As part of a membership with us, students get access to broadcast lessons every weekday afternoon. Students can do as many or as few as they want, and they're a great way for excited students to do more. They're designed for students to come when it fits their schedule and interest level, and so it's okay to come every week, or only once in a while.
Broadcast lessons typically have 50-100 students and we have a different theme every afternoon. Even though they're called "broadcasts" and only the coach (usually!) is on video and audio, the lessons are highly participatory, and students answer questions through the chat. The coach gives feedback in real time. A student's questions and answers are only visible to the coach, so that each student can think independently, and come up with their own ideas.
The broadcasts also are meant to help build a sense of community for the students - many of them have some sort of call-in radio style component, where students send in their games, checkmates, or mistakes, and students get to learn from each other.
Mondays: Blunder Busters
A big mistake in a chess game is called a blunder. The goal of Blunder Busters with coach Luke is to help beginners see blunders and avoid them! Blunder Busters is a broadcast lesson for beginners who are comfortable with the rules, especially players at the Knights, Bishops, or Rooks level.
A tactic in chess is a short sequence of moves, usually with the idea of winning some of the other players pieces. The simplest and most common example is a fork (or double-attack) where with one move you attack two of the other player's pieces, and they can't save them both. Tactics like forks, pins and discoveries are fundamental building blocks and are crucial to being a strong chess player. Tactics Tuesday is a short broadcast lesson focused on different tactics. The lesson is 20-25 minutes, followed by a quick demonstration of how to join our 5:00PM tournament!
This broadcast is for all skill levels! The tactics will start easy every Tuesday and get harder, so that the last one each week will be a challenge for even our most advanced students.
Wednesdays: Why the Winners Won
During Why the Winners Won Coach Luke looks at actual games played by Silver Knights students in our online tournaments. The games are not perfectly played but they are often perfect learning opportunities. As the coach, Luke tries to collect examples illustrating how good tactics and technique were used to win games. Sometimes, we even find examples where the winner perhaps should not have won after all! Learning from your own games and the games of your peers is one of the very best ways to improve at chess! It's also a way to applaud students and to build a little community.
This broadcast is meant for students at the Rooks, Queens, or Kings level.
Bonus: Every week, the broadcast is followed by a mini-tournament where students learn and try out a new opening!
Thursdays: Checkmate Challenge
Checkmating is how you win games of chess! Improving at checkmating and recognizing the patterns is a big part of getting better. Every Thursday Coach Daniel teaches the Checkmate Challenge where students find 10-15 checkmates from our students' games. It's a great way to build skill and recognize students successes, whether a Knights student getting their first checkmate, or a Kings student finding a checkmate in 5. Checkmate in five means calculating (for the white player) white moves black moves white moves black moves white moves black moves white moves black moves white moves and... checkmate!
The rhythm of the class is that there's a position, students try to solve the checkmate, and then the player who played the game jumps on the broadcast to show everyone where they went.
Chess Champion of the Month
Every Friday we do a class where we learn from the games of a great chess player, followed by a tournament. This is a great way to learn chess, because it packages complicated ideas, simple ideas, and storytelling together. Learning a bishop trap is useful. Learning a bishop trap packaged with the story that end the first game of his world championship match Bobby Fischer fell into it, and was so distraught he covered his eyes and then peaked out through his fingers in horror?
Well that's probably going to be a little more memorable.
To date, we've looked at the games of Bobby Fischer (first/only American world champion), Judit Polgar (best female and best young player ever), Alexander Alekhine (former world champion), Sam Shankland (2018 US Champion), and Mikhail Tal (former world champion), and Stuart Rachels, winner of the greatest upset in US Championships history. We've even had some of the players we've followed (Judit and Sam) come at the end to teach a lesson of their own! Stuart is coming in April.
This is a broadcast is meant for students at the Rooks, Queens, and Kings level small group classes.