Chess Coach Interview ~ Robin Ramson, DC Chess Girls

Chess Coach Business Interview

This spring, we had the chance to catch up with Robin Ramson, the Founder of DC Chess Girls: a Washington, D.C. based chess non-profit dedicated to encouraging more girls to play chess. When we spoke, she had just returned from a national tournament where her daughter got to compete with children from all over the country.

I know you have lots of stories about chess making a difference. Can you share one story with our readers?

The first one that comes to mind is that of a girl in our program who also participates in a school-based program. There weren’t many girls in the school-based program and the boys were much better than her when she started. Her mom said her daughter almost gave up many times, but ultimately had the courage to keep going due to her continued involvement with with DC Chess Girls. The other girls in the club were really supportive and we do a lot as a club to encourage tournament play. I think providing this kind of encouragement is essential. It takes so long time to get good at chess that recognition for effort and achievement of certain milestones can make a huge difference. I think girls respond well to people noticing their effort (not that boys don’t), so we make sure that we do just that. The other girls in our program are competitive, but they don’t participate in school programs. Even though the other kids on the school team had much higher ratings, it was this girl who ended up getting awards. In addition to the support, we’ve been lucky to have great coaching. I say ‘lucky’ because we are an all-volunteer organization and I hire only experts or above. Our coaches analyze games and provide lectures to prompt thinking about how the girls can take their games to next level. In addition to the chess improvement, the mom said her daughter has become more focused, less intimidated about taking tests, and shows more persistence when tackling difficult subjects. Continue reading “Chess Coach Interview ~ Robin Ramson, DC Chess Girls”

Guest Post ~ Bobby Fischer & Chess Resources for Boy Scouts and Others

Dr. Alexey Root Blog Post Boy Scouts and Strategy books

In this post, Dr. Alexey Root, WIM provides a little chess history and introduces two chess books that she recommends as resources for:

  1. Beginning to intermediate level chess players ages 11-18+.
  2. Boy Scouts interested in earning the Chess merit badge.
  3. Chess coaches who work with either of these groups of students. In particular, the Fischer columns have “chess puzzles” which would be good for homework or for group problem solving. Prepare With Chess Strategy provides exercises that teach chess strategies. Resources for teaching chess strategies are less common than tactics resources, such as “find the tactic” books and Internet trainers.


In the United States, if you say about someone “he’s a real boy scout” you mean that he is a role model. The type of person you would pick to organize donations after a disaster or to instill pride in America. But hearing “he’s a real boy scout” would not make you think of World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer in his later years. In the decade before Continue reading “Guest Post ~ Bobby Fischer & Chess Resources for Boy Scouts and Others”

Top 10 MATCH Chess Curriculum Blog Posts of 2016

MATCH Chess Curriculum Top 2016 Posts

  1. Domination: Our top post in 2016 shares a skill building game that teaches students to see the board at a glance. This post includes video instruction by GM Maurice Ashley and ideas for making the game more challenging (hint: play the “mean way” and use a clock). If you like Domination, you might also like Quibs, a skill building game using queens and bishops.
  2. Managing Varied Skill Levels in the Chess Classroom: Our second most popular post highlights creative ideas for making a class engaging when you have students with varied skill levels in the same class. If this is an issue for some of your classes, you might also find our post on using learning stations helpful.
  3. Continue reading “Top 10 MATCH Chess Curriculum Blog Posts of 2016”

MATCH Chess Curriculum Highlights and FAQ

MATCH Chess Curriculum Highlights

What is the MATCH curriculum?

The MATCH curriculum is a comprehensive chess program based on the training methods Grandmaster Maurice Ashley has been using effectively for over 25 years with the students in his classes, camps and private coaching. If you’ve seen Maurice teach, then you know that he keeps his classes moving and entertaining as he instructs with dynamic interaction and fun activities. We’ve taken all of that and crammed it into a curriculum that includes not just the content, but the activities and games that make his teaching so engaging. It is all provided in a digital presentation format so you can easily focus on teaching your students. No more hustling to pull together puzzles or other activities. The lessons are planned out and waiting for you to bring it to life. If you would like, you can also purchase the hard copy student manuals or simply print out the specific resources you want to incorporate. Continue reading “MATCH Chess Curriculum Highlights and FAQ”

Building a Comprehensive Chess Program with the MATCH Chess Curriculum

Developing a Full Chess Program with the MATCH Curriculum

One of the most important goals we had as we developed the MATCH Chess Curriculum was to help chess coaches, schools and other organizations scale chess programs in a sustainable way. Since strong players with excellent teaching skills can be hard to find/keep due to availability and/or cost, there was a pressing need to create a curriculum that would make teaching chess possible for anyone who is good at working with children.

By using MATCH as a base, limited coaching resources can be directed toward more advanced students while still providing beginning students with an engaging, comprehensive program. Here are some suggestions that could meet your coaching needs:
Continue reading “Building a Comprehensive Chess Program with the MATCH Chess Curriculum”

Chess Business Tips ~ Branding for Chess Coaches

Business and Marketing for chess coaches

I teach chess, so why should I worry about branding?

Imagine that you are a school administrator. You have specific policies on how the students at your school should be taught, disciplined and treated in general. You find a chess coach who fits with your approach. However, as the coach’s business expands, they end up hiring another coach to teach at your school. That coach doesn’t use the same approach. As a consumer, this feels almost like a bait and switch. You ‘bought’ one thing, but got another.  

Imagine that you are a parent.  You’ve hired a chess coach to teach chess to your child.  Perhaps you are happy with the coach, but they occasionally send substitutes that you don’t like. Perhaps the substitutes don’t have the same teaching philosophy, sometimes repeat material, or skip ahead.  

Marketing and Branding for Chess CoachesAlternatively, you sign your child up for a second chess class with the
same provider, but the second class seems to jump in at a different point than where the first one ended. You don’t know if your child is getting a well-planned chess education.  Maybe you are uncertain whether the material has already been covered. When you talk to your child,  it might sound like material is being repeated. Does it need to be? Is the coach is delving deeper into the topic or is it poor planning on the coach’s part? How can you tell?

In each of these scenarios, the likelihood of continued enrollment and referrals is jeopardized.  We have heard each of these complaints about service providers many times. As service providers, we often don’t think of ourselves or our company as having a brand, but whether or not we plan and cultivate a brand, we do have one. Continue reading “Chess Business Tips ~ Branding for Chess Coaches”

Chess Coach Resources ~ Free Printable Chess Posters for Beginners

We are pleased to provide four free chess posters for chess teachers and coaches who work with beginners. They are free to print as long as you do not alter them.  They are 18 x 24 inches. Simply download and save the file.  From there, you may upload it to a printing service. Continue reading “Chess Coach Resources ~ Free Printable Chess Posters for Beginners”