About Our Chess Program
Our chess classes at AlphaMinds Academy
offer children of all ages and levels a
welcoming and friendly environment
where children can learn to play chess,
continue practicing and improving their
skills and meet other children who are
passionate about the game. Our program
is designed to take children from beginner
to tournament level and guide them
through the competitive process of becoming
a USCF rated chess player.
Our classes are taught in small groups, divided by skill level. Children are placed in a particular group based on his/her level. It is important that each child is placed into the right level group based on his/her level to allow them to benefit the most from our chess curriculum. Please see each level description below. If you are not sure which level your child should be placed, our chess coaches will assess your child during the first lesson and advise accordingly.
In our classes, children master the basic rules and principles of chess; learn the full range of tactical skills (pins, forks, skewers, etc); are introduced to opening, middle, and endgame theory; become capable of in-depth analysis of their own and others’ games; get familiar with chess notation; and most importantly, they acquire the love and appreciation for the game of Chess for life!
Please note: Aside from our Chess for Young Beginners classes, the rest of the classes are not age specific – i.e., any child at any age can be in any of the classes. Levels are based entirely on the children’s knowledge of the game.
AlphaMinds Academy is a registered chess club with the United States Chess Federation.
Why Teach Chess to Kids?
It is a well-known fact that chess develops intelligence. And what is intelligence if not the ability to solve problems? In our chess classes, children learn to play the game and discover that the techniques used to analyze chess situations can also be used, sometimes quite creatively, to grapple with puzzling questions in school and real life.
Chess can help:
Raise intelligence quotient (IQ) scores
Foster critical, creative, and original thinking
Demonstrate the importance of concentration and self-discipline
Improve problem solving skills
Challenge gifted children
Enhance social skills, raise self-esteem, overcome the fear of risk-taking
Improve reading, memory, and math skills
Chess for Young Beginners (4-6 years old)
Our chess classes for young beginners introduce children to the world of chess through story telling, games and interactive activities. Children learn piece names, movement and capture, as well as basic chess strategies. Equally important, children learn such critical skills as patience, persistence, logic and reasoning skills.
Chess - Beginners Level
This course is designed to teach chess to children who have none or limited prior knowledge of the game. Students are introduced to the basic history of chess and learn pieces names, value,movement, and capture, good trades vs. bad trades, as well as board notation and setup. The concepts of check, checkmate, stalemate and castling will follow. Finally, they will briefly learn central control and development, and two checkmates. Classes for younger students are taught in an interactive and playful form. Students use chess equipment in each class. Part of the class is board demonstrations and part practical interaction.
Please ensure this is the correct level for your child: This class is for children who range from having no background in chess to those who have learned how the pieces move but who still don’t have a strong, automatic command of all piece movements. The children who take this class may not know how to checkmate or castle.
Chess - Intermediate Level
This level is great for kids who have solid to complete understanding of the rules of the game and are ready for the next challenge. This class reviews the pieces and their movements, but goes into further detail on their values (depending on a given position, situation, etc.). It covers check and checkmate, introduces en passant, explains the rules of stalemates and draws, introduces tactics, and includes a small amount of theory surrounding openings, middle, and endgames.
Please ensure this is the correct level for your child: This class is for children who have a strong command of the pieces and their movements, but not necessarily castling and en passant. Children at this level may know how to checkmate, but in any case they do not have a dominant command of doing so. If all of your child’s games end in checkmates or draws, they should be in advanced class; if not, place them here, because checkmating is one of the tough aspects of chess to master, and it takes time and practice to gain a vision for it.
Chess - Intermediate II/Advanced Level
Our Advanced/Tournament level classes are perfect for children who know all the rules and have already had an introduction to theoretical chess concepts and have had at least minimum exposure to tactics training.
This class works on final preparations for children to begin USCF-rated club-level play, and teaches all the rules of the game at a tournament level. The en passant rule is covered and becomes part of regular games. Chess notation is introduced and covered, with the aim of having children write down all the moves of their games properly. Opening, middle, and endgame theory is covered, including advanced tactics and further insights into sound overall principles of chess strategy. They will also study the "immortal" games of world champions, as well as games of today's strongest grandmasters.
Please ensure this is the correct level for your child: This class is for children who have a strong, automatic command of checkmate and castling, and whose games all end in either checkmates or draws. Children in this class may not have an automatic command of the en passant rule, or be fluent in chess notation and the game analysis that goes with it, but they should be strong young players. We do not recommend your child participate in this class if he or she is relatively new to the game.
Chess - Tournament Level
This class features weekly “slow” chess games using chess clocks, and analysis of these games. Students will delve into complex opening, middle, and endgame concepts, during the analysis of their own games. Students will become increasingly comfortable with elements of “slow” tournament games, including managing their clocks and scoresheets.
Please ensure this is the correct level for your child: This class is for children who have a strong, automatic command of checkmate, castling, and en passant, and who are fluent in chess notation. The children in this class are essentially ready to play at club level, but may still want to add to what is already a full repertoire by playing and analyzing with other children their age. We do not recommend your child participate in this class if he or she is relatively new to the game. Indeed, we recommend children take the advanced class first, before moving on to this level.