For my 10 hours of community service I volunteered at Taos Academy, where I went to high school, and ran an after school chess club for Taos Academy students. My students’ age range was from about 10 to about 15, which worked out well as that age group is very good at learning chess due to still having the “kid brain” which absorbs information really well, and also due to the fact that kids in that age range are much more patient than kids under 10. This, combined with their chess goals (be that becoming the best in the club, or just being able to beat their dads) proved to be a good combination for learning. All of my students improved immensely from day 1 (back in late March 2017) to the last day of school. Once school let out I continued the chess club with the Summer chess club which I decided to hold at TCEDC’s HACT building where they teach the FSOP and hold other meetings and events. The entire TCEDC staff has been very supportive of the chess club, we are about to advertise it more and see if we can get more members of all ages.
I have played chess for about 14 years now, and I have taught for about 10 of those years so I have a lot of experience with both playing and teaching chess. My style of teaching is to make sure the students have as little as possible to memorize (some things such as the opening need to be memorized to a certain degree) while instead focusing on techniques and ideas of chess, along with some good principles of chess (don’t bring out your queen too early, castle to protect your king, make sure you have an advantage before starting an attack, etc.). This teaching method has worked extremely well for me and I have actually taught 2 State K-6 champions in the past. I’m glad that I got to volunteer and teach these kids and I’m hoping that the Summer chess club will bring even more good into the community as I do plan to continue it through the entire Summer.