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Category Archives: Chess Coach

Ditsy Chess Girls

Benefits of Chess Beyond the Board

By | Chess, Chess Blog, Chess Coach, Chess Master, ChessTastic, Rafeh Qazi | No Comments

Benefits of Chess Beyond the Board

The vast beneficial implications of chess extend beyond the chess board. It improves your logical thinking, reasoning skills, and concentration. However, the benefits are not limited to those. It has proven to improve academic performance in Mathematics (calculation) and even English (displaying highly complex logical thought structures and reasoning). The hardest part of being a chess instructor is moving students and parents away from some doubts they have about the game of chess. It is hard convincing the non-believers that chess is beneficial to those who learn and play the game. I had a day when one little girl looked up at me during an elementary school Open House, and with a straight serious face said, “Chess is for boys, I’m a girl! I can’t play this!” Another time, after making his way through a chess puzzle, a frustrated student muttered to himself, “I’m not smart enough for chess.” One particular parent of an ADHD student came to me after class with a concern, “Is he able to sit and play with the other children? I don’t know if chess is meant for him.” As tough as it might be to hear this from students and parents; it brings the greatest pleasure to us, the instructors, when parents understand the benefits of the game and their children are confident enough to conquer chess. Everyone has questions regarding these aforementioned benefits of chess so let us take a look at a few of the many benefits of learning how to play chess at an early age. The same benefits apply to even those who have been playing chess for years.

Chess teaches logical thinking

While facing an opponent in chess, students are forced to foresee the outcome of each of their moves on the chessboard. This mind process of, “If I do this, then this will happen, and then I will do this,” translates to real life where the students are able to assess their actions and predict consequences of those actions.

Chess builds patience and concentration

After students get equipped with the basic knowledge of the game, they play other students in tournament style settings. When the games begin, it is amazing how a lively class can transform into a peaceful bliss with the quiet shuffling of pieces. In this time, players are focused on one thing: checkmate, but they must be patient to get to the end of the game. A study was done on several schools that had implemented after school chess programs. They looked at the academic performance of students who took chess during the early years of elementary school and compared the academic performance of those students who were not learning chess in elementary school. This data was taken from several schools and the statistical data proved the students who started learning chess at an early age had significantly better academic performance than students who were not engaged in the activity.

Research says chess improves memory and prevents Alzheimer’s

The brain is a muscle which needs to be exercised just like you might exercise a bicep or the abdomen. Schools have implemented stricter Physical Education programs to condition the bodies of the students. Now schools are incorporating chess programs into their after school activities because they recognize the importance of exercising the brain as well as the body. This popular board game works the most important muscle, the brain. Students begin to recognize patterns and tactics of chess. They can remember how specific opponents play their games. Students can even develop the ability to recall all of the moves played in a game. Research has shown, if chess is played at an early age, it prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s at an old age.

Chess is fun for rainy days

This game has become extremely versatile. Students have brought their iPads and tablets into my class to show me highlights of the games they played when the family was traveling or even shopping. Chess can be played on a rainy (or sunny) day because it is meant to be played at all ages. There are different variations to the game where the entire family can team up and dive into a game of chess. Tournaments are hosted locally to provide a fun outlet for competitive chess players (boy or girl). These were just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more benefits of chess but if I were to go on I would have a novel to publish. Now that you know a thing or two about the benefits of chess, time to go play the game.

Happy Chess Playing!

BTHS Happy Team Picture p

ChessTastic Tournament at Bloom TWP High School

By | 2000, Chess, Chess Coach, ChessTastic, niles north, Rafeh Qazi | No Comments

Niles North had a ChessTastic Tournament at Bloom TWP High School

We played really well at this tournament and ended up getting 3rd place in the Fresh Soph section (Jiedong, Manduul, Eric H, Jacob)! Shoutout to Craig for receiving 1st place in the open section! Everyone did amazingly at the tournament so that was awesome. We have a few new additions to the chess team: Jacob Shor (Freshmen) & Natalie Badalov (Sophomore). Welcome to the team guys and hope you guys enjoy the next three-four terrific years at Niles North Chess Club. Overall it was a ChessTastic tournament.

Some important things to take away from this tournament are to focus on your plans and keep the initiative! Do not give in too easily to your opponent’s plans. Always follow through with your plans or try very hard to at least. DO NOT make your opponent look smart by responding to all his moves the whole game. Make your opponent respond to YOU! This is called MACHO CHESS and that is what you guys should be playing. This will help you create plans in the opening, middle game, and even the endgame. Remember: “Tactics flow from a superior position” -Bobby Fisher (World Chess Champion). You can only get a superior position if you worked through your plans and achieved a better position.

Also, please develop and castle as fast as you can every game ! I noticed you guys were not doing that this tournament and some people lost their games in a very unfortunate way!


Also, there are some interesting pictures… Look for Craig’s creepy picture!

Back Rank Weakness

By | Back Rank, Chess Coach, private chess tutor, Puzzle, Tactic, Tactical Motifs | No Comments

This tactic will help you determine how well you understand the back rank weaknesses. Please, as always, take your time! Do not rush to click the answer button or even the hints! Do not forget to click hints/solution to check your final answer!  Good luck!

Hint 1

Back Rank Weakness
Hint 2

Add more pieces to the attack… Maybe the Bishop can play a role?

1. Bh3! Bxh3
2. Qf7+ Kh8
3. Qf8+ 1-0
1. Bh3! Re8
2. Rf8+!! Rxf8
3. Bxe6+ Qxe6
4. Qxe6

Happy Thanksgiving!

By | 2000, Chess, Chess Coach, Expert, Puzzle, Tactic, Tactical Motifs | No Comments

Rafeh Qazi vs. Dylan [Happy Thanksgiving!]

A miniature tactical espionage. A flashback to my earlier swashbuckling, almost 19th century romantic era type of chess play. A game I believe to fit today’s holiday theme perfectly well. Eat your turkey & check out my game! Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

ChessNetwork Clearance Tactic

By | Beginner, Chess, Chess Coach, Chess Master, private chess tutor, Study, Tactic, Tactical Motifs | No Comments

This is not too difficult of a puzzle. It is mostly an entertaining one and to get you to think outside the box. This is from a bullet game played by ChessNetwork (Jerry, who hosts a chess channel on YouTube). Do not forget to click hints/solution to check your final answer!  Good luck!

Hint 1

Pawn Promotion Puzzle
Hint 2

Maybe the queen can help the h pawn move forward?

1. … Qg3+!
2. hxg3 h2+
3. Kf1 h1=R#

Niles North Chess Tournament at West Chicago High School

By | Chess, Chess Coach, Chess Master, chess team, niles north | No Comments

We are here at West Chicago High School playing an 8-Board Chess tournament. A four round scholastic tournament. Currently the score is 2-1 (2 wins against, Sterling and McHenry, & 1 loss to Hinsdale), so far so good! Let’s see what the future holds! 1 more round left…

[On the right in the blue jacket on board 1, leading the team is Lyle Rubin]

Update: The final result is 2-2. We lost to Naperville Blue (1249 Average Rating) last round.

Lesson of The Day

MACHO CHESS. Follow through with your plans and agendas at any cost. Make YOUR idea work, no matter how hard you have to work to make it happen over the board. Come up with a plan and then follow through with it. Many games were lost today that had great ideas, but just not enough will power to execute them! Create a plan, execute it, and work hard to make it work!


Board Order
1. Lyle Rubin
2. Adam Rubinberg
3. Eric Musielski
4. Sohail Amin
5. Nahiyan Chowdhury
6. Bill Kim
7. Brad D’Costa
8. Manduul Tsetsegmaa

Hannah Bader
Craig Rykowski
Eric Helgemo
Naseer Azam 

Pawn Promotion Puzzle [1400+]

By | Chess, Chess Coach, Endgame, Pawn Promotion, Puzzle, Study, Tactic | No Comments

This puzzle is fairly simple and straight forward. Sorry I have been busy so I did not get a chance to post something sooner! It is not TOO simple though. Think you got what it takes? Try your hand at this Pawn Promotion Puzzle [1400+]. Take your time, there is always a better move :). The title should offer a great amount of help. Make sure you click for solution to check your answer!

Click for Solution

1. Rxe6 fxe6
2. Qxd5 cxd5
3. f7! 1-0

No way to stop white from making a new queen!

Nifty Chess Puzzle [1800+]

By | Chess Coach, Endgame, King and Pawn, Puzzle, Study | No Comments

This is a very nifty chess puzzle and not easy by any means. So please spend some time before you check the solution. You are most likely wrong if you get the answer too quickly and thought it was easy :).

Click for Solution
1… Kf7
2. Re5! (if f8=Q then Rf5+!) so, f8=R!!
3. Rh5 (to stop Rh1 mate) Kg6!
Threatening the rook and Rf8 mate.


Instructive Defense Against A Raging Attack

By | Chess Coach, niles north, private chess tutor, Tactical Motifs | One Comment


A really instructive defense against a raging attack is demonstrated by Lyle Rubin in his game against Henry McDonald at Evanston. There are a couple of moments that involve very cool defensive moves and a game like this requires nerves of steel, as one wrong move can cost you the entire game! Click below to view the thoughts, analysis, and emotions of the Game of The Tournament player himself! Enjoy…

Instructive Defense Against A Raging Attack