S T A F F
NM Joshua Romero Instructor and Owner
Paul Szeligowski Instructor and Founder
Rick Christie Instructor and Photographer
Victor Huang Instructor
NM Ryan Swerdlin Instructor
About the Camps
The Boulder County Chess School, established in 2007, will celebrate 10 years of successful operation in 2017. We offer two summer camps this year. The first chess camp will be held in June (12th to 16th) and the second will be held in July (24th to 28th). Both camps last five days, Monday through Friday, and will be located in Gunbarrel at Boulder Country Day School.
Campers may choose from full-day or half-day options to suit their busy summer schedules. All campers will receive a T-shirt, chess book, and certificate of completion! To maintain an optimal learning environment, each participant is assigned to one of five groups that match his or her current skill level. The groups include, in ascending order, the Pawns’ group, Knights’ group, Bishops’ group, Rooks’ group, and the Kings’ group. Over the past decade, we’ve had many dedicated campers advance all the way from the Pawns’ group, whose members may be entirely new to chess, to the Kings’ group, whose members are competing in state tournaments and, less frequently, tournaments across the US!
Over the past decade, through experience and experimentation, we have developed a “core curriculum” that all students receive. The core curriculum imbues a well-rounded understanding of chess and its components (opening—the beginning of the game, middlegame, endgame, strategy, and tactics). The chess content is most commonly presented in the following format: lecture, discussion, then practice problems. Novel exercises in which campers vote on the best move in a position or vote on the expected outcome of a game are also utilized. Most importantly, all campers will learn the “Thinking Techniques” developed by Paul Szeligowski. This system of thinking about chess transforms the mysterious art of solving chess tactics into a concrete, step-by-step procedure that all participants can grasp.
To employ their newly developed chess skills, campers will participate in a week-long chess tournament among their fellow group members. Most days, there will be one tournament game in the morning and one in the afternoon. Full-day campers will experience about two tournament games per day. Half-day campers will only play about one tournament game per day. Within each group, the three campers who score the most points in the tournament (1 point for a win, 0 for a loss, and .5 for a draw) will receive an illuminated, laser-etched, crystal trophy!
The comprehensive core curriculum is complemented by an abundance of fun activities, snack breaks, and recesses. The fun activities include the following:
Chocolate Competition: an activity in which campers compete for chocolate by setting up the board as quickly as possible against an opponent!
Magical Interlude: an activity in which campers practice their magic trick at home and show their group members on the following day. My personal magic trick, a favorite of many youngsters, is called, “I can make one of your arms shorter than the other.” It’s the real deal!
Puzzle Solving Competition: an activity in which campers compete against each other to solve as many chess tactics as they can in an allotted time.
Kriegspiel: a TEAM chess game, officiated by the instructor, in which the opponents’ pieces are invisible until they are captured. It slightly resembles the game battleship.
Bughouse: a TEAM-of-two chess game involving two chess boards. If you capture an enemy piece, then that captured piece is given to your partner to use on his own chessboard!
Blitz Tournament: a fast paced chess tournament in which each player only has 5 minutes on his or her clock. This is only available to the Rooks’ and Kings’ group.
For the morning-only campers, chess camp will conclude at 11:45am on Friday with a brief “morning awards ceremony” in which campers will receive their certificates of completion and earned awards. After lunch, the Boulder County Chess School will host the celebrated “simultaneous exhibition” in which all campers will play against Colorado’s newest Chessmaster—Joshua Romero—at the same time! For the full-day campers, chess camp will conclude at 3:40pm with an official awards ceremony to recognize the hard work of the teachers, campers, and parents who made our camp possible!
I'm happy to answer any questions you have. You can reach me by phone at 720 999 0494 or email at Joshua.Romero@Colorado.edu
See you at camp!