|Posted: 3/29/2013 | Updated: 5/4/2013|
The International Chess Academy’s Grandmaster Camp has a tradition of success. Every year, the camp features a staff of world-renowned Grandmaster coaches and attracts high-level students from across the country and around the world. A camp day is a full day of activities: chess lessons, lunch, tennis, blitz games, more chess lessons, soccer, and a full group dinner. Students have the opportunity not only to study with experienced Grandmasters, but also to be surrounded by other students who are just as passionate about chess. This camaraderie significantly contributes to the learning experience, and carries through dinner, when students can still be heard discussing and analyzing positions they had seen earlier in the day.
A recent example of the effectiveness of the camp was witnessed at a tournament earlier this year. Andy Chen, who has attended the Grandmaster Camp for the past few years, played at the US Amateur Team East on a team with other ICA students. In one of the later rounds, his teammates’ results had put him in a must-win situation in his game. In an advantageous position, Andy traded pieces in order to enter a bishops-of-opposite-color endgame. His teammates, who all knew that such endgames offer very high drawing chances, were horrified, thinking he had ruined his win. But in reality, they had nothing to worry about. Andy continued to outplay his opponent and won the game. Afterward, he explained that he felt completely comfortable and confident in bishops-of-opposite-color endgames due to this topic having been heavily featured at the Grandmaster Camp!
This reminded many of ICA’s teachers and older students of a similar story from almost 10 years earlier. Danny Rade, a long-time ICA student, was playing in the 2004 US Open. In round 2, he was paired against International Master Dean Ippolito, who was rated almost 500 points higher than Danny. At one point during the game, Ippolito offered Danny a queen trade. Many players like to try to simplify the game against stronger players and would have immediately traded queens. Danny, however, had just come from a week at the Grandmaster Camp, where there had been a special focus on the proper moment to trade queens. Danny declined the trade and proceeded to outplay the International Master. At one point, Ippolito was so worried about his position that he even offered his much lower-rated opponent a draw! Danny made a brave decision and declined the draw. Unfortunately, later in the game he made some mistakes and lost. But if you have an International Master worried, you know you’re doing something right!
While both of those examples featured specific types of positions, even more important was the confidence the players displayed. At the end of each camp week, attendees often state that they can feel themselves getting better at chess. They enter their next tournament with new levels of confidence and skill.
This year’s camp—with many returning students and a great selection of Grandmaster Coaches—is already shaping up to be another success. Don’t miss out!
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