Summer chess camps provide air-conditioned learning
July and August are prime summer camp months, and the game of chess lends itself perfectly to summer fun for kids of all ages. In fact, there are a number of organizations, schools and private companies that run chess camps including the Chess Club in the Central West End.
Why suffer three-digit temperatures when you can study and play chess in a cool, air-conditioned oasis?
This year the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is holding four chess camps, two of which are being held in St. Louis this week. The U.S. Chess School is hosting a special invitational camp for several of the country's top junior players, and I am also teaching an open camp for students of all skill levels. We currently have more than 24 kids enrolled for this week’s camp with plenty more signed on for next week, which is scheduled to run July 30 through Aug. 3.
Each day at camp we play chess, analyze games and learn about interesting new ideas including tactics, opening play and endgame play. Summer chess camps offer a great opportunity for kids to make friends, get better at chess and improve their critical thinking skills. Chess is the perfect summer learning tool because kids can keep their minds sharp while playing a game and having fun.
My son, Spencer, works for an organization called USA Chess, which runs chess camps all across the country throughout the summer. In addition to teaching a camp in St. Louis, Spencer got the opportunity to teach students in Oklahoma City; Alexandria, Va.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Fresno, Calif. Getting paid to teach chess and travel around the country just can’t be beat.
When I was a kid, chess camp was my favorite activity in the summer. I even got the opportunity to participate in a special camp at Michigan State University when I was 12, which was an experience I will never forget.
I always encourage my students to attend summer camps, and many who take private lessons have attended chess camps all around the country. These camps not only offer the opportunity for marked chess improvement, but traveling to camps in different states allows students to make friends with and meet fellow chess players from all over the country.
For more information about the Chess Club’s summer camp, please visit www.saintlouischessclub.org/
Ben Finegold is the GM in residence at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.