Friday, December 16, 2011

December News

Chess Club at Frank Love is well under way.  The kids are having some challenging games and we are seeing an improvement in skills.  A few more have won official “challenge matches” against some of our most competitive players.  Congratulations to those players!  Chess club will resume January 5th, 2012.  Take some time to play chess with your kids, or play with relatives.  Happy Holidays! 

Ms. Martin has signed on as our newest official Chess Club Coach.  A big welcome and thank you to Ms. Martin!  With 72 students, we are still in need of more volunteers.  If you can make it even for just a few of the meetings, it would be greatly appreciated. 

Chess club is from 3:10-4:10 on Thursdays in the school library.  In order to maintain peace, we ask that parents please wait outside of the library until the students are dismissed.  We present the good sportsmanship award and often have announcements in the final minutes of chess club.  If you need to pick your child up early, please fill out the early release form that should be on Mrs. Newton’s desk.

On January 8th, Frank Love Chess Club has reserved the meeting room at the Bothell library from 1-3.  This is a chance for kids to come and play with their families and friends in a more casual atmosphere.  Shelton View Chess club and their families have been invited to join us to add some new players to the mix.  Please join us for some chess fun.

There are many tournaments coming up and we would love to see our Frank Love Chess Team in the competition.  Last year we came in 2nd and 3rd in a few tournaments.  Will we make it to first place this year?   Below is a list of tournaments in the Bothell area.  You can sign up by going to

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Upcoming Chess CLub Events

Chess tournaments have begun in the area.  At least two students from Frank Love will be attending the 6th Annual Sammish State Qualifier on Saturday November 19th.  If you are interested in signing up and participating on the Frank Love team, you can do so on the Chess4Life website. 

There are 3 upcoming state qualifying tournaments in Bothell.  Heritage Park Christian Academy will be hosting a state qualifier on February 11, 2012.  Cedar Park Christian will host their state qualifier on March 10, 2012.  Shelton View will host their state qualifier (at Lockwood) on March 31, 2012.  We will be talking about and preparing for these tournaments at our chess club meetings.

There will be no Chess Club meetings for the rest of November.  Due to days off and half days, the next time Chess Club will meet again is on Thursday December 1, 2011.  Hope to see you there! 

Our attendance has grown dramatically this year.  As of our last chess club, we had 72 students signed up (We had about 40 players last year).  We are excited to have this many students and would be even more excited to have more parents present to help with these meetings.  Please let us know if you can help.

The last Chess Club meeting on November 3, 2011 ended rather hastily.  Usually at the end of Chess Club we wrap things up with a few announcements, including giving out the "Good Sportsmanship" award for the week.  The award consists of a certificate and a chess pin to recognize one player each week who has demonstrated good sportsmanship in the club.  Last week we were unable to give out an award because too many were in a hurry to leave.  We also did not have time to discuss the November school schedule and how it would affect Chess Club.  Please remember that Chess Club officially ends at 4:10.  When one student is rushed out of the room a few minutes early, the trickle-down effect occurs. 

Mark your calendar!  The Frank Love Chess Club has reserved the meeting room in the Bothell library on Sunday January 8th from 1-3pm.  We have invited the Shelton View Chess Club to join us to play chess.  All students, and families are welcome to attend.  This is not a drop-off event.  We are hoping this event will give more parents a chance to challenge some of the players on our chess team and give the players an opportunity to play against another local chess team.  Let us know if you can make it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chess Club Update

It was another great week for chess club.  This week we discussed many things.  All players should now know how to properly set up a chess board.  Ask your student if s/he knows what "white on right" means. 

We also moved onto some chess strategies.  We discussed how a "pin" can be useful.  See if your student remembers how we used a pin to get a checkmate.

The beginners group have been quick learners.  They have started playing games with each other and should be able to join the rest of the group soon!

Thank you to all who have completed and returned the northshore school district activities emergency information form.  Starting this week, October 20th, there will be an attendance sheet.  Students will have to sign into chess club and will not be allowed to stay without a completed form on file.  If you still need one, there are some in the office or you can contact me,

Quite a few people were interested in ordering Chess Club T-shirts this year.  The order was placed last week.  It takes about two weeks for the shirts to be ready and they will be distributed at chess club.

The Chess Club trophies have moved.  Mrs. Newton gave us permission to use the glass cabinet in the library to display the trophies and awards chess club has earned.  There are also some fun chess quotes and in keeping with Mrs. Newton's "question of the month," there is a "puzzle of the month" in the display.  Check it out and let us know if you have the answer!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frank Love Chess Club Off to a Great Start!

Check out the plaque in the school office!  Frank Love Chess Club performed very well at the 2011 Washington State Elementary Chess Championship.  Nine students represented our school and as a team they won 25th place in the state for grades 1-3! Congratulations to our players!

This year Frank Love Chess Club has grown dramatically. We ordered 15 new chess boards to accommodate all the players. We are very excited to have such a large chess club and are hoping this will help us continue to perform well at more tournaments this year. But we can't do it without your help.
Currently we have just two adult chess players who have committed to volunteering each week for our chess club meetings. If you know how to play chess and can attend our meetings please do so. We meet in the Frank Love library on Thursdays after school from 3:10-4:10.

A big thanks to Ms. Martin who has dedicated her time and chess skills to help with chess club and to Amy Cabrera who is learning to play chess and helps with our club every week.
Even if you don't know how to play chess, your help is very much needed and appreciated. Please contact me to volunteer:

The Northshore School District Emergency Information form was given to students the last two weeks.   Please make sure that you have completely filled out, signed and returned the form. You can get one at chess club or contact me for a new one.

We are also collecting T-shirt order forms. Frank Love Chess Club T-shirts are great to wear to tournaments, school spirit day or chess club. The cost is $10 are available in youth and adult sizes. We are extending the deadline to this Thursday 10/13. Again, please contact me if you need a form.

Local chess tournaments have already begun. You can register for tournaments through the chess4life website.   Beginner tournaments are for students who have competed in 3 or fewer tournaments.  There is a beginner's tournament on November 5th in Bellevue.  Also on November 5th in Bellevue, there is a Round Robin State Qualifying tournament.  Students will be grouped into a team of 6 players.  We're hoping to have enough students register so that we can have a Frank Love team compete in the tournament.

Frank Love Chess Club is off to a great start and we're excited about the upcoming year!

Go Cheetahs!

Monday, March 28, 2011

March Madness in Montlake Terrace?

Given that we are in the season that basketball fans refer to as "March Madness", I want to describe a miraculous chess tournament finish in terms that can be appreciated by any basketball fan.  Imagine a basketball team down by 10 to a superior opponent with less than a minute to go in the game.  When all seemed lost, the team suddenly plays at a level that none could have imagined to tie the game and send it into overtime.  There, in overtime, our team crushes the opponent to take the title. 

This very scenario played out on Saturday, March 19 at the WA State Elementary Team Championships held in Montlake Terrace.  In fourth place, with one match left against the first place team with 2 undefeated kids at 4 wins and 2 at 3 wins, our kids showed no fear.  One by one, our kids came out victorious and took 3.5 points out of a possible 4 from the first place team.  Our #1 and #2 boards handed their #1 & #2 their only loss of the day on that last match.  We split the #3 match and won the #4.  This propelled us into a  "speed chess" tiebreaker for 3rd place. 

Our kids, who have never played "speed chess" before were poised and fearless.  Each started slow and were behind in the openning few minutes.  Suddenly, our #2 (Kobe) yelled "checkmate", shortly followed by another "checkmate" from our #1 (Rohan).  Having lost our #4 (Kenney) match, we were down to our Ryan, our #3 board.  When a checkmate on Ryan was inevitable, Ryan brings in his knight and executes a perfect fork on 2 rooks.  Play of the day for Ryan.  Still in deep trouble, Ryan is chased relentlessly but somehow evades capture to run out the clock for win #3.  It was pure excitement for the parents and kids that had to privilege of watching this speed chess tiebreaker. 

We are very proud of these kids and what they have been able to accomplish in the year three of Frank Love Chess Club.  We owe much of our success to their dedication to train weekly with coaches Collin and Elliott from Chess4Life.  Just look at these happy faces...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Tournament Success

Rohan Skariah(4th Grade) and Roshan Skariah (First Grade) won the First places for the a) Grade 4 - Grade 6 (U1000) & b) Kindergarten - Grade 1 (U1000) sections respectively in the March Month's Chess State qualifier tournament hosted by Chess4life held in Bellevue on 3/12/2011 (Saturday).
Rohan received 4.5 points out of 5 (undefeated - winning 4 games and one in a tie) and won first place under Grade 4 - Grade 6 (U1000).  Roshan received the first place under Kindergarten - Grade 1  (U1000) sections by winning all 5 games.   
Together they won 9.5 points (Winning 9 rounds and one round in tie out of the total 10 rounds), and won the second place in the School team trophy (adding up all points for the players in each school).  They were the only two kids represented Frank Love Elementary school this time.

Congratulations to Rohan and Roshan!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chess4Life Report from Coach Elliott

Dear Chess Parents,

Congratulations to Rohan Skariah from the Spring Fling -  bringing into class his impressive trophy! Nice work!! 
This week we worked as a group on several important concepts associated with finding Active Moves.  First, Active Moves are defined as moves that put the opponent in Check, Capture a Piece, or Threaten to do one of the above. These moves are very important to look for because most games are won (or lost) due to finding (or missing) an Active Move!

Next, we played "Three Checks You're Out!!" - to reinforce looking at all checks, this variation is simply the following: Whoever accomplishes 3 checks in a game first, wins! Students had great fun doing this!

We also worked on finding captures (and targeting specific pieces) by playing "Extinction Chess" - we chose Knights as the pieces to become 'extinct' - and in each game, whoever managed to capture the opponent's knights first, won!

Finally, I'm attaching a position that we used to illustrate how Active Moves can easily win games! This position comes from the Spring Fling tournament, on board 1, round 3 - and white could have won if only he found the best active move! Can you see it? (or remember the variation that wins?)

Note - for answers, please ask one of the students from my class. :) Or if enough people are wondering, we can post the answers next week. 

Also - kudos to Frank Love students - already 5 students have qualified for the elementary state championships!! Way to go team! Remember the last chance to qualify is April 16th!!

Upcoming Events:
Best wishes - and as always, let me know if you have questions.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chess Club Update

Much has changed since our last posting.  I promise to restart the updates from this point on.  Here’s a quick summary:

·       Started the year with about 45 kids with many returning
·       We hired Chess4Life to provide an opportunity for kids that
would like to learn from some of the best chess coaches around.  Coach Elliott Neff began working with about 15 of our students and they have learned a tremendous amount.  
·       Coaches Matt, Dawn and Long continue to work with the other
students, leveraging teaching videos and workbooks from Chess4Life
·       We are over halfway through the year and now focused on getting a few more students to qualify for the WA State Elementary Chess Championships.   Currently, the following kids from Frank Love have qualified for State:  Aidan, Curtis, Kenny, Rohan and Roshan. 

Here is a recent update from Coach Elliott Neff

We continued with the make a mate challenge AFTER having all students put into practice what they have learned so far. Focusing on looking for checks and captures is crucial.  We also did the "Sitting Duck Challenge" to reinforce the magic square checkmate concept - students had a great time with this challenge, especially when I took on 4 at one time!

Students have now completed the make a mate challenge in the knight level exercise book - and I am very happy to say that the students were doing very well with learning 'teamwork' by assisting each other as soon as they had completed their own series of make-a-mates. students learned to give hints and help explain to their teammates - not just give answers.  
We are looking forward to continuing to move forward through the knight level topics - and at the
same time, the most important area for the 
students to practice is to simply go slowly enough and look for ALL checks and captures - this will help them immensely!
Also - congratulations to Roshan Skariah who came back with a first place trophy from his competition on Feb 12th at the Chess4Life Center!  The Skariah brothers have been advancing quickly indeed. Also, kudos to Curtis who was the first student to complete the Knight Level test! In fact - with the 2 brothers representing Frank Love at that challenge - we just needed a couple more Frank Love students and very likely FL may have come back with a team award! (based on the top 4 scores from any school represented in the competition)

Suggestions for home study to help improve:
  • The book Chess Tactics for Students by Bain would be great for this whole group to work on and strengthen the most important part of their game - Tactics! 
  • Friday Night Quads in Bellevue - while a bit of a drive, the competition is great because
         students always play with others of similar ratings - first time players receive a prize - and students can practice what they are learning...and on top of that, parents can drop off their child(ren) and have a date night for a couple of hours. :)
  • Play chess with your child - and ask him/her what he/she has learned in class this greatly helps for the child to try to 'teach' someone else what they have learned in order to store the concepts in long term memory