br />Some additional conclusions were reached by a majority and will be detailed below.<br /><h4>Coach Saul Ramirez</h4>The committee does not agree with Coach Ramirez that the observed results in these tournaments are in any way normal or that they can they be explained by serious personal issues of the players. As documented by the complainants, many of their players are also minority students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, who also face difficult challenges in their personal lives. However, none of them display the same wildly fluctuating results as the Henderson players - in particular, very poor results in small events just before the rating cutoff for the national scholastics, followed by dramatically stronger results at the nationals. Further, while the committee certainly understands that players can and do have bad tournaments, the committee did not find it credible that all of the Henderson players had a bad day in each of the three cited tournaments.<br />The respondents did not provide evidence of specific issues that would have affected each of the Henderson players and instead simply chalk up results of one win, 49 losses, and one draw in three events to three “bad days” that just coincidentally occurred right before the rating cutoff. Following these results, several of the respondents then went on to play in the under sections at the 2018 National Junior High School Championships, at which Henderson won the team prize for both the U1000 and U750 sections and at which certain respondents captured the individual first and second overall in the U1000 section and first overall in the U750 sections, along with other results indicating a level of strength considerably higher than that shown by the respondents in the three events cited above.<br />The committee also takes issue with the implication that the charges are somehow influenced by some sort of bias. At one point, Coach Ramirez states in passing, “It may be unfathomable to some to see low-income, Mexican American students succeed at a game like chess…”, while at another, one of the parents makes a remark about “minority teams” getting a fair shake. The statistics cited by the complainants are drawn from the US Chess database of rated game results, which span over 25 years and includes the records of thousands of players from every conceivable racial, cultural and socio-economic group. They apply to everyone.<br />The committee also notes several points where Coach Ramirez and other respondents seem to suggest that all the statistics are just meaningless numbers that don’t have any applicability to real human beings. However, the charts, graphs and math are just a way of describing a very simple,<br />real world truth – that when any large group of humans engages in a skill-based activity, after you<br />accumulate enough data (as the MSA does with thousands of game results over 25 years) the results tend to fall into predictable patterns. This in no way infringes on the concept of free will, it just illustrates that the total range of human performance, at anything, is finite. While there are always a few small deviations from expected results, the larger the group being studied, the more unlikely certain events become. Beyond a certain point, in the absence of any common factor which might influence the results, some things are just impossible. The three tournaments mentioned in this complaint, especially the EP vs. EG event with its 0-28 result for Henderson players, are such a case.<br />In the statement from the book publisher John Seidlitz, he writes, “None of our team has previous experience with chess and the particular language used by the U.S. Chess Federation. Because of this, we made some mistakes in our promotion of the book.” Fair enough. The committee accepts this explanation and agrees that it shows that Coach Ramirez did not have any financial incentives associated with the success of the book and that much of the “hype” associated with the book publicity was not his doing. However, the publisher can’t have it both ways.<br />The publishing team can’t both be unfamiliar with chess but yet knowledgeable enough to search the MSA, pick out a specific tournament and game, and put together the “Leo vs. Brandon” story with the correct names of the players. There is one and only one place that story could have come from and that is Coach Ramirez. No amount of “editing” or “polishing” could provide the level of detail that appears in that story. The whole thrust of the story is Ramirez’ pride in having pressured one of his players to pre-arrange a game result, “for the Team.” That he changes the actual game result from a loss to a draw in the story only demonstrates that he knew what he was doing was wrong.<br /><br />The committee majority finds this behavior by Coach Ramirez to be absolutely unforgivable. This majority takes the position that an adult who uses his position of authority to influence children to commit unethical acts has committed the most serious violation of the Code of Ethics. It is also worth noting that while he was apparently trying to enhance the self-esteem of his players by gaining them undeserved prizes at the national scholastics, he was simultaneously crushing the dreams of players from other schools, many of whom were also poor and facing serious challenges at home. The committee majority therefore agrees that its recommendation of a permanent membership revocation is fully justified.<br /><h4>TD William Barela</h4>The complainants allege that the mis-coding of the first two January 2018 tournaments (in which Barela was Chief TD), as well as the odd design of the sections, prove his complicity in the rating manipulation scheme. However, it turns out that the mis-coding of events by TDs is a lot more common than one might suppose.<br />The committee studied Barela’s entire TD history, going back to 2015, and learned that he has routinely mis-coded events, including many where he would have no incentive to do it deliberately, as they were of no special significance. In fact, he seems to get it wrong more than he gets it right. There are also some strangely designed sections similar to the second 2018 event (UU 1_19_2018), in which<br />there appear strangely distributed unplayed games, byes and half-point byes – and even some instances where players are listed who play no games at all. The overall impression is of a TD who has a very poor understanding of both pairing software and the MSA. It was not unanimous but the majority of the committee concluded that the mis-coding of the tournaments and the unusual section design were the result of simple incompetence.<br />Barela himself suggests that his TD history be referred to the TDCC. The committee accepts that suggestion and will make the referral. Mr. Barela will be expected to cooperate fully with their inquiry.<br /><h4>TD Augustine Valverde and Assistant TD David Alvarado</h4>Mr. Valverde directed the third event from January 2018, the Borderland Cubes, with David Alvarado assisting. They also each played three games in the event, scoring a combined 6-0 against Henderson players. This event was also mis-coded.<br />Mr. Valverde has no direct connection to the Henderson chess program and while Alvarado formerly did, his testimony shows that he had no contact with the school for several months before the January 2018 event he participated in. The committee saw no incentive for these individuals to be involved in rating manipulation and concluded that they were most likely not informed about what Coach Ramirez had instructed the players to do. While there were some misgivings about it, in the end the committee majority acquitted both on all charges.<br /><h3>The Statistical Defense</h3>Mr. Valverde recruited a statistician who argues, in effect, that the provisionally rated non-Henderson players could be far stronger than in any case examined by the complainants, making the observed game results plausible. As it happens, in the many months since those January 2018 tournaments, some (but not all) of the non-Henderson players have played a significant number of additional rated games. If these players were really much stronger than their Henderson opponents, one would expect to see evidence of it. The committee studied the MSA records of these players, spanning about six months after the January 2018 tournaments.<br />In the first of the three tournaments in question, “EP vs EG”, seven Henderson and former Henderson players faced seven non-Henderson players from New Mexico. Each Henderson player contested two games each against two NM players. All told, the Henderson players scored 0-28.<br />Of the seven NM players, only one had an established rating. Only that one player shows a subsequent rating increase (from 1058 to 1360) large enough to make it plausible that he might score 4-0. However, even that must be questioned, as one of his opponents that day has subsequently increased his own rating from 1054 to 1402, over the same time span. None of the other players show any sign of being much stronger than their January provisional ratings. The same pattern holds for the non-Henderson players in the second January tournament, “UU 1_19_2018.” The evidence simply doesn’t support the suggestion that the non-Henderson players were strong enough to make the observed results even remotely possible.<br /><br />It is worth noting that the statements provided by some of the Henderson parents also undermine this scenario. They outline in great detail the relentless study of chess put in by their children, over many months and even years. This makes it even less plausible that all of these children would simultaneously have a “bad day”, losing repeatedly to far less experienced players.<br />Thirteen Members and Former Members of the Henderson Middle School Chess Team<br />While the committee agreed unanimously that the results from the three January 2018 tournaments could not have occurred unless most of the players lost games deliberately, there was also agreement that a few could have played honestly. However, the majority could find no way to distinguish between those who participated in the scheme and those who did not. The statements from the parents and the players were all very similar.<br />The committee also considers it significant that none of the Henderson players submitted game scores, to permit the committee to judge for itself the relative strength of the various players. Those game scores do exist; there is a photograph in the case packet of the EP vs EG event in progress, showing all the players on both teams keeping score.<br />The committee majority came to an agreement that even those who did not participate would have known about it. Even if Coach Ramirez spoke privately to the involved players, we consider it likely that the others would learn of it. Ramirez own testimony reveals that the Henderson chess team was a tightly knit group, who were together on a daily basis for months. The kids would naturally talk to each other and word would get around. Given the universal denials of all charges, this means that all 13 juniors have lied about the scheme either to their parents, the committee or both. The committee considers that a violation of Code section 6 (preamble). Accordingly, the vote was configured so that members of the committee could vote on whether they found a violation of any of sections 6 (preamble), 6 (c) or 6 (d), without specifying which ones applied to each respondent.<br />The junior respondents were all found guilty of something. Some may have violated only 6 (preamble) while others may have violated all three sections. In selecting sanctions, the committee chose what it thought was most appropriate for the least serious offense, 6 (preamble). That way, no member of this group who did not participate in the scheme receives a more serious sanction than he or she deserves. The committee also takes into consideration the fact that these juniors were under the influence of their highly respected coach. For these reasons, the committee recommends a reprimand for each member of the group, which is the least serious sanction. The committee also considers its additional recommendations for the players and school to be appropriate steps.<br />By a vote of 10-0, with David Hater recused, the committee agrees that this letter fairly represents its position.<br />Sincerely, Hal Terrie (2018-19 Ethics Committee Chair)Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-36949462559642227052018-04-26T09:08:00.001-04:002018-04-26T09:59:32.985-04:00no nillion for you<br />We had two math and statistics professionals look into the likelihood of the New Mexico/ Henderson events occurring. <br /><br /><div>The first report is from an experienced data scientist, who prefers to remain anonymous, but whose professional opinion I sought and whose report I will be forwarding to the ethics committee. The data scientist examined three scenarios in the <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201801156312">Jan 15 tournament</a>, one using pre-tournament ratings, one using post-tournament ratings, and a third using the lowest published rating in the past year of the Henderson students and the peak ratings of their opponents. The data scientist found that the chances of the Jan 15 tournament occurring, assuming pre-tournament ratings were accurate, is 0.000000000000000000000000000000888, which is less than one in one nonillion (1 with 30 zeroes after it). That is approximately a billion times the number of stars in the observable universe.<br /><br />Assuming post-tournament ratings led to a probability of 0.000000000045, which is less than 1 in 100 billion (note that 100 billion is the approximate number of stars in our galaxy).<br /><br />And the third (most favorable to Henderson) scenario, assuming the Henderson students were at their past-year weakest and the opponents were at their lifetime strongest, still found a likelihood of only is 0.000000037, which is less than 1 in 10 million.<br /><br />A second analysis was done by a parent on my team who works in computer programming and statistics. I present his work and conclusions below; for obvious reasons they are very similar to the above. They are slightly different in scenario two because the first statistician assumed post tournament ratings of both sides and the second analysis assumed only post tournament ratings of the New Mexico players. (This scenario was run because an argument is being made that the New Mexican players' ratings were provisional and inaccurate, see below.)<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oYP6dGB1OPs/WuHaHNC4kRI/AAAAAAAATVc/6MZ9owgZ_LU28WQ16IWcztYWyJsiD84IgCLcBGAs/s1600/children-moms-daughters-millions-trillions-sayings-mgrn971_low.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="300" data-original-width="400" height="240" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oYP6dGB1OPs/WuHaHNC4kRI/AAAAAAAATVc/6MZ9owgZ_LU28WQ16IWcztYWyJsiD84IgCLcBGAs/s320/children-moms-daughters-millions-trillions-sayings-mgrn971_low.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br /><b> Base Analysis</b><br /><br />The main argument is that the <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201801156312-15955781">EP vs. EG</a> tournament is highly implausible. The ratings difference between the winners and losers is much too wide for such a number of simultaneous upsets to occur.<br /><br />This analysis looked at each individual game, calculated the odds of losing each game, and then calculated the odds of a 0-28 score based on those odds. The odds of losing a given game is given by the USCF ELO model (see resources below). Specifically, the odds of losing a given game is 1 minus the odds of winning a game given two ratings:<br /><br /><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IKCBzvqwQEM/WuHOZh0ulPI/AAAAAAAATVA/rszP1109sCYQKflPzh8l37H6H-veygalQCLcBGAs/s1600/insert%2B1.PNG"><img border="0" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IKCBzvqwQEM/WuHOZh0ulPI/AAAAAAAATVA/rszP1109sCYQKflPzh8l37H6H-veygalQCLcBGAs/s320/insert%2B1.PNG" /></a><br /><br />This analysis excludes the possibility of draws, but if we included those odds the odds of losing any given game would be lower, so would only strengthen this argument. <br /><br /><div>Given the above, the odds of such a lopsided tournament occuring is once in 1.13 x 10^30. In plain English, that's once in a nonillion chance of occuring (We had to look that up; see resources below).<br /><br /><br />5 sigma is often used as an extreme hurdle to determine validity or significance. Scientists used it to validate the discovery of a new particle (see <a href="http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=103">article</a>). 5 sigma is an event that occurs once in 3.5 milliontimes. Not billion. Not trillion.<br /><br /><br /><b> Post-event Peak Analysis</b><br /><br />One argument in defense of the upset team is that the opponent ratings were provisional and therefore meaningless. It's true that six out of the seven winners had provisional ratings. We ran the same test as the above, but this time using the peak ratings of the opponents after the above suspicious event.<br /><br />Sure enough, most of the provisionally rated opponents had their ratings move up (even though much of it occured by beating their much higher rated opponents in the above event!). As of April, 2018, four players still had provisional ratings, but two of those had 24 and 25 games respectively, so their ratings are close to non-provisional (26 games needed for non-provisional rating).<br /><br />Using these peak ratings of the opponents, running the same analysis shows the odds of a 0-28 sweep/upset is one in 1.44 x 10^16. <br /><br />Or, in plain English, one in 14 quadrillion.<br /><br />This seems like a fair analysis; if you look through the histories of the provisionally rated players, there isn't much to indicate that they are materially, grossly underrated. They do show patterns of consistently losing to low rated players etc.<br /><br /><b> Even-match Analysis</b><br /><br />Finally, all this math aside, the simplest analysis is to just look at the odds of a 0-28 sweep of an evenly matched team, which is far from the case here. The odds of such an upset is simply 0.5^28.<br /><br />Using this method, we get the odds of this occurring as one in 268 million. Remember, 5 sigma is a once in 3.5 million event, good enough to validate the discovery of a new particle. <br /><br /></div><div><b>Conclusion</b><br />Given the above analysis, and especially even the last 'even-match', sanity-check analysis, it is safe (or exceedingly, astronomically safe) to say that this was not a valid event.<br /><br /><br />We have seen various analyses on this (including one from a math Phd, professional quantitative analyst/statistician), and numbers may vary due to rounding and other issues, but the conclusion is basically the same; this event is an astronomically unlikely event to have occured normally.<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8-4WDsFn8lQ/WuHRn6Y8icI/AAAAAAAATVM/ux2PA0TOg7oXWZu4cegnWLKK7-Aisfv6QCEwYBhgL/s1600/statistical-joke.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="320" data-original-width="265" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8-4WDsFn8lQ/WuHRn6Y8icI/AAAAAAAATVM/ux2PA0TOg7oXWZu4cegnWLKK7-Aisfv6QCEwYBhgL/s1600/statistical-joke.jpg" /></a></div><br style="background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Arial, sans-serif, &quot;Apple Color Emoji&quot;, &quot;Segoe UI Emoji&quot;, &quot;Segoe UI Symbol&quot;; font-size: 16px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;" /></div></div>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com10tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-53809451145630848492018-04-20T13:24:00.002-04:002018-04-20T21:41:52.059-04:00"but I can beat him, Mister"&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Let me say first that my assistant principal, John Galvin, is the <b>greatest detective in the world</b>. He's the one who originally caught the Henderson cheating, basically figured out everything they did going back a couple years.<br /><br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; So yesterday I see him hunched over his desk, reading a small book. It turns out to be <u>The Champions Game</u>, by Saul Ramirez.<br />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Let's read along:<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YzudfGOJkTI/WtoDY73UtCI/AAAAAAAATUc/S36Ig5pPLTw-gJQlfHypfZ5GKDGRLBIiQCLcBGAs/s1600/54585112608__705E031E-1D66-4C25-86B2-C173D9978899.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1200" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YzudfGOJkTI/WtoDY73UtCI/AAAAAAAATUc/S36Ig5pPLTw-gJQlfHypfZ5GKDGRLBIiQCLcBGAs/s320/54585112608__705E031E-1D66-4C25-86B2-C173D9978899.jpeg" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tpumxwLLgpY/WtoDZ3oosYI/AAAAAAAATUg/7S8wiROwH_89P5K9k9aKpzjlODHANYT7wCLcBGAs/s1600/54585113863__666715B3-E548-4747-BBC3-E92682C74ED9.jpeg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1600" data-original-width="1200" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tpumxwLLgpY/WtoDZ3oosYI/AAAAAAAATUg/7S8wiROwH_89P5K9k9aKpzjlODHANYT7wCLcBGAs/s320/54585113863__666715B3-E548-4747-BBC3-E92682C74ED9.jpeg" width="240" /></a></div><br />In my mind, telling a kid who wants to play to draw is unethical. You can ask, if it means the team wins. But if the kid wants to play for a personal championship, you have to respect that. He earned the chance. Leaning on him is an abuse of power.<br /><br />But now think for a minute about this story. <i>Why would it hurt the team for the top two scorers to have a decisive result vs a draw?</i>&nbsp;It can't. Either way, the team gets one point. In fact, they were up <b>five points</b> going into the round -- they had already clinched it.<br /><br />Now look at the <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201503297782.6" target="_blank">crosstable</a>&nbsp;(MS Novice);<br /><span style="background-color: #274e13;"><br /></span><br /><pre><span style="background-color: #274e13;"> <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblPlr.php?201503297782-006-15707532">1</a> | <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?15707532">LEO GONZALEZ</a> |6.0 |W 9|W 33|W 24|W 5|W 11|W 6|L 2|<br /> TX | 15707532 / R: Unrated-&gt; 976P7 | | | | | | | | |<br />-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblPlr.php?201503297782-006-15707553">2</a> | <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?15707553">BRANDON CABALLERO</a> |6.0 |W 27|L 7|W 19|W 24|W 13|W 12|W 1|<br /> TX | 15707553 / R: Unrated-&gt; 931P7 | | | | | | | | |<br />-------</span></pre><pre style="background-color: white;"></pre><br />He didn't tell Leo to draw; he told him to <b>lose</b>. Why? It boggles the mind. I guess he wanted two co-champions rather than one. Reread the dialogue, this time knowing the kid is begging to play the game honestly and he's being told to throw it. The chutzpah of writing "He understood it, but his ego was fighting the concept of sacrificing in order to achieve something greater" just blows my mind.<br /><div><br /></div><div><br /><div><br /></div><div>Also, this isn't cheating, but did you guys watch the video about Henderson girls in Mike's article? Where Ramirez says "I'm not going to lie, I had to read a lot of books about how to coach a girls' team ...They mess up their positions in a whole different way"&nbsp; wtf?</div></div>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-79732195335348716032018-04-17T19:13:00.000-04:002018-04-17T19:42:21.839-04:00I'm sorry, what?USCF President Carol Meyers issued a <a href="https://new.uschess.org/news/us-chess-statement-cheating-allegations/" target="_blank">statement </a>that began<br /><br />"1. No cheating happened, nor is alleged to have happened, at the 2018 National Junior High Championship; the alleged incident took place prior to our event."<br /><br /><b>I'm sorry, what????????</b><br />We're accusing them of intentionally losing games to lower their rating in order to enter the National Junior High in inappropriately low sections. They did this and won the tournament.<br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: x-large;">Intentionally entering the wrong section is cheating</span></b>.<br />They began their cheating with the tournaments on 1/15* and 1/19, but this was done only in order to cheat at nationals. In some sense, nationals is the real cheating because the earlier events have no victims in and of themselves.<br /><br />The statement Carol Meyer issued is now being used by the Henderson coach to claim he has been exonerated.<br />Honestly, it's hard for me to fathom what she could have been thinking, but the statement needs to be retracted immediately.Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com9tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-22325929294969486722018-04-13T19:26:00.000-04:002018-04-14T20:45:12.515-04:00spineless<span style="background-color: #274e13; color: white; font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">So the USCF put out this <a href="https://new.uschess.org/news/us-chess-statement-cheating-allegations/" target="_blank">statement</a>, which I consider an laughable shirking of their responsibilities.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="background-color: #274e13; color: white;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">"T<span style="font-size: 16px;">he US Chess Federation has not received a written complaint to initiate our procedures for factual inquiry and ruling on any allegation of cheating pertaining to this event."</span></span></span><br /><span style="background-color: #274e13; color: white;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">And you don't care enough to do anything on your own?? After you have been begged in a timely fashion to by no less than 12 coaches? After your own national championship becomes an ou</span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">trage and a joke?</span></span><br /><span style="background-color: #274e13; color: white;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">It's the casual denial of responsibility that <i>kills </i>me.</span></span></span><br /><span style="background-color: #274e13; color: white;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">You have all the facts you need, Carol Meyer, USCF et al.&nbsp; Cheating obviously occurred and ruined YOUR national championship. People complained to your organization in time to remove the kids from the section and fix the problem. If your rules are really set up to make you powerless&nbsp; to investigate on your own, then I feel sorry for you.&nbsp;</span></span></span><br /><span style="background-color: #274e13; color: white;"><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></span><span style="font-size: 16px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Pretty soon no one is going to pay money to attend your national championship if you don't fulfill your fundamental responsibility of enforcing the rules.&nbsp;</span></span></span><br /><span style="background-color: #274e13;"><br /></span><span style="color: #5a5a5a; font-family: &quot;lato&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-30580779122996837482018-04-12T10:51:00.000-04:002018-04-22T10:45:03.345-04:00Cheating at the National Junior High<pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Last weekend, at the National Junior High School Chess </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Cha</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">mpi</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">onship, Henderson Middle School from El Paso <br />Texas "won" the u</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">nder 750 and Under 1000 sections</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;"> with te</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">ams of obviously sandbagged players. This </span></span></pre><pre><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">was brou</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif;">ght</span></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">to the attention of Chief TD David Hater </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">by many coaches, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">but he felt it was not his</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> res</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">ponsibility to act. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Let's examine the evidence. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">The Under 1000 team members are</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Ra***ez, Saul (7.0, 899)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Ra***ez, Juan (6.5, 867)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Pal***no, Carlos (6.0, 760)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Ar**jo, Carlos (4.5, 884)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Why are their ratings under 900, you are thinking? </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Because that allowed them to play in and win the </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Texas Under 900 championship. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">To get their ratings under 900 for these events, </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">they claim to have played a two round match in</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> Las Cruces, NM, where they lost 26-0, most of </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">which were 400+ point upsets. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">This was rated as a <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201801156312-15150404" target="_blank">tournament</a>, rather than a match;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> perhaps accidentally or perhaps because there's an </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">anti-sandbagging rule that says you can only lose 50</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> points in a match. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">My assistant principal, John Galvin, reported this at </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">7 pm Saturday. At the 2:30 meeting the next day, there</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> was some disagreement about whether these results</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> were spectacularly unlikely or actually impossible</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">A parent from my team who is also a mathematician </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">was kind enough to run some numbers for me (results </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">have been reviewed by a few of his colleagues and </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">detailed discussion is in the comments. )</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">His analysis showed the odds of losing 26-0 with the </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">rating differentials is 1 in 3x 10^21 </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">(3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Without considering ratings, it's 1 in 263,000,000. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">When asked, the Henderson coach attributed his team's</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> poor performance to "being kids" and coming from </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">underprivileged homes. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">The Under 750 team is </span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">R**z, Alessandra (7.0, 734)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Arga***na, Aime (6.0, 585)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Ag***re, Devante (5.0, 632)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Ji***ez, Jose Luis (5.0, 654)</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Valadez, Angelica (5.0, 683) </span></pre><pre></pre><pre></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">On Jan 19, 2019, they held another <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201801156312-15150404" target="_blank">tournmanent </a>/ </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">match in New Mexico in which the Texas players </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">again did very very poorly. This time their under </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">750 team goes under.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> Notice how the MSA report lists </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">the players' states in </span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">the left hand corner so you can </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">easily see how badly</span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> Texas fared. </span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">The TD supervising these tournaments, Will Barela, </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> is also the</span> <span style="font-family: Georgia, Times New Roman, serif; font-size: large;">President of the New Mexico Chess Association.</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: Georgia, Times New Roman, serif; font-size: large;">Looking through his directing history reveals some, </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">lets' say ... "purposeful" events. Between Dec 28 and</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> Jan 5 of 2017/2018, he rated a series of 15 multi </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">section tournaments, in which a master who was </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">dropping dangerously close to 2200, beat kids rated</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> 100-1000 in hundreds of games, thereby obtaining </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">his life master title.</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Congratulations to Life Master <a href="http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?12705539" target="_blank">Benjamin Corarreti</a>, </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">cheater.</span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">I have never seen more obvious evident of sandbagging</span>.</pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> There is no attempt to hide the thrown games, not a </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">single draw. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">USCF officials could have moved their sections and saved</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">the integrity and reputation of their tournament; they </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">were told at the beginning of round 5. Instead, they </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">insist it needs to be handled by the Ethics Committee.</span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Handing it off to the Ethics Committee has <b>enormous</b></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">costs. The entire credibility of the tournament </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">experience is ruined for everyone. A confidential </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">committee decision six months later does nothing </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">to fix this. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">The cheated teams will never get to walk</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> across the stage; they'll never get the newspaper </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">articles, or the homecoming celebration, or the </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">exhilaration of that night. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">I know there will be cases where the evidence is not</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> clear and the TDs can't, in good conscience, act. But</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> this is not that situation. This is the clearest, most </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">unambiguous case of cheating POSSIBLE. </span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">If you aren't going to act on this, you can't claim to </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">be enforcing the rules. </span></pre><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">It's unfortunate it wasn't handled well at the time, </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">and more unfortunate (see next post) that the </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">USCF is doubling down on their new stated policy of</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"> not interfering in cheating in progress. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">The USCF ought now to announce the cheating </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">publicly and congratulate Metcalf and Thomas </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">Edison on their wins in the U750 and U1000 </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">sections, and Scotty Gordon and Sameris Desvignes </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">on the individual triumphs. </span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;"><br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;georgia&quot; , &quot;times new roman&quot; , serif; font-size: large;">In future, under sections should use peak rating. </span></pre><pre></pre>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com29tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-42415204415620324152018-04-11T19:38:00.001-04:002018-04-11T19:43:45.278-04:00How to Solve Coaches Cheating at NationalsUse peak ratings as eligibility for under sections at nationals.<br />Children's ratings should not be going down. This solves the problem and is easy to understand and enforce.Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-40626426455156067652016-02-20T15:26:00.001-05:002016-02-20T15:26:35.203-05:00Noah gets his first chess lessonWe discussed the names of the pieces and which he likes (he dislikes the knight and likes the "little tiny pawn," consistent with his love of small things). I explained that chess is a game and one of my favorite games, and that you play by moving the pieces around from one square to another. We practiced that. We agreed to take turns. I told him about taking pieces, how to do it, and that you get to keep the piece.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zATaRDCEf1Y/VsjLTmbe5DI/AAAAAAAARBw/Y4rjpsyKsBI/s1600/IMG_0131.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-zATaRDCEf1Y/VsjLTmbe5DI/AAAAAAAARBw/Y4rjpsyKsBI/s320/IMG_0131.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br /><div>After the lesson, it was nap time, and he took a pawn to bed with him.</div><div><br /></div><div><br /></div>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-75387068842447702432016-02-17T10:31:00.000-05:002018-04-15T10:58:06.267-04:00Have Respect for Mattresses, Citizens!<pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">A mattress is insatiable. It demands sacrifices. At night it makes the&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">sound of a bouncing ball. It needs a bookcase. It needs a table with&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">thick stupid legs. Creaking its springs, it demands drapes, a door&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">curtain,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">and pots and pans for the kitchen. It shoves people and says to them:</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"> "Goon! Buy a washboard and rolling-pin!"<br /> "I'm ashamed of you, man. You haven't yet got a carpet."<br /> "Work! I'll soon give you children. You need money for nappies and a pram."<br /> A mattress remembers and does everything in its own way.<br /> Not even a poet can escape the common lot. Here he comes,&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">carrying one from the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">market, hugging it to his soft belly with horror.</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"> "I'll break down your resistance, poet," says the mattress. "You no</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">longer need to&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">run to the post office to write poetry. And, anyway, is&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">it&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">worth writing? Work and the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">balance will always be in your favour.&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Think&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">about your wife and children!"</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"> "I haven't a wife," cries the poet, staggering back from his sprung<br />teacher.<br /> "You will have! But I don't guarantee she will be the loveliest girl on<br />earth. I don't even know whether she will be kind. Be prepared for&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">anything. You will have children."<br /> "I don't like children."<br /> "You will."<br /> "You frighten me, citizen mattress."<br /> "Shut up, you fool. You don't know everything. You'll also obtain<br />credit from the Moscow woodworking factory."<br /> "I'll kill you, mattress!"<br /> "Puppy! If you dare to, the neighbours will denounce you to the&nbsp;</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">housing authority."</span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"> </span></pre><pre></pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">That's an excerpt from a very funny comic Russian novel Twelve Chairs,</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">which you can read online. </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Recently, Jonathan and I attempted to buy a mattress. </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">It's always been my dream to own a king sized bed. Plus Zoe sleeps with </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">us and Noah manages to as well sometimes. (i.e. we need it). </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">In 2001, I bought my sister a Tempurpedic mattress as an engagement </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">present. She's always loved good bedding. She didn't end up marrying </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">the guy, who was an inventor and invented the blue ink in American </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Express Blue cards and made fake passports for the CIA, and she didn't </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">like the mattress either (too firm), so she gave it back to me and I'd </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">been sleeping on it ever since. </span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bc4RAUDXvwM/VsOsJ1lvrVI/AAAAAAAARAg/R9xBgU4ip6U/s1600/mattresss%2B2.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><img border="0" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bc4RAUDXvwM/VsOsJ1lvrVI/AAAAAAAARAg/R9xBgU4ip6U/s1600/mattresss%2B2.gif" /></span></a></div><pre></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Jonathan loved it so we thought we'd buy another Tempurpedic. We <br />did, the Contour Supreme (heavenly, firm), but it smelled terrible and <br />we started reading frightening articles online about the neurotoxic <br />chemicals it's made of. Zoe was just a few weeks old and we were <br />afraid for her. We tried to air it out: removing the cover and standing <br />it by the window every day for weeks, but when it hadn't stopped <br />off-gassing after a month and a half, we returned it. <br /><br />After further research on the heath hazards of memory foam we <br />decided to splurge and buy an Essentia, which is organic memory <br />foam. They are crazy, crazy expensive, but we justified it with <br />the idea that we would spend 8 hours a day on it for twenty years. <br /><br />Unfortunately, it was not very comfortable. Fortunately, it too was <br />returnable. <br /><br />By now we are feeling defeated, tired of mattress shopping and unsure <br />of what we wanted. So we headed to Sleepys. It's just very confusing, <br />buying a mattress. You go to the showroom and lie down on ten or <br />twenty of them and by the end you have no idea what you want <br />anymore or how comfortable any of them really are. Do we really like <br />"firm" mattresses, or have we simply always had one? The salesperson <br />talks a lot of mumbo jumbo about coils and latex and alignment. She <br />tried to convince me that firm mattresses are for fat people. Then <br />later, after we'd bought the mattress, she starts telling me how her <br />obstetrician kept harassing her about weight gain and gestational <br />diabetes during her first pregnancy so she skipped prenatal care <br />entirely for her subsequent children. I didn't even know you could do <br />that. <br /><br /><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mnMJyJgwh8U/VsSRGSCTbdI/AAAAAAAARA0/ebcEHMpcVZQ/s1600/IMG_2105.JPG"><img border="0" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mnMJyJgwh8U/VsSRGSCTbdI/AAAAAAAARA0/ebcEHMpcVZQ/s400/IMG_2105.JPG" /></a><br /><br /><br /><br />In the end we picked the first one we'd lain down on. And then we <br />discovered that you can make an offer for a mattress. Sleepys prices <br />are not fixed, you actually bargain with the regional manager via <br />the salesperson. The mattress was $2900, on sale for $2600, we <br />offered $2200 and that was fine. <br /></span></pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">update: 4/2018: I went home that day and found the same mattress </span>on Amazon for $1100. </pre><pre><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_dNTUxoTNU8/VsOC608p5cI/AAAAAAAARAQ/gwwZgl1GYEk/s1600/mattress.jpe"><img border="0" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_dNTUxoTNU8/VsOC608p5cI/AAAAAAAARAQ/gwwZgl1GYEk/s1600/mattress.jpe" /></a></span></pre>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-7782410304565550732016-02-14T17:55:00.005-05:002016-02-20T15:32:31.835-05:00life choicesHello out there!<br />I made a big decision recently that I'd like to tell you about. The last year and a half I've been staying home with my now two kids, Noah (2) and Zoe (5 months).<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tSNWvvbSK0I/VsEGokQXa3I/AAAAAAAAQ_4/UdhMGBGEhqg/s1600/IMG_2064.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="302" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-tSNWvvbSK0I/VsEGokQXa3I/AAAAAAAAQ_4/UdhMGBGEhqg/s400/IMG_2064.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br />At first I was super-enthusiastic about this project, determined to raise the smartest, most verbal, best-fed, sweetest-natured children ever made. I talked to Noah incessantly, keeping up a running narration of everything I was doing in order to expose him to the absolute maximum language possible. &nbsp;but after a while it gets very tedious. you get sick of talking, sick of mops and trucks and dinosaurs and garbage or whatever your kid is obsessed by 24 hours a day. also I spend a lot of time doing laundry and changing diapers and picking up toys and cleaning the house. and I don't mind housework per se, I actually have grown to kinda like it, especially the clean warm orderliness of laundry, but I'm SO BORED. I avoid my friends because I know I'm a conversational black hole. &nbsp;I reread old blog posts and miss myself.<br /><br />So I made plans to put them both in a local Montessori school next September and return to teaching at 318. I miss 318, at least parts of it: my advanced classes and the Saturday tournaments. Also I miss the long overnight trips. (I'm going to elementary nationals this year with another school and I can't wait-- 5 days of nonstop chess analysis without my children sounds like a dream.) I feel in some way that I belong at 318 and do a lot of good there.<br /><br />And then Jonathan asked me to stay home another year with Zoe-- to put Noah in preschool 9-3 5 days a week and just take care of her, the house, and Noah after/ before school. He asked me like its a favor.<br /><br />At first I thought no, I need for myself to be working outside our house for my own mental health. but then the next morning I was pushing the double stroller through the park on an unseasonably warm sunny winter day and we stopped and Noah got out to play chase with a puppy, and amidst the squeals of joy I thought "of course it's glorious to have another year off to spend with my children. How lucky I am." And so I cancelled Zoe's enrollment at the Montessori school, committing myself.<br /><br />I'm still going back and forth in my mind. On the one hand I think we'd be stretched very thin as a family if we were both working. The house would never be clean and the dog would not get dewormed and no one would eat anything but takeout and toast.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-G1-9nUy7DUU/VsEElhTXc1I/AAAAAAAAQ_s/Z5K7Y2BBbSI/s1600/IMG_2303.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-G1-9nUy7DUU/VsEElhTXc1I/AAAAAAAAQ_s/Z5K7Y2BBbSI/s320/IMG_2303.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><br />Maybe with just one kid to watch I can blog and go running and maybe even play chess.<br />and if I was working, I'd be staring through my window, wishing I could be with my kids.<br /><br />any thoughts, blog readers?<br /><br />Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com12tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-87836093332089456992014-10-13T21:02:00.001-04:002014-10-13T21:02:06.442-04:00a different way to pay for private lessonsIt started when a parent said to me, "My child's rating hasn't gone up in a year. Does that mean he hasn't learned anything from the expensive private lessons I've been paying for?" And I replied, "That's exactly what it means, with the small caveat that your child might have learned something about chess (like an opening) but is not a more skillful player." <br />Which led me to think about the problem for parents of not knowing if an expensive coach is worthwhile. Which led me to make an offer to a small group of parents that:<br />&nbsp;I would teach their child once a week for free<br />The child would play in a minimum of 2 tournaments a month and one hour a week at chess club or online. <br />The child would do all my homework and notate all games. <br />I would be paid every three months the gain (from the beginning of lessons)&nbsp;in the child's rating times a multiplier X. <br />My question to you is, what's a fair number for x? I would suggest it might be different for different people, or different ages, and definitely for different ratings. <br />Take as&nbsp;two examples a 9 year old rated 600 who has played chess for a year and a 13 year old rated 1650 who has played chess for 5 years; both&nbsp;students have previously had private and group lessons.<br /><br />Thank you.Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com7tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-62562321783235797062013-12-01T16:08:00.002-05:002013-12-01T18:17:31.897-05:00Noah!<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HFB0_v4hKI8/UpqRbpz-tuI/AAAAAAAAQJ4/qZGyyt7I-Fc/s1600/NOAH.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="257" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HFB0_v4hKI8/UpqRbpz-tuI/AAAAAAAAQJ4/qZGyyt7I-Fc/s400/NOAH.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CQe_B1-rtIA/UpqRkjY2rSI/AAAAAAAAQKA/AOB-IYdre54/s1600/noah+18+days+002.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-CQe_B1-rtIA/UpqRkjY2rSI/AAAAAAAAQKA/AOB-IYdre54/s400/noah+18+days+002.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_laSL5j2b-4/UpqRtKfcixI/AAAAAAAAQKI/NlLAQgJd27Q/s1600/couple+days+blue+suit.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_laSL5j2b-4/UpqRtKfcixI/AAAAAAAAQKI/NlLAQgJd27Q/s400/couple+days+blue+suit.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VuhA7Ku4KeE/UpqSBG_6IZI/AAAAAAAAQKc/ZLrUVZamFv0/s1600/supercute.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-VuhA7Ku4KeE/UpqSBG_6IZI/AAAAAAAAQKc/ZLrUVZamFv0/s400/supercute.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6ry_KPi42cU/UpqSLpDDALI/AAAAAAAAQKk/KqLJV4uJZvo/s1600/super+cute+noah.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6ry_KPi42cU/UpqSLpDDALI/AAAAAAAAQKk/KqLJV4uJZvo/s400/super+cute+noah.JPG" width="337" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ctwtBFW0DWs/UpqSSI8kDnI/AAAAAAAAQKs/BJKSB3e6weY/s1600/happy.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ctwtBFW0DWs/UpqSSI8kDnI/AAAAAAAAQKs/BJKSB3e6weY/s400/happy.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KIzTVI3ldWM/UpqSbrnIliI/AAAAAAAAQK0/dCRyokA6hco/s1600/yawn.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KIzTVI3ldWM/UpqSbrnIliI/AAAAAAAAQK0/dCRyokA6hco/s400/yawn.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Baby's got some crazy big eyes, right?<br />I definitely never thought I would be a stay-at-home mother.&nbsp; <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But let's start at the beginning... <br />I had been thinking to have a drug free childbirth... let me say that was a crazy, ignorant&nbsp;idea. Labor hurts beyond any description/my imagination. I do not know how anyone can choose it. After an hour I was like ok, I give up,&nbsp;I will do anything to make this stop.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I was 1 cm dilated (it goes up to 10 cm, and gets progressively more painful) and I&nbsp;was vomiting violently from the pain. Also throwing myself against the floor, over and over,&nbsp;begging Jonathan to somehow help me. I have&nbsp;a memory of screaming in a cab, and the cab driver trying not to look at me. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I can only compare it to those immensely painful charley horse cramps in your calf, but in your abdomen. For 24 hours.&nbsp;Or in my case 28.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Once I got the epidural, I was&nbsp;narcotically&nbsp;happy, the floatingy best I have felt in years. the actual pushing bit was not hard and really quite fun. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I got the bill/insurance settlement&nbsp; just for the epidural today... guess how much it cost? They billed $14,500 and insurance paid $2000. unreal.)<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So now I'm at home with baby for -- well, kind of a long, stupid&nbsp;story involving some incorrect paperwork-- but hopefully 2 more months if I can fix it-- possibly 1 more week if I can't. I'm definitely gooey eyed gaga over Noah a lot of the time. Although it's also tough to have a relationship with someone who screams if he's slightly unhappy. I spent last might from 11 to 12:30 am holding him in my arms&nbsp;dancing around the bedroom, which was the only way to keep him quiet. I guess&nbsp;this will help me lose the baby weight. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Many days go by with a bare minimum accomplished. Basically every 3.5 hours, I spent 1.25 hours in a strict routine of changing his diaper, breast feeding him, changing his diaper, bottle feeding him, changing his diaper, pumping milk, changing his diaper, cleaning the bottles/pump. Then I have an hour and a quarter&nbsp;where he sleeps (and I sleep, eat, do laundry, tidy the house,&nbsp;answer emails, make food, write an endless series of thank you notes for baby gifts)&nbsp;and an hour where I talk to him, rock him, sing to him, read to him, jiggle him up and down, and whatever else I can do to&nbsp;amuse him/stop him crying. It's a weird, lazy-but-exhausting routine. I definitely can feel it affecting my memory: maybe it's hormones or maybe it's lack of sleep, but I feel I'm at about 75% of normal mental processing speed. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;Despite this, I'm becoming more efficient at housewife type things, mostly thanks to Amazon Mom (like Amazon Prime, but with diaper discounts), and, I guess, practice. I can also do many more things with just one hand. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I only leave the house on average once every three days.&nbsp;I don't know how people&nbsp;live when they have either multiple children or no washing machine. I find myself making time tradeoffs like "I have 60 seconds before he screams: what's more important, putting in my contact lens or getting a glass of water?" "4 minutes: breakfast or&nbsp;shower?"<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It's the first year in maybe 10 that I haven't played in the National Chess Congress and I miss playing chess, although I feel quite incapable of casually going back to it right now. more soon, maybe.<br /><br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0bgvJ44Zo0Q/UpqRPkPd_iI/AAAAAAAAQJo/CPIo1PTVLeA/s1600/me+with+newborn+noah.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="300" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0bgvJ44Zo0Q/UpqRPkPd_iI/AAAAAAAAQJo/CPIo1PTVLeA/s400/me+with+newborn+noah.JPG" width="400" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kohZnk1Yyv0/UpqRWJGoj4I/AAAAAAAAQJw/C62xMe7ZvMM/s1600/noah+with+flowers.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kohZnk1Yyv0/UpqRWJGoj4I/AAAAAAAAQJw/C62xMe7ZvMM/s400/noah+with+flowers.jpg" width="300" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-nrRUTuIRS2c/UpqRzYaSfLI/AAAAAAAAQKQ/dOkDPl4bpwY/s1600/me+holding+noah.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="400" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-nrRUTuIRS2c/UpqRzYaSfLI/AAAAAAAAQKQ/dOkDPl4bpwY/s400/me+holding+noah.JPG" width="300" /></a></div><br />Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com20tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-91217041197764101452013-10-18T12:29:00.001-04:002013-10-18T12:45:25.060-04:00maternity leave, teacher evaluations&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; So I'm on maternity leave, which is very relaxing. I'm due Oct 27, so mostly I'm just waiting, waddling around,&nbsp;and paying incessant attention to every small tightening of my stomach. It's very strange being suddenly 30 lbs. heavier than normal. I check this <a href="http://spacefem.com/pregnant/due.php?use=EDD&amp;m=10&amp;d=27&amp;y=13" target="_blank">website</a>&nbsp;many times a day. Today I have a 3.3% chance of going into labor. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I sleep until 10:30 every morning. Then I get up and&nbsp;plan some new units, do CT Art tests, watch one of&nbsp;Greg's videos, or do a little laundry/ household organizing/cake-baking. I watched all of Breaking Bad and a fun series called Sherlock. I read a lot of news. If anyone has a recommendation for a good book, I'm all ears. <br /><br /><br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; It may amuse you to hear that my all important teacher evaluation this year will be based 60% on classroom evaluation, and 40% on a "value-added data/metric." The latter part&nbsp;makes sense, right? I should be making a positive and measurable impact on my students' performance. If their ratings go up, I'm doing a good job, and if they don't, I'm not. Simple!&nbsp;Thank god for the objective, a priori accurate USCF rating system! <br />&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; The classroom evaluation system is not totally unreasonable, but puts a lot of emphasis on having students lead the discussion and (bizarrely) correct each other's misbehavior.&nbsp;I think this approach works a bit&nbsp;better with subjects like English than chess. Of course it's always&nbsp;nice to have a student centered classroom, but when there is a certain amount of technical knowledge that needs teaching,&nbsp;the students have to reach a minimum competency level before their opinions matter. In any case, I've been teaching for a while and I'm not worried about the observation part of the rating. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;If&nbsp;I get a combined score of 64 points or less (=ineffective) two years in a row, I'm automatically fired. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The problem is that the value added metric they are using for me (and for Jonathan, who teaches art, and for the gym teachers, computer teachers, cooking teacher, etc.) is the growth in math and English scores from other teachers in the building. So even if I score perfectly on the observation part, if the kids do badly on their standardized tests, I'm fired. And so are all the gym teachers. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-65536387947282802752013-08-21T14:38:00.003-04:002013-08-21T14:38:49.753-04:00things I have learned about being pregnantI thought I would share with you some of the more unexpected things I have learned so far about pregnancy:<br /><br />1. Most people seem extremely impressed that I am having a boy, like when people ask how you did at a tournament and you won. I also learned from a recent freakonomics podcast that men are 4% less likely to divorce a woman when their first born child is male, which seems like an enormous effect, given how many other things probably count for more. <br /><br />2. Certain groups of people are fascinated by pregnant me. The top three are: <br />&nbsp;&nbsp; a) teenage girls, who treat me with fascination and respect and think I'm inordinately cute<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; b) retarded people on the street/in the subway, who generally point to my stomach and say "There's a BABY in there?" and then sometimes tell me to push<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; c) dogs: both mine and other people's. Our dog, who is normally exceptionally sweet-natured, has become extremely protective and tried to bite both our contractor and an elderly Asian granny neighbor. <br /><br />3. I generally always get a seat on the subway now, except sometimes on the L and the 4, 5, 6 (the fancier lines, where people pretend not to see me in rush hour). The most reliable seat-offers are by far Chinese/ SE Asian men age 16-30. They jump up like it's some kind of reflex.<br /><br />4. I have never had longer fingernails in my life, I think both because I'm much less anxious / more placid than I was, so I don't bite them anymore, but even more some super-growing effect from hormones and prenatal vitamins. It's actually hard to type. <br /><br />5. I don't feel much more hungry than before, but I drink like crazy. A liter of water is like nothing to me now. I might be wrong about the hunger though, because I've gained 30 pounds and have two months to go(!). I'm constantly misjudging my size and bumping into things. <br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />6. Pregnancy is boring. I'm tired most of the time, I can't plan interesting trips because they interfere with my nap schedule or they are somehow dangerous, and there are long lists of things I can't do. I wasn't a huge drinker before, but now I constantly see people sitting outside drinking wine and I can't contain my envy. I've also become absolutely paranoid about second hand smoke, to the extent that I hold my breath when I see a smoker approaching on the sidewalk. <br />Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com16tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-72581847459743546372013-08-03T14:25:00.001-04:002013-08-03T14:55:00.276-04:0050 lesson beginner curriculum&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I've been working on laying out sequentially what I do in the first year of a beginner "shop class." It's on google docs <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4cRSlVgLWb6OWJtTjctT0g0Y0U/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">here</a>. (you have to actually download it, rather than view it,&nbsp;to see more than the first page. You can do this with the download arrow or the shortcut ctrl-s.) It's written for sixth graders who I see 3 periods a week for a school year, although obviously could be speeded up, slowed down, or started in the middle for other situations. I find if I don't have some kind of sequence planned out, then I start the year very enthusiastic rush through a number of topics, but by February, I'm panicking every morning, "omg, what do I teach today?" and then at the end of the year, I kind of realize that the lower 30% of the class doesn't find&nbsp;mate in one when it presents itself in their games. This curriculum is designed to take all the planning out of teaching, kind of a Chess Instruction for Dummies, so that even the laziest and least prepared&nbsp;teacher has a coherent, paced, unit-based study plan. I hope it helps! <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;As you already know, I'm obsessed with Jeff Coakley, so references to the&nbsp;green book are to his <a href="http://www.coakleychess.com/" target="_blank">Winning Chess Strategy for Kids</a>, and to the red and orange book are Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids, Books 1 and 2. I also refer to my <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4cRSlVgLWb6SGN5Rlh0clhQWUU/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">6th Grade Curriculum</a>. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I'm presenting this at a professional development in about a week and I'm still revising it, so comments please! Also, if I reference anything else that you'd like/like more info about, email me (espiegel318atgmail.com)Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com12tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-90862194733069979832013-08-02T14:54:00.004-04:002013-08-02T14:54:33.067-04:00my favorite lessons, part 7: trading pieces&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I start by explaining there are really two ways to win a game of chess: you can <br />1) attack your opponent's king and checkmate him, or you can <br />2) a. win material (be up pieces), <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;b. trade all the pieces off, <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; c. get a pawn to the other side of the board, <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; d. get your queen back,<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; e. do the king and queen checkmate*<br /><br />I explain that we are going to look at some positions today and practice winning the second way. I then write on the board <br /><u>Reasons to Trade</u><br />1. You are ahead material <br />2. <br />and then I ask students if they can think of another reason you might want to trade pieces. I'm looking for answers like "You are being attacked" or "Your opponent's piece is better than yours" and obviously I then write that one the board. <br /><br />We then look at the following positions. All of them are taken from Coakley's books: some from the green book and some from the blue book. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BYq6IxHVlBk/UfvooQfXKkI/AAAAAAAAPME/8zeQGgWRqT0/s1600/trading+1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BYq6IxHVlBk/UfvooQfXKkI/AAAAAAAAPME/8zeQGgWRqT0/s320/trading+1.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />1.&nbsp;I start by asking what the material is. I then ask a student to find how white can trade off black's remaining big pieces (1. Rd8 essentially forces the exchange of both pairs of rooks). Finally, I ask how white will win after that. I'm look for an answer that involves Na4-c5xb7/a6, centralizing the king, and advancing the queenside pawns. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ePWs_wFNSmA/UfvopfkolRI/AAAAAAAAPMg/yYO-LHkN8Sw/s1600/trading+5+but+should+be+2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ePWs_wFNSmA/UfvopfkolRI/AAAAAAAAPMg/yYO-LHkN8Sw/s320/trading+5+but+should+be+2.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />2. Again, I ask what the material is, then how white can trade queens. (1. Qg3+) Next, we talk about how the black king can't stop the advance of both pawns. Finally, I go back and ask what black is going to try to do if white doesn't trade queens. (Hopefully, you've done the lesson on 5 kinds of draws and perpetual check, so kids will recognize how annoying the black queen can be.) <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-a-qr0tAuCgE/UfvooE9gD_I/AAAAAAAAPL0/0zilRFer25s/s1600/trading+2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-a-qr0tAuCgE/UfvooE9gD_I/AAAAAAAAPL0/0zilRFer25s/s320/trading+2.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />3. Again, what's the material? <br />What does that mean white should do here? (1. Qxd5 Rxd5)<br />What should white do next? (finish development 2. b3 or 2. Bd2, I usually choose b3 to avoid the bishop being attacked after ...Ne4)<br />How can white try to trade off more pieces? (2. b3 Rc8 3. Bb2 Ne4 4. Rac1):<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lY9OSxoitkg/UfvooC9CG_I/AAAAAAAAPL4/yfxKP-8oFnk/s1600/trading+2+later.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-lY9OSxoitkg/UfvooC9CG_I/AAAAAAAAPL4/yfxKP-8oFnk/s320/trading+2+later.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">final position #3</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SoJxQvdQpzI/Ufvooq7lzKI/AAAAAAAAPMY/JdVUldvRoSc/s1600/trading+3.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SoJxQvdQpzI/Ufvooq7lzKI/AAAAAAAAPMY/JdVUldvRoSc/s320/trading+3.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />4. We then look at the same position (#3) but with black to move. I say ok, if white's up material and that means she wants to trade pieces, what do you think black wants to do (not trade pieces). I ask students to suggest a move that does this: the best two are 1...Ne4 or 1...Qd7, as other moves hang b7. <br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KpRSGKg4pTo/UfvopW47e2I/AAAAAAAAPMU/db9hu5X6gh0/s1600/trading+4.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KpRSGKg4pTo/UfvopW47e2I/AAAAAAAAPMU/db9hu5X6gh0/s320/trading+4.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />5. I always start with asking what the material is. It's very important to get students in the habit of counting the material whenever they first see a position, and it's a great, easy-but-important question to ask struggling students. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp; I then ask who wants to trade pieces (black). It's good, incidentally, to vary how you ask this second question slightly: I usually start in the first two positions by saying white wants to trade, then I ask what being up material means you want to do, then I establish who is up material and ask which player wants to trade.&nbsp;Students will understand and be able to apply the idea better if they've thought about it from a couple different perspectives. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I ask how black can trade pieces (1...Nxc3) and say let's assume white recaptures (2. bxc3). I ask what else black might do (2. Bxb7) and say we will come back and look at that in a minute. <br />After 1...Nxc3 2. bxc3, how can black continue to trade? (2...Bxg2 3. Kxg2)<br />I ask how black can try to continue to trade? (3...c5) We talk about why white can't capture on c5 (...Rxd2) and how d4 is now attacked twice and defended once. <br />I get someone to suggest 4. Nb3 or 4. Nf3, make the moves 4...cxd5 5. cxd5, and ask how black can offer another trade? (...Rac8): <br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_JjUu4KJjpo/UfvooyG3VQI/AAAAAAAAPMQ/p01VV49jYzM/s1600/trading+4+later.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_JjUu4KJjpo/UfvooyG3VQI/AAAAAAAAPMQ/p01VV49jYzM/s320/trading+4+later.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">the end of position 5</td></tr></tbody></table>We finish by talking about what black might do after the trade of rooks (invade with the last rook to c3, win a3, centralize the king, advance the queenside pawns). <br /><br />Don't forget to go back and talk about what happens if white tries 2. Bxb7: not 2...Rab8 3. Bxa6 but 2...Ne2+! 3. Kf1 Nxc1 4. Bax8 Rax8 and black is up a whole rook. <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-n-q1LipMHQE/Ufvop53eVWI/AAAAAAAAPMk/pT8fKBkBIjo/s1600/trading+6.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-n-q1LipMHQE/Ufvop53eVWI/AAAAAAAAPMk/pT8fKBkBIjo/s320/trading+6.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div align="left" class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">6. Who's ahead material and how much? (white, the exchange and the a pawn. I talk about what a valuable pawn the a5 pawn is to be up: both passed and advanced)</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">What does that mean white wants to do? (trade pieces)</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">What would black do if it were black's turn? (...Qxh2#. This gives white another reason to trade pieces-- refer to reason 2 on the board)</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Ask for suggestions of moves for white that trade pieces. You should get 1. Rf2, 1. Re2, and (hopefully) 1. Qc8 Kh7 2. Qf5. Look at them in that order: </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">1.Rf2 gives black a couple pawns and the chance to annoy white's king a lot: 1...Rxf2 2.Kxf2 Qxh2+ 3.Ke3 Qf4+ 4.Ke2 [4.Kd3 Qxf3+ 5.Kc2 Nf4] 4...Ng3+ 5.Kf2 Qd2+ 6.Kxg3 Qxe1+ </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">1. Re2 allows black to win white's valuable a pawn. Ask if anyone can figure out how (1...Rxe2 2. Qxe2 Qg5+ 4. Qg2/Kh1 Qxa5) and explain that while white is still better in the endgame, it's not <strong>so</strong> easy to win. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Then look at 1. Qc8 Kh7 2. Qf5+ Qxf5 3. exf5 and ask why the position is easy for white to win. The earlier&nbsp;discussion of the value of the a pawn usually means kids get the right answer: white will continue with Ra1 and queening the a pawn. Make sure you ask how white wins after 3...Rb8 4. a6 Ra8 5. Ra1 Nf4 (6. a7 Ne6 7. Rf1-b1-b8).</div><div align="left" class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div align="left" class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div align="left" class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8Gk7Ob6nthI/UfvoqYUa1zI/AAAAAAAAPM4/vHgCd7jPHp4/s1600/trading+six+and+a+half.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8Gk7Ob6nthI/UfvoqYUa1zI/AAAAAAAAPM4/vHgCd7jPHp4/s320/trading+six+and+a+half.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />7. At this point, I might ask a more general question, like "What's going on here?" I'm hoping for the answer "White is up a rook, but black is threatening mate with Qe1/c1/a1." <br />Ask how white can stop the mate. Notice that moves like 1. Qe3 or f3 that stop some mates don't stop 1...Qe1#.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; White's only way to stop immediate checkmate is to sacrifice the rook: 1. Rh8+ Kxh8 2. Qd8 Kh7 and then 3. Qd3+ forcing the trade of queens is a much easier win than 3. Qh4+ followed by taking black's h3 pawn but allowing 4...Qxb3. After trading queens, white wins by centralizing the king and advancing the queenside pawns. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VFaWq7VDTsE/Ufvop5fVz0I/AAAAAAAAPM0/Nfuhkh1v69A/s1600/trading+7.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VFaWq7VDTsE/Ufvop5fVz0I/AAAAAAAAPM0/Nfuhkh1v69A/s320/trading+7.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />8. Again, what's the material and what does that mean white should do? (1. Rd6 Rxd6 2. Nxd6) <br />What's white's plan after this? (to try to win the a pawn, for example: <br />1.Rd6 Rxd6 2.Nxd6 Be1 3.f3 Kf6 4.Kc4 Ke6 5.Nb7 Kf5 6.Kb5 Kf4 7.Nxa5 Kg3 8.Nc4 Kxg2 9.a5 Kxh3 10.a6 Bf2 11.Nb6) <br />And finally, end by asking a&nbsp;kid to summarize what we talked about today. <br /><br />* obviously, you should have done the king and queen checkmate lesson before this one. Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-24588312900874690422013-07-28T17:40:00.001-04:002013-07-28T17:40:13.985-04:00my favorite lessons 6: bishop takes knight?Kids love knights. I find myself reminding students 10,000 times a year that bishops are usually better than knights, and they need to have a good reason to trade a bishop for a knight. To overcome their natural tendency to favor the knight, I like to give a lesson directly on the subject. <br /><br />So what is a good reason to trade bishop for knight? Most of the time, you should either be <br />1) winning a pawn, <br />2) opening up a king (in a situation where it's realistic to attack) or <br />3) creating a real pawn weakness that you can attack. <br />It's also ok to trade if your bishop is bad and you have no good retreat square for it. <br /><br />Of course, there are some situations that don't fall into these categories, but I make it clear that students are responsible to me for having a good reason. <br /><br />I explain to the class that I'm going to give them 8 positions and they have to tell me if white should trade the bishop for the knight, or not. Notice that in most (5/8) positions, the answer is simply no, you should not take the knight. <br /><br />Here they are: (or <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4cRSlVgLWb6NEFkUVlGaVp1V28/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">here</a> if you'd prefer a cbv file)<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1TK8cwnFOFM/UfWLmE63TDI/AAAAAAAAPDw/bNFU1s8buyM/s1600/bn+1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1TK8cwnFOFM/UfWLmE63TDI/AAAAAAAAPDw/bNFU1s8buyM/s320/bn+1.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">1. No</td></tr></tbody></table>&nbsp;<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-80yxECj2n44/UfWLmD8e_JI/AAAAAAAAPD0/7FkPnamGOUs/s1600/bn+3.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-80yxECj2n44/UfWLmD8e_JI/AAAAAAAAPD0/7FkPnamGOUs/s320/bn+3.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">2. No</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0xSMkjW3ZzQ/UfWLmpp4ztI/AAAAAAAAPEA/iEzZ2UrxTSQ/s1600/bn+4.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0xSMkjW3ZzQ/UfWLmpp4ztI/AAAAAAAAPEA/iEzZ2UrxTSQ/s320/bn+4.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">3. No</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-37SfpAxj7JY/UfWLs6CjcmI/AAAAAAAAPEQ/ytp7E_tZhjA/s1600/bn+7.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-37SfpAxj7JY/UfWLs6CjcmI/AAAAAAAAPEQ/ytp7E_tZhjA/s320/bn+7.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">4. yes, since white can follow up by taking on e5</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WCaNSpLct5U/UfWLs4K855I/AAAAAAAAPEY/ojuV0PELnSI/s1600/bn+8.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WCaNSpLct5U/UfWLs4K855I/AAAAAAAAPEY/ojuV0PELnSI/s320/bn+8.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">5. yes, because white creates a serious weakness: doubled isolated pawns on a half open file. Notice that White needs to continue correctly: 1. Bxc6 bxc6 2. Na4! (otherwise black will get rid of his weakness by playing 2....c5), followed by Rac1 and either Qc2 or doubling rooks on the c file. </td></tr></tbody></table><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7TL_gDBymGw/UfWLtZO_LgI/AAAAAAAAPEo/hpj2eV7aynE/s1600/bn+9.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7TL_gDBymGw/UfWLtZO_LgI/AAAAAAAAPEo/hpj2eV7aynE/s320/bn+9.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">6. no<br /><br />&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-L95o11_Fqsk/UfWNPba6fqI/AAAAAAAAPE4/5htlsEoAW2c/s1600/bn+11.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-L95o11_Fqsk/UfWNPba6fqI/AAAAAAAAPE4/5htlsEoAW2c/s320/bn+11.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">7. Yes, because it opens up black's king. White can follow up by castling queenside or playing Qd2 to attack the weak h6 pawn. Point out that after 1. Bxf6 gxf6 2. Qd2 Kg7 3. 0-0-0, white doesn't have to be afraid of 3...Bxf3, since opening the g- file only makes black's king less safe. </td></tr></tbody></table><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bTsaOCZzZrE/UfWLtCJRctI/AAAAAAAAPEU/hb1kT7A6_XI/s1600/bn+10.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bTsaOCZzZrE/UfWLtCJRctI/AAAAAAAAPEU/hb1kT7A6_XI/s320/bn+10.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">8. No. What white would actually like to do here is play Bg5-h4-g3 and try to trade off black's excellent dark squared bishop. </td></tr></tbody></table>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-78198073931186738862013-07-25T07:50:00.001-04:002013-07-25T07:50:32.708-04:00my favorite lessons, part 5: attacking and practice in calculating<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DzImpOHDkH0/UfEN4iBMLLI/AAAAAAAAPDg/wUw73lDnmk4/s1600/castles.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DzImpOHDkH0/UfEN4iBMLLI/AAAAAAAAPDg/wUw73lDnmk4/s320/castles.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />This position is stolen from Coakley's green book, the chapter "Castles Made of Sand." I use it to talk about how to attack. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I explain that you normally need one of two things to have a successful attack: either open lines toward the opponent's king, which sometimes happens because you've moved your pawns, and sometimes happens because they've moved their pawns, or more of your pieces attacking the king than enemy pieces defending it. I explain that some players like to attack the king in any position, but it is only a good idea if you have one of these two advantages. This means that if you really want to attack, you have to start by either bringing pieces over towards the kingside, or pushing your pawns to open lines, or somehow getting your opponent to move the pawns in front of their king. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I ask the class first to brainstorm possible first moves, and ask them to start with forcing moves: moves that are either <br />1. checks, <br />2. captures, or<br />3. threats of checkmate. <br />After they list all they can (usually 1... Rxh2, 1....Qh5, 1....Qe5/d6, 1...Nxf2), I ask also for any moves that bring more pieces towards the black king. Usually I get two answers to this: 1... Rdg8 and 1...Nf4. This gives us an opportunity to talk about how the former is more effective, as the knight is already participating in the attack, hitting f2 and f4, and preventing the queen from moving along the third rank to defend. <br /><br /> There are a number of wins in this position that you can explore with your students:<br /><ul><li><strong></strong>1...Rxh2 2. Kxh2 Qh5+ 3.Kg1 Rh8 4. any&nbsp;Qh1/2</li><li>1...Rdg8 2.Bxd3 Rxg2+ 3.Kxg2 Qg5+ 4.Kh1 Qh5; </li><li>1...Qh5 2.h3 Rdg8 3.Kh2 <i> (3.Bxf7 Qxh3) </i>3...Rxg2+ 4.Kxg2 Qxh3+ 5.Kg1 Qh2# <i> (5...Rg8#) </i>; </li><li>1...Qe5 2.h3&nbsp;Rxh3 3.gxh3 Rg8+ 4.Kh1 Qf5 5.Kh2 Qf4+ 6.Kh1 Qf3+ 7.Kh2 Qg2#</li><ul><li><i>2.g3 Qh5 3.h4 Qxh4 4.gxh4 Rdg8+ 5.Kh2 Rxh4#; </i></li><li><i>2.f4 Qd4+ 3.Kh1 Rxh2+ 4.Kxh2 Rh8+ 5.Kg3 Qg7#) </i></li></ul></ul><span id="goog_1230992593"></span><span id="goog_1230992594"></span><br />Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-82766391113991396602013-07-24T14:53:00.002-04:002013-07-24T14:53:52.165-04:00my favorite lessons 4: winning up a pawn&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I stole this from an endgame book, I'm sorry I don't remember which one. The idea is to give students a roadmap for how to win a simple minor piece endgame when they're up a pawn. Obviously, this is not so simple, and so your objective is not that they win 100% of the time, or even 75% or any particular % of the time, but more that they have an idea of the method and get some practice at it. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I start by showing them a position<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bvzBEXL1Zgc/UfAZjAci3uI/AAAAAAAAPCg/eXdZ2Pus0ro/s1600/endgame+threat+knight.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bvzBEXL1Zgc/UfAZjAci3uI/AAAAAAAAPCg/eXdZ2Pus0ro/s320/endgame+threat+knight.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div align="left" class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div align="left" class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">having a student tell me the material, and asking who thinks they could win this as white. (it doesn't matter what the answer is). I then ask who can explain to me what the plan is. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">The plan is this: </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">1. Centralize the king (I explain that you activate pieces in the endgame in the order of their power, i.e. queen first, then rook, the king is worth 4, so king next, then bishops and knights, and generally only after these pieces are activated do you start pushing the pawns.)<br />2. Activate the knight <br />3. Make a passed pawn by pushing the pawns on the side you have a majority. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">4. Once you've done that, the side with the extra pawn usually wins by some combination of:<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; a) pushing the passed pawn and invading with the king<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; b) trading knights<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; c) sacrificing the passed pawn to win the kingside pawns.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Make sure this is written on the board so students can refer to it later while they are playing. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I then ask for a volunteer to start white out by doing #1, centralizing the king. I move for black, and we play through the following moves: </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>1.Kf1 Ke7 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>2.Ke2 Kd6 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>3.Kd3 Kc5 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I then ask for another volunteer to take over and activate the knight:</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><strong></strong>&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>4.Nc2 Nd5 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><strong></strong>&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I ask what this threatens (Nf4+ winning a pawn) and how white can stop this: </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><strong>5.g3 a5</strong> </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Here I ask which pawn to push first, and if they don't know, remind them of the general rule that you push the potential passed pawn first, in this case the b pawn:</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>6.b3 f5 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>7.a3 g6 </b><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><b><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xUdzYVwTXO0/UfAb4_qvtrI/AAAAAAAAPCw/AsE7b63WABQ/s1600/endgame+threat+knight+2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xUdzYVwTXO0/UfAb4_qvtrI/AAAAAAAAPCw/AsE7b63WABQ/s320/endgame+threat+knight+2.jpg" width="320" /></a></b></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>8.b4+ axb4 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>9.axb4+</b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">At this point, you've completed step three, and I explain that you now try to advanced the pawn and be on the lookout for tactics that allow you to sneak in with your pieces, or trade knights. In general, you calculate as much as you can. Depending on the level of the class, I go faster or slower through the rest of the game: the exact moves don't matter as much as the kids grasping the basic plan in the beginning. You won't be able to teach technique and endgame control in one lecture-lesson, so don't try too hard. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><strong>9....Kd6 </strong> [9...Nxb4+ This is a nice example of how white wins fairly easily if black&nbsp;allows the knights to be traded.&nbsp;10.Nxb4 Kxb4 11.Kd4 Kb3 12.f4 Kc2 13.Ke5 Kd3 14.Kf6 Ke3 15.Kg7 Kf3 16.Kxh7 Kg2 17.Kxg6 Kxh2 18.Kxf5 Kxg3 19.Kg5] </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>10.Kd4 Nc7 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>11.f4 Nb5+ </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>12.Kc4 Nc7 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>13.Ne3 </b> [also good is 13.b5 Nxb5 14.Kxb5 Kd5 15.Ne1 Ke4] </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>13...Kc6 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>14.Kd4 Kd6 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>15.Nc4+ Kc6 </b> [15...Ke6 16.Kc5 <i> (16.Ne5 Kd6 17.Nf7+ Ke7 18.Ng5 h6 19.Nf3 Kf6 20.Kc5) </i>] </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>16.Ke5 Kb5 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>17.Ne3 Na6 </b> [17...Kxb4 18.Nd5+] </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>18.Nd5 Kc4 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>19.Nf6 h5 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>20.Nd5 Nb8 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>21.Ne7 Kxb4 </b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><b>22.Nxg6</b></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><strong></strong>&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">At this point, I reset the position and ask a student to repeat the general plan. Then students choose a partner, set up the position on their own boards, and practice playing the position as white and as black. Ideally, they should play twice, once with each color, and should have 10-15 minutes per side, although you can do it with 5 minutes each if you are pressed for time. Do remind them that playing an endgame with 5 minutes is not at all the same as playing a whole game with 5 minutes, and they should play slowly and thoughtfully as the position is tricky. &nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">the next day....</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I follow that lesson with its sister position:</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EEJokiRNOyU/UfAd9LpSn9I/AAAAAAAAPDA/ibFlaEymGmI/s1600/endgame+threat+bishop.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-EEJokiRNOyU/UfAd9LpSn9I/AAAAAAAAPDA/ibFlaEymGmI/s320/endgame+threat+bishop.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">which you will notice is exactly the same, but with bishops instead of knights. I ask students again how many think they would win the position, and hopefully a few more students raise their hands than last time. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I then ask what the basic plan is, and of course its essentially the same:</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">1. Centralize the king <br />2. Activate the bishop<br />3. Make a passed pawn by pushing the pawns on the side you have a majority. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">4. Once you've done that, the side with the extra pawn usually wins by some combination of:<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; a) pushing the passed pawn and invading with the king<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; b) trading&nbsp;bishops<br />&nbsp;&nbsp; c) sacrificing the passed pawn to win the kingside pawns.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I&nbsp;again show students a model game; you can also have them play first and show them the game afterwards, but I find with difficult lessons like this, many classes benefit from as much teacher-modeling as possible before they do it themselves. They play much better and are more likely to be successful if they see exactly how you do it first. </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I ask for a volunteer to help me do step 1: </div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"></div><b>1.Kf1 Kf8 </b><br /><b>2.Ke2 Ke7 </b><br /><b>3.Kd3 Kd7 </b><br /><b>4.Kc4 Kc6 </b><br /><br />then a new volunteer for step 2: <br /><b>5.Bc3 g6 </b><br /><b></b><br />and again a different student for&nbsp;step 3:<br /><b>6.b4 Bb6 7.f3 Bc7 8.a4 Bb6 </b><br /><b>9.Bd4 </b><b>Bc7 </b><br /><b>10.b5+ axb5+ </b><br /><b>11.axb5+ Kb7</b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-R8UyKpEfVMo/UfAhmj5I3-I/AAAAAAAAPDQ/Zd-D2c65s8A/s1600/endgame+threat+bishop+2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-R8UyKpEfVMo/UfAhmj5I3-I/AAAAAAAAPDQ/Zd-D2c65s8A/s320/endgame+threat+bishop+2.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><b></b><br />and again, don't get too worried about covering every detail of the rest: like every endgame it gets a little messy and there are many possibilities for each side. What's below are just examples! <br /><strong></strong><br /><b>12.Kd5 Bb8 </b> [12...Bf4 13.Be5 Be3 14.Kd6 Kb6 15.Ke7] <br /><b>13.Bf2 </b> [also good are 13.b6 Bg3; and 13.Be5 Ba7 14.Kd6 Bb8+ 15.Kd5 Ba7, which at first&nbsp;looks like repetition, but white invades&nbsp;after 16. Bg7 h5 17. Ke5] <br /><b>13...Bc7 </b><br /><b>14.g3 h5 </b><br /><b>15.h4 Bb8 </b><br /><b>16.b6 Kc8 </b><br /><b>17.Kc6 Be5 </b><br /><b>18.b7+&nbsp;</b><b>Kb8 </b><br /><b>19.f4 Bf6 </b><br /><b>20.Ba7+ Kxa7 </b><br /><b>21.Kc7 Bd8+ </b><br /><b>22.Kc8 </b><br /><br />Now again, return to the original position, have a student repeat the basic plan, and send the class off to practice. Circulate and watch: the most important thing is to catch players who aren't following the basic plan. Don't worry too much about showing kids every forced win that they miss: it's a difficult position and you don't want to undermine their confidence. Keep in mind that your goal here is to give students a basic plan to follow, not to police their endgame technique. <br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"></div></div>Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-3072257439189267382013-07-02T18:53:00.003-04:002013-08-02T14:55:30.738-04:00favorite lessons part 3: threats&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The idea and first position for this lesson is taken directly from Jeff Coakley's excellent book "Winning Chess Strategy for Kids." Most of my favorite lessons are stolen from Coakley's books, and let me say now that if you're a chess teacher and you don't have all his books, you should stop reading this&nbsp;right now&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.coakleychess.com/" target="_blank">order them</a>. They're all you'll ever need, I promise.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; That said, I start the lesson (as he suggests) with a general discussion of what a threat is: how in real life, a threat is bad ("I'm going to beat you up after school," "I'm going to tell," etc.) but in chess, a threat is great ("I'm going to take your piece") because it gives you a chance to be winning next move.&nbsp;The more threats you make, the more chances you give your opponent to make a mistake, and the more chances you will get an advantage. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In chess, a threat has to be specific, so&nbsp;when I ask "what's the threat?" I am really asking "Where are going going to move next turn?" and you should give me a specific answer, like Qxg7, rather than a vague answer, like "checkmate." For a threat to work in either real life or chess, it has to be something that the other guy is <em>actually scared of</em>.&nbsp;So if I say "I'm going to give you a piece of cake," that&nbsp;isn't a threat, and neither is threatening to play QxP if they can just recapture your queen. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Here's Coakley's position:<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-m9XtL2Exi0k/UdMFLtFFsAI/AAAAAAAAPAg/qHJYwrxZwCQ/s620/coakley+threat.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-m9XtL2Exi0k/UdMFLtFFsAI/AAAAAAAAPAg/qHJYwrxZwCQ/s320/coakley+threat.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; He talks about the following threats:<br /><ul><li>1. Be3, threatening to take the black queen.</li><li>1. Bd6, threatening to win the exchange</li><li>1. Qg2, threatening Qxg7#</li><li>1. Qd2, threatening the sacrifice 2. Bxh6</li></ul>and then more complex threats like <br /><ul><li>1. Be5, threatening to double black's pawns</li><li>1. Qe3, threatening to trade queens, since white is up material&nbsp; </li></ul>Obviously, you shouldn't just tell the kids this, you should ask them to find the threats. I like to show this position as an example, and then do a couple more, usually one opening position and one endgame. For example:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NBPm_XpQBS8/UdNV08aIEeI/AAAAAAAAPBA/y-dpdincANU/s620/opening+threat.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NBPm_XpQBS8/UdNV08aIEeI/AAAAAAAAPBA/y-dpdincANU/s320/opening+threat.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div>Threats include:<br /><ul><li>1. Bg5, threatening the queen;</li><li>1. Qa4, threatening the knight for a second time (a good opportunity to review counting attackers and defenders);</li><li>1. d4, threatening both to win the e5 pawn, and to play 2. d5, threatening (also&nbsp;winning)&nbsp;the knight (a good opportunity to review pins)</li><li>1. Ng5, threatening to take on f7 with the queen or knight (ask which threat is more dangerous). This can lead to an interesting discussion about how to follow up after 1...Nh6 or 1...Qd7. (2. f4 is a logical idea, as&nbsp;are 2. a5 and 2. Bc4)</li><li>1. a5 threatening both 2. a6, winning the knight by attacking the bishop, and to a lesser extent 2. axb6, threatening to make black's queenside pawns into targets. </li></ul>It's also good to talk here about how it's trickier to make less obvious threats, i.e. everyone will see that 1. Bg5 threatens the queen, but 1. d4 and&nbsp;1. a5 are harder. <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lMX_b7cntI0/UdNXO3cauFI/AAAAAAAAPBQ/TN5dwzLfrL8/s620/endgame+threat.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lMX_b7cntI0/UdNXO3cauFI/AAAAAAAAPBQ/TN5dwzLfrL8/s320/endgame+threat.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Threats include<br /><ul><li>1. Rhd1, threatening 2. Rd8 with backrank mate</li><li>1. h4, threatening to trap the bishop with 2. h5</li><li>1. Nd5, threatening a fork with 2. Ne7+</li><li>1. Rd7, threatening to take on b7. </li></ul>Tell students that in their games, they need to try to make as many threats as possible, and to show you when they make a good one. Write down the position in&nbsp;the best student example and use it as a review at the very end of class or the beginning of the following one. Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8556305125957341024.post-62908976974956102582013-06-30T18:28:00.000-04:002013-06-30T18:28:02.377-04:00my favorite lessons, part two: choosing the best capture<div style="text-align: center;"><strong>Choosing the Best Capture</strong>&nbsp;</div>level: absolute beginner<br />format: large group lesson<br />time: 15 minutes<br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I do this lesson as part of&nbsp;teaching how the pieces move. I normally teach the pawn first, then the rook, bishop, and queen, then the knight, then the king. (this is assuming 43 minute periods and 6th graders). After teaching the pawn, they play the pawn game. After teaching the rook bishop, and queen, they play a capturing game involving those three pieces plus the pawns, starting in their normal positions. I teach piece values simultaneously, and the objective of the game is to take more points than your opponent does. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If you were going to slow it down, I would teach just the queen in the second lesson, and have the kids play the excellent game Pawns vs Queen, (starting from normal positions, but with the d2 pawn advanced to d3). In this game, the black&nbsp;queen wins if she captures all the pawns; the white pawns win if one gets to the eighth rank, even if the pawn can immediately be captures upon doing so. This fantastic game teaches concepts like the double attack by the queen, advancing the pawns together to defend each other, and how much more dangerous the furthest advanced pawn is. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But when I teach the three pieces, rook bishop, queen, together, we practice their movement and captures by talking about which captures are best. This is really a bread and butter skill of chess, as&nbsp;capturing your opponent's pieces in the best possible way is 75% of playing well, and like all important skills, it needs to be taught explicitly.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Consider the following position, removing the kings (chessbase won't let me save a position without them, but of course the kids have not learned the king yet). <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0A9xtNqy3Vc/Uc8A6gRDHUI/AAAAAAAAO_Y/gQsastaCWbQ/s620/which+capture+r+b+q+p.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0A9xtNqy3Vc/Uc8A6gRDHUI/AAAAAAAAO_Y/gQsastaCWbQ/s320/which+capture+r+b+q+p.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div>The white queen can capture most of the pieces. I ask which black piece can the queen not capture.<br />I explain that the best capture is the one where you get the most points, and don't get recaptured. I then ask the kids to explain which pieces are protected, and how. I ask which pieces are not protected, and ask them to figure out which capture gets you the most points. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Often my second lesson takes a little longer than I would like, because I have a lot to do in it (reviewing the pawn, teaching three pieces, piece value, how to set the 4 pieces up, modeling 5 moves practice of the game they are going to play on the demo board, letting the kids play, and then&nbsp;showing them how to figure out who won at the end). If you feel rushed, this lesson also works very well as the review of R, B, Q, P movement at the beginning of lesson 3. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I do the same kind of thing after teaching the knight, for example:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QjYjvK6Ohkk/Uc8beGYC-eI/AAAAAAAAPAA/mDzs97EFZgQ/s620/which+capture+knight.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QjYjvK6Ohkk/Uc8beGYC-eI/AAAAAAAAPAA/mDzs97EFZgQ/s320/which+capture+knight.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div>Again, I ask which piece cannot be captured. Then I ask the students to talk through which pieces are defended and how, as well as how much each is worth. This gives us a chance to talk about how it's worth taking the defended queen over the free rook. <br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Finally an example from "real chess" <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-k1dCwPC2zQs/UdCs2vgK6xI/AAAAAAAAPAQ/DPDWIrEeiMc/s620/which+capture+many+pieces.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-k1dCwPC2zQs/UdCs2vgK6xI/AAAAAAAAPAQ/DPDWIrEeiMc/s320/which+capture+many+pieces.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />And here you can compare Rxd8 with Qxa8, and depending on your class and time situation, maybe someone will point out that while Qxa8 looks better in isolation, you could have the best of both worlds by&nbsp;taking on d8 first and&nbsp;then taking on a8.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Elizabeth Vicaryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04880561980096775673noreply@blogger.com3