Q300 Chess – BIG Update. Hold on to your hats…

Dear Q300 Family,

After 2 years of start-up success, the Q300 Chess Team has really come into its own. We are coming off an amazing run, and enter the summer and 2019-20 with a real plan for the future. This post has been a long time coming, for numerous reasons –

— We (Q300 Chess Team parents) have published news bits and tournament updates over the course of the last 2 years, but never really gave you the big picture.
— The summer is coming up, which is usually a dead period for chess. But we have plans to address that.
— We’ve launched our online community, which is accessible by all students, siblings, and parents at no cost.
— We want everyone who likes chess to join us – the Chess Team is inclusive at its core.

This year, the kids have taken a huge step forward. They are starting to get recognized in the NY chess community, and are having more fun than ever! Even though our program is only 2 years old, the results are top-notch:

— Multiple individual first place finishes in NYC tournaments throughout the year
— Top-2 team and multiple top-5 individual+team and finishes at the Girls State Scholastic in April
— Top-5 individual and team trophies at the State Scholastic in March
— Top 20 finishes at Nationals for multiple kids, both this and last year

There are numerous reasons for the breakthrough success:

— The NYChessKids in-school and after-school programs has created a sort of “chess language” among the kids. Having a language of their own does wonders for their self-confidence, and gives them freedom of expression. And naturally enables them to become better players!
— Over time, kids have become comfortable around one another. They now really support and pick others up when they are down (for example, after a tournament loss). The concept of “team” is very real here.
— Q300 “home” tournaments, which happen 3-4 times a year, have fostered a sense of community among parents and kids. It is a stress-free space where they can kick back and compete in a tournament while feeling completely at home.
— There is a really vibrant parent community behind all this. We communicate seamlessly and have a lot of fun behind the scenes. All the things we do to support the kids is a product of love.
— There is very strong coaching support from NYChessKids, which is not limited to after-school and in-school. The coaches come to tournaments with us (most recently Saudin came to Nationals!), help us arrange team rooms, and navigate the event logistics. During the tournaments, they review the games, encourage the kids, and work to keep the kids endurance up. As far as teachers/coaches go, it is hard to find someone more dedicated and loyal than Saudin Robovic, owner of NYCK. He is also driving many of the new, inclusive initiatives (described below).

As a public school, we work hard to develop and foster talent within our kids. This model is something we are really proud of, and we want to continue.

So, here is what’s in store:

— We are planning to finish the year with one last tournament as a team – Sunday June 2 at NEST+m. If you would like to join, please message me.
— There are 4 Q300 home tournaments planned for 2019-20: October 20, November 17, February 9, and May 3. Mark your calendars, or subscribe to the one above.
— Building on last year’s success, we plan to return in even greater numbers to both the NY State Scholastic (Saratoga) and Nationals (Nashville) next year. You may have seen photos from our Nashville trip – it was spectacular! We are exploring ways to lower the cost barriers involved in these kinds of trips – if you have any suggestions, please let us know.
— The Lower School (grades K-4) after-school program is going from 2 to 3 days next year (Mon/Tue/Wed). The program consists of a chess session and other optional activities such as arts, yoga, math, coding, critical thinking, debate, and robotics to supplement. Details and sign-up available here (look for “Q300 Elementary School”).
— The Upper School (grades 5-8) afterschool program is going to have 2 days next year (Tue, Wed). Tuesday is a chess-only day, and Wednesday is combined with debate, robotics, math and art. Details and sign-up available here (look for “Q300 Middle School”).
— Going forward, we now have a Q300 Chess Calendar! It will including home, online events, Nationals, as well as NYC tournaments hosted by other schools, which we plan to attend. Browser/google version: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed…. To embed using iCal format, use https://calendar.google.com/…/59md1gu501v1…/public/basic.ics.

And the really big news – the chess team has officially gone ONLINE. We are using LiChess.org, which is a 100% free online chess club, for many activities:

— Kids can play one another (and others). LiChess usually has around 35,000 players logged on – it is one of the most popular online clubs.
— A lot of our kids already play there. They usually log on in the evening and play each other, each other’s siblings, even parents… it’s a lot of fun.
— We have a “team page” on LiChess, which you can join and see who else is there / add them as friends. More than likely, someone from your kid’s class is already there.
— LiChess offers many free training features: puzzles, reviewing your games for mistakes, tutorials, a collection of video lessons, playing vs. computer, etc.
— There is a mobile app available with most of the functionality intact. There is also a mobile browser version with 100% of the functionality.
— There is a “kid mode” available which disables all communications
— All of the above is described in a LiChess virtual guide we put together

The online chess club itself is just one part of the equation. Saudin of NYChessKids has leveraged LiChess to offer some amazing (and 100% free) opportunities:

— Simultaneous exhibition with Saudin is coming up tomorrow (Saturday May 25) at 4pm. All the kids get to play their own games vs. Saudin (who is an international master) at once! Look for “Online Practice Game with Saudin” on https://www.nychesskids.com/play-chess. You can watch the simul, too.
— A series of tournaments for our community. The first one will take place on Sunday June 23 at 6pm (it will last about an hour). It is open to all our kids, their parents, and grandparents. Look for “Online Tournament” on https://www.nychesskids.com/play-chess.
— International match vs. Philippines! The kids are going to have a unique opportunity to play a friendly match with kids in another country. It is scheduled to take place on July 27 at 7am (early for us, late in the evening for them). Look for “International Chess Match” on https://www.nychesskids.com/play-chess.
— You will often see NYChessKids coaches (or myself) online. They are open to playing training games with the kids, and sometimes even conduct 1-on-1 training sessions.
— (NEAR FUTURE) A series of online team lessons, including some from Grandmasters!
— (NEAR FUTURE) We are working on video lessons (with ability to view both live and historically), they will become available later over the summer

Look, I know – this is a lot to digest. The big takeaway is – the entire situation around the chess team has really matured. There is a sizable community involved, and there are many free opportunities for your kids here (and maybe even for yourself!). I have been around chess communities for most of my life, and they tend to be the most kind, giving types of people – the ones you want to be around.

To join us, follow this link. If you have any questions – feel free to reach out to us anytime (use the form at the bottom).

Go Q300!!!