Studygascar offers chess programs for beginner, lower intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced chess players.
Studygascar takes a mastery approach to teaching beginner and intermediate chess. The beginner and intermediate chess programs are highly structured and arranged in a linear logical order, with each consecutive chess level building on the previous one.
Studygascar instructors administer chess assessment tests for each student to determine his or her level of chess knowledge. If a student falls into the beginner or intermediate chess category, the student is placed in the appropriate chess program level and starts progress from an individualized confidence starting point. Each beginner or intermediate chess student progresses at his or her individualized pace through the levels of the structured chess program. The students are required to fully master each beginner and intermediate chess level before moving to the next level.
The goal of such structured approach is to build solid chess foundation by developing first sound tactical and then strategic chess skills.
In contrast, Studygascar advanced chess program, which is geared towards competitive tournament chess players who already mastered the basics of chess tactics and strategy, is highly individualized. Advanced students spend a lot of time working on chess openings and sophisticated strategy topics. Each advanced chess student has a unique progress plan and works at his or her own pace.
Here is a short summary of the chess topics covered in beginner, intermediate, and advanced chess program.
Beginner chess level starts with the chess board, chess pieces, and chess notation. The material progresses to movements and properties of chess pieces, material values, and special rules of chess. Once students are familiar with the board, piece movements, and rules of chess, we introduce simple checkmates and basics of chess tactics. We also introduce basic opening principles. At the end of the beginner level, we cover basic coordination of chess pieces.
Three intermediate chess levels help students master tactical skills, as well as strategy, opening, and endgame skills. We go to a great length to develop sound tactical skills, first exploring all known tactical patterns in a simple form, and then moving to more complex tactics. The main word that characterizes this buildup of tactical skills is practice, more practice, and even more practice. Once students mastered tactical skills, we progress to chess strategy. We cover generally-known strategic chess principles in a simple form and then advance to more sophisticated strategic patterns. In addition, we cover chess opening and chess endgame principles in a great detail.
Advanced chess program is highly individualized. We concentrate on building strong strategy and endgame skills, as well as on building sound opening repertoire. We also integrate student's understanding of chess strategy and endgames into their opening repertoire, making sure that students truly understand typical middlegames and endgames arising from their openings.
Studygascar chess program is led by International Master Mikhail Baturyn. Coach Mikhail has taught chess to children since 1991 through formal chess schools and private lessons. Coach Mikhail received specialized education as a chess coach from National Academy of Physical Education and Sports of Belarus.
In Belarus, Coach Mikhail was a personal coach of many strong chess players. His former students include:
In USA, Coach Mikhail has been continuing to teach chess to a lot of highly-successful Studygascar students through group chess classes, private lessons, and multiple chess camps. Many of his current and former chess students achieved USCF Top 100 ranking levels in their age groups.
See Coach Mikhail's FIDE profile here:
Coach Mikhail also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University, East Bay, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He specializes in accounting and holds a CPA license in California.
Chess is an excellent tool for development of a competent learner. A number of researchers noted extensive academic benefits of chess. For example, chess education is known to foster critical thinking, decision making, and strategic planning skills. Chess introduces scientific method, teaches how to analyze information, and helps to develop research skills. Chess improves memory, boosts numerical skills, and strengthens logical thinking. Systematic studies of chess improve academic performance and raise students’ math and science test scores.
Chess provides a positive learning environment organized around the game. Chess increases children’s interest in intellectual activities and provides a great alternative to video games and too much TV.
Chess is also an international sport. Millions of children around the world participate in chess competitions organized by the international chess federation, FIDE. In USA, there are also plenty of chess tournaments organized by the United States chess federation, USCF. Children who participate in chess tournaments develop self-confidence and positive self-esteem. They learn how to compete and how not to be afraid of a temporary failure. They also learn that one needs to practice hard to succeed.
Many academic researchers concluded that there is a strong connection between learning chess and improving in mathematics and science. The following summary of research demonstrating positive impact of chess studies on mathematical/scientific thinking is adopted from the works of Dr. Robert Ferguson.
In a 1973-74 study conducted by Dr. Albert Frank, employing 92 students, age 16-18, the chess-playing experimental group showed a significant advancement in spatial and numerical abilities, compared to the control group. The improvements held true regardless of the final chess skill level attained.
In a 1977-1979 study at the Chinese University in Hong Kong by Dr. Yee Wang Fung, chess players showed a 15% improvement in math and science test scores.
In a 1984-1985 study conducted in Kishinev under the supervision of N.F. Talisina, grade point averages for young students taking part in the regular chess lessons increased in all subjects. The biggest improvement came in mathematics.
During the 1987-88 study called “Development of Reasoning and Memory through Chess,” all students in a rural Pennsylvania sixth grade self-contained classroom were required to participate in chess lessons. None of the students had previously played chess. The students significantly improved in both memory and verbal reasoning. Statistically significant improvement was achieved in mathematics.
A 1989-92 New Brunswick, Canada study, using 437 fifth graders split into three groups, experimenting with the addition of chess to the math curriculum, found increased gains in math problem-solving and comprehension proportionate to the amount of chess in the curriculum.
In a 1994-97 Texas study, regular (non-honors) elementary students who participated in a school chess club showed twice the improvement of non-chess players in reading and mathematics between third and fifth grades on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills.