School Programs


 Denver Chess School Classes

Todd teaches personally in a number of schools in mainly the Denver Tech Center area of the city. If you do not have a good chess program at your school, contact Todd at 303-770-6696 to check for his  availability or a good referral of a strong chess player who can also teach well and is good with kids. Todd teaches all the programs and personally and does not hire weak chess players or people who know very little about the game to work for him – you get the very best. There are only a handful of chess masters in the nation with more teaching experience as Todd has has taught over 10, 000 chess classes and his students love and relate to the chess stories and analogies he uses.

 

Todd has trained and helped out many people in the Denver area and across the country who are new to chess to run successful chess programs at their schools. Give a call if you wish to have some assistance in running a successful chess program.

For chess curriculums for teaching school classes, go to www.ChessDetective.education

Denver and Colorado Chess Teacher referrals:

Contact Todd for a recommendation of a good chess teacher anywhere in Colorado.

Todd is a nationally recognized by the other top master-level chess teachers in the country as a leader in the fields of chess instruction, education, and journalism. He has over twenty-five years of full-time teaching experience in the classroom, camps, private and group chess lessons, and training other people how to effectively teach the game and is by far the most experienced chess master teaching in the Rocky Mountain region of the country.

2007 Nuggets

Todd grew up in Denver and knows most of the Denver chess players and Colorado chess players who give lessons. There are quality chess instructors in metro Denver and Colorado that he can refer you to for lessons in your area.

Keep in mind that a competent chess teacher with a good reputation will not have to travel very far from home or to a new city in search of new students; his plate will be overflowing where he lives. Any chess teacher who looks for students outside his hometown or moves around the country should raise a red flag that something isn’t right. History has shown that these individuals usually run low-quality programs and need to have a constant influx of new students to survive.

There a variety of people willing to give chess lessons across the country (and some know very little about the game! – see below).

For Tips on what to look for in a chess coach and characteristics of good chess teachers, click here.

Click here for an article on how a student will normally progress up the rating scale and what realistic expectations should be expected.

 

When it comes to teaching children, first and foremost you should look for an instructor who is a good role model for your child. This day and age, it is prudent to screen and do a background check on anyone who is working with children (ALWAYS do background checks on any and all prospective chess teachers who are working for an organization from out of state prior to attending their event).

Once again, ask for referrals and check out the reputation of the prospective instructor because adult chess players, as a subculture of society, can be quite a bit stranger than the average person you meet in the general public.

BEWARE OF “CHESS TEACHERS” or “CHESS COMPANIES” FROM OUT OF THE REGION OR OUT OF STATE (or ones that move from out of state and establish residency in Colorado):

Unfortunately there are schools in the Denver Front Range area that don’t check out prospective chess teachers and have allowed people to teach chess to their students who are from out of state or moved here from out of state and do not have any appreciable chess skills. The “chess teacher” was hired off an advertisement on the internet and knows little, if anything, about the game. These people doing the hiring keep themselves and the kids they instruct hidden from the real chess community so they are not exposed. Unfortunately, it takes a while before the schools finally kick them out and many parents pay and lose lots of money, unaware that their kids are not learning good chess habits.  Please read below to see how these people operate and what to look for to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. You sure wouldn’t pay money for your child to learn, say Spanish, from someone who only knew maybe how to count to ten!

 

It is a shame to have to bring this up, but as many of you know, the Colorado Front Range region of the state in the last several years has been plagued by a number of unscrupulous individuals and organizations that have committed various immoral and criminal acts (with prosecutions) passing though the area from other states looking to make a quick buck here by teaching and/or organizing chess activities. The quality of the chess teaching from such entities has also been really, really poor.

Their hope and expectation is that parents won’t check into their background or their chess credentials (teaching resume and rating or lack of rating!) and that their scheme will fly under the radar, away from the established part of the chess community (where it would be quickly exposed).

Aside from the risk of potential criminal activity, individuals and organizations that pop-up from time to time from out of state and attempt to teach chess in Colorado tend to run extremely low-quality programs for several reasons:

1) The individual running the organization usually has limited chess teaching experience him/herself  and often has no tournament experience himself or even a USCF rating! ; and

2) The individual (who himself is usually a very weak chess player) attempts to hire anyone he can find willing to teach a chess class (or classes) for him where he makes a large percentage of the tuition. People willing to work for such an arrangement usually have even less chess teaching experience or no experience at all (of course, when hired, these recruited teachers are promised quality training – but from who?!).

While this business model usually doesn’t last long, unfortunately it really damages the reputation of the chess community as a whole. The chess community is relatively small and word gets around quickly when incompetency appears. Parents DO figure out the teacher doesn’t know the game (and often the classroom is often out of control – keeping the kids focused is a teaching skill that is easier said than done and an important skill set for any teacher).

The problem for those running this type of business model is that it is nearly impossible to find a quality chess teacher foolish enough to go in for this type of arrangement since a decent chess player already has the chess instructional skills and experience to teach on their own and have no reason to pay someone else or ride under their banner.

The goal of the person trying to hold chess events and hire other instructors to work for them is nothing more than an attempt to get rich quick by making overrides on another’s time. After developing a poor reputation in one city, they usually move on to the next one. Being able to teach chess a technical subject well requires more than just teaching a few classes here and there…it is a skill that is developed over time. It is important to remember that quality chess teachers don’t work for other people – they work for themselves! Check out these companies (and the particular “chess teacher” very carefully so you don’t end up paying for a high-priced babysitter to watch your kids play chess!

If the school doesn’t check out the prospective chess teacher, the parents end up paying a higher price for far less quality then they would by hiring someone who is established locally with more teaching experience and historically with a much better program and reputation. There is a network of Colorado-based instructors who have a proven track record of running solid programs. As with most things, it is better to go for quality, not quantity – you will be happy you hired a chess teacher who is confident enough in his/her own teaching skills that they work for themselves and not others.

Never pay money to anyone who doesn’t have a United States Chess Federation (USCF) Rating rating (or a low USCF rating) for chess lessons of any kind (private lessons, classes, camps). To check out the chess strength (or rating) of a prospective teacher, go to the USCF website and look up the player’s rating at this link.

If the person’s name doesn’t appear in this database, he doesn’t have rated chess tournament experience. Go ahead and hire him as a babysitter – if his background check is acceptable to you – but don’t kid yourself into thinking he knows anything about the game. If you need help checking someone out, give me a call and I’m happy to assist you. If a “chess teacher” shows up at your child’s school and you can’t find his name in this database, notify your Principal who would certainly want to be aware that someone is charging money to the parents of their students to teach something they aren’t at all qualified to do. No Principal wants bad programs at their school as that would reflect back on them. (Don’t you think your school Principal would want to know if, say, a Spanish teacher only knew how to count to ten and the days of the week in Spanish?)

Chess Teachers (or “Chess Companies”) who don’t volunteer or hide their individual and teacher’s names, do it for a very specific reason – they don’t want anyone to look them up and expose their lack of skill level and qualifications – chess ability is a measurable skill – look up the name in the USCF database. Before paying anyone to teach you or your kids chess, look up their rating to see if they even know how to play! Always check out the teacher’s resume (if he doesn’t have one, run!!). Chess is a complex game – there are many wrong ways to teach it and, unfortunately, there are people will prey off you, if you don’t check them out first .

Teaching chess effectively and correctly so that the student doesn’t develop bad habits is a very important skill. Children who take lessons or classes from non-rated or low-rated chess teachers are usually far worse off than those who are starting from scratch because the bad habits they are taught are hard to change. I have taught many elementary school children over the years who are better chess players than these supposed hired “chess teachers”.

The bottom line is it is impossible to teach something you don’t know and chess knowledge is measurable and easy to check out. In the course of the class or when the students are playing against each other, they will ask questions. A weak chess teacher will answer most of these incorrectly and not be able to quickly and accurately recreate specific chess positions when disputes occur between the students when they are playing – hopefully you won’t actually be paying for this bad chess advice!

If you need help checking someone out, give me a call – I’m happy to assist you.

Todd has referred hundreds of students over the years to other quality chess instructors with good teaching skills living in Colorado who are in it for the long haul and teach good local chess programs. Should you have a question pertaining to a particular program in the state, give Todd a call at 303-770-6696. He will be happy to discuss your options.

Colorado and Denver area chess instructors for years have acted respectfully toward each other by not soliciting each other’s students. Most coaches are of good moral character and don’t try to acquire students of others for themselves should the opportunity arise – unfortunately for everyone involved, exceptions to this rule do occasionally pop up once and a while.