Free Online Summer Camp FAQ

*How can I register?

You should be able to register on the Free Chess Camp page, but if you were having difficulty you can register by filling out this Google Form.

*Do I need a Chess.com account?

Yes. We will be using Chess.com to play games and a tournament. You will need an account, but there is no cost to you. You can get one here.

*What can I expect now that I have registered?

On Friday July 24th we will be emailing all our students to let them know which group they are assigned to and instructions for the camp. We will have different groups doing different activities or lessons at various times based on their ages and experience levels. We will post the instructions online as well, but we request that students not work ahead.

*Where does it take place?

This is an online chess camp and will be conducted entirely over the internet. A computer with an internet connection, a free chess.com account, and the ability to watch YouTube videos are the only requirements. You will be able to participate without having to be in close contact with anyone.

*What age group and skill level is this camp is for? 

We are designing the camp so children will be broken into smaller groups based on age and skill levels and given instructions on which activities to do. This will allow us to accommodate children of all ages and chess abilities.

*Are you allowed to attend just one day?

Yes. Obviously, you would learn more if you attended the entire week, but we will be sending the instructions for each group before the camp. Other than missing the live lessons you should be able to go to our page and complete the majority of the activities when you have the time.

*What type of tournament will they play?

While we may have students play a certain number of games against a certain range of players on chess.com for practice, the main tournament will be a slow-play tournament specifically designed to encourage a long term commitment to chess and thoughtful play by requiring only 1 move per day.

*Is a camera needed to do this?

No, having a camera may be useful for some of the activities, but none of them will require a camera in order to participate.

*Are there any hidden costs or equipment we must purchase ahead of time in order for our child to attend the online chess camp?

No. This camp is tuition free and the only equipment needed is a computer which meets basic technology requirements.

*What are the technology requirements for the Free Online Summer Chess Camp?

Students need at minimum high-speed Internet access, a keyboard, and a computer capable of accessing YouTube and Chess.com.

*Do I need to be a member of the USCF to participate?

No. This will not be an official USCF event and the tournament will not be rated by the USCF.

*What if I want to register a large group?

care happy to accommodate a larger group. If you have more than a few students to register you can email dailychessmusings@gmail.com and we will send you an excel file that you can fill out with all the pertinent information and email back to us.

If you have a question that was not answered here then please email dailychessmusings@gmail.com and we will answer them.


Is it easier to learn chess or reading music?

Question: Is it easier to learn chess or reading music?

Chess notation and musical notation have a fair amount in common. Those who have studied diligently are rewarded with a chessboard/symphony in their mind. Still, reading musical notation and/or recording chess games are arguably the least fun aspects of “playing.” Some instructors even claim that it slows the learning process while new students find the practice dull or even revolting.

As a musician, I find that it is helpful remember that when learning a piece of music you can go as slowly as you need. Unless you are studying at a college level, no one should have a hard deadline to finish at a certain time. In the real world, a great deal of musical literacy has no speed necessity on the sight understanding part. It’s much more critical for practicing musicians to learn it right. Always remember that trying to learn a new piece of music to fast will undoubtably end up in working twice as hard to fix already well practiced mistakes.

As a chess player, the basic rules of chess are not very difficult to learn/teach but most new players despise notating their games at first. It’s simply much more fun to play 15 games in 1 hour than spend 1 hour focusing on playing and recording one game well. In chess, forging ahead without learning to notate properly will undoubtedly hurt newer players in the long run as they will repeat mistakes rather than learning from them. In youth chess tournaments, only the least skilled players do not notate their games and in professional circles, every player does.

As an instructor, I require that my students be either musically or chess literate based on their field of study. IMHO if you wish to have long term success in either art form you simply must be willing to put in the effort to build a foundational understanding. It stands to reason that such an understanding is much less likely without sufficient literacy in the art for which you hope to achieve success in.

My Wyzant profile is located here: Chris T. – Guitar and Chess Tutor in Fremont, CA


Wyzant Chess Tutoring

Question: What is your opinion of Wyzant.com chess tutoring?

Wyzant is a tutoring platform with many great educators. Having been a chess instructor for several decades, I recognize the profiles of many other highly qualified chess teachers. The whiteboard on Wyzant is easy to post chess problems on, I simply tilt the camera toward my demo board for demonstrating games and I play chess on a popular chess server while keeping our Wyzant connection open to have real time interaction with students during training games. As a chess coach, I really find that Wyzant offers everything I need to teach meaningful chess lessons on their platform.

I often describe finding the right chess instructor as a similar experience to finding the right pair of shoes. Wyzant offers a low risk way to find and try out a chess coach to see if it’s a good fit. Several of my online students have taken lessons from a couple other chess teachers before choosing my services which means that they are using Wyzant to make informed decisions as to which teacher fits them best. By empowering students in this way, Wyzant is helping to raise the bar for chess educators and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

My Wyzant profile is located here: Chris T. – Guitar and Chess Tutor in Fremont, CA


World Chess Championship 2013: Preview 1 of the Anand-Carlsen Match

With the Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match just days away, I have decided to start posting some of my favorite games played by either Viswanathan Anand or Magnus Carlsen. Our first game is taken from the 2003 World Youth Chess Championships. In the gem below, a fourteen-year-old Magnus Carlsen drops the “hammer” on his fellow Norwegian.

Black to move and win. (What did Magnus Carlsen play on move 17?)
Black to move and win. (What did Magnus Carlsen play on move 17?)

[Event “FIDE World Youth Chess Championship”]

[Site “Halkidiki (Greece)”]

[Date “2003”]

[Round “1”]

[White “Hammer, Jon Ludvig (NOR)”]

[Black “Carlsen, Magnus (NOR)”]

[Result “0-1”]

[Eco “B07”]

[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.Nf3 {Thus begins an exciting encounter between Norway’s two young superstars. I am sure Norway’s coaches were wondering why this had to happen in round 1}


2.d4 Nf6

3.Nbd2 g6

4.e4 {Jon Ludvig Hammer has complete control of the center.}


5.Bd3 O-O

6.O-O Nc6

7.c3 e5 {Magnus Carlsen strikes at white’s central advantage.}

8.h3 {Hammer plays a clever but slow move here. In doing so, he keeps control of the

Center and makes Carlsen’s bishop on “c8” a very difficult piece to develop usefully.}

Nh5 {Magnus Carlsen chooses to complicate matters after his opponent’s “slow” move.}

9.dxe5 {Hammer plays what Carlsen was hoping for. Better was}

( 9.Nb3 Nf4 10.Bxf4 exf4 11.Qd2 {

Jon Ludvig Hammer would still be controlling the center, his king is castled

and his rooks are unified(the rooks can “see” each other.} )


{Hammer’s center is fracturing and Magnus Carlsen’s knight has invaded his territory with initiative.}

10.Bb5 {?} {Hammer bishop would be way better on “c4” sharing a diaganol with Carlsen’s

king. On “b5” it pins Carlsen’s knight to an empty square.}

Nxe5{!} {Carlsen’s knights are becoming Hammer’s problems.}

11.Nxe5{?} {Big mistake. Better was:} ( 11.Nc4 Ned3 12.Bxf4 Nxf4 13.Ne3

c6 14.Bd3 Be6 )

Qg5 {!} {The obvious punishment for Hammer’s last crime.}

12.Ng4 Qxb5

13.Nb3 Ne2+ {!} {Carlsen is still punishing Hammer’s eleventh move. I can almost hear Montell Jordan singing “This is How We Do it.”}

14.Kh1 Bxg4

15.hxg4 Rae8 {!} {If you can spot why Carlsen played his last move, you are doing better than Hammer did in this game.}

16.Be3 {????} {Correct was:} ( 16.a4 Qc4 17.Be3 )

Rxe4 17.Re1

{Jon Ludvig Hammer must have been praying that Magnus Carlsen does not see the neat finish.}

Qh5+ {!} {Of course Hammer resigns. After gxh4, Rh4 is mate.} 0-1

(GM) Rashid Nezhmetdinov

Question: Why wasn’t Rashid Nezhmetdinov a Grandmaster?

Answer: By most accounts, Rashid Nezhmetdinov should be a Grandmaster (if for no other reason than having won the Russian Championship over a talented field in 1950, 1951, 1953, 1957 and 1958.) It wasn’t until 1950 that the Grandmaster title was first awarded by FIDE and only 27 players including the world champion at the time (Botvinnik), those who had qualified or were seeded into the inaugural Candidates tournament and a further dozen players who were awarded the title for past achievements. Unfortunately for the 40 year old Rashid Nezhmetdinov, … https://qr.ae/Txa7tB

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 35

Black just played Bxf3. How should white respond?

Black just played Bxf3. How should white respond?

Basic Chess Strategy

Question: What are some common chess strategies?

Answer: Below is a list of chess strategies known as Reuben Fine’s “Thirty Rules of Chess”. Chess is a complicated game and there will always be exceptions to any rule. However, it is a good exercise to understand why each item below is generally recognized as good chess strategy and to employ these rules in your own games.


  1. OPEN with a CENTER PAWN.
  2. DEVELOP with threats.
  3. KNIGHTS before BISHOPS.
  4. DON’T move the same piece twice.
  5. Make as FEW PAWN MOVES as possible in the opening.
  6. DON’T bring out your QUEEN too early.
  7. CASTLE as soon as possible, preferably on the KING SIDE.
  9. Try to maintain at least ONE PAWN in the center.
  10. DON’T SACRIFICE without a clear and adequate reason.

For a sacrificed pawn you must:
 DEFLECT the enemy QUEEN,
 BUILD UP a strong attack.


  1. Have all your moves fit into definite plans.
    Rules of Planing:

a) A plan MUST be suggested by SOME FEATURE IN THE POSITION.
b) A plan
c) A plan

Evaluating a Position:


  1. When you are material AHEAD, EXCHANGEas many pieces as possible, especially QUEENS.
  2. AVOID serious pawn WEAKNESSES.
  3. In CRAMPED POSITIONS free yourself by EXCHANGING.
  4. DON’T bring your KING out with your OPPONENT’S QUEEN on the board.
  6. If your opponent has ONE or MOREpieces EXPOSED, look for a COMBINATION.
  7. IN SUPERIOR POSITIONS, to ATTACKthe ENEMY KING, you must OPEN a file (or less often a diagonal) for your HEAVY PIECES (QUEEN and ROOKS).


  1. To win WITHOUT PAWNS, you must be at least a ROOK or TWO MINOR PIECESahead (two knight excepted).
  2. The KING must be ACTIVE in the ENDING.
  4. The EASIEST endings to win are PURE PAWNendings.
  5. If you are ONLY ONE PAWN ahead, EXCHANGE PIECES, not pawns.
  6. DON’T place your PAWNS on the SAME COLOR SQUARES as your BISHOP.
  7. BISHOPS are BETTER than KNIGHTS in all but BLOCKED pawn positions.
  8. It is usually worth GIVING UP A PAWN to get a ROOK ON THE SEVENTH RANK.

Source: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-common-chess-strategies/answer/Chris-Torres-13?ch=10&share=a594e89b&srid=i4Sz

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 54

White to move and win. (Hint: Bishop domination is the key strategy.)

White to move and win (T. Dawson, 1925).

The Grandmaster of Unorthodox Chess!

Question: Who are the most controversial or unorthodox chess players? Why? What do you think of them?

Answer: GM Bent Larsen (Jørgen Bent Larsen 3/4/1935 – 9/9/2010) was the greatest unorthodox chess player to have ever graced Caïssa with his devotion. Famous for his innovative and unorthodox style, Bent Larsen was the first Western player to present a serious challenge to the Soviet hegemony in chess…https://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-most-controversial-or-unorthodox-chess-players-Why-What-do-you-think-of-them/answer/Chris-Torres-13?ch=10&share=e07a6a5c&srid=i4Sz

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 34

White just played Nc3. What is black’s crushing move? (Hint: Analyze checks, captures and threats.)

What is black’s crushing move?