Dr Alexey Root

MonRoi

On Thursday, May 29th, I was one of the parent chaperones on a sixth grade field trip to a local park. I brought along two chess sets and boards, and set them up on a picnic table. The table was one of many in the pavilion, which had a roof for shade and a view of the playground. Except for lunch, when I packed up the chess equipment to make room for pizza, the chess games were in use the entire time (10:30-2:15).

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My rabbit Abba keeps me company while I write this blog, articles, and books (Children and Chess, and Science, Math, Checkmate). He was adopted from a shelter, and is litter-box trained. See the House Rabbit Society Web site for how to keep a rabbit as an indoor pet. In this photo, Abba poses next to a MonRoi flyer. I usually do not write poetry, but will share my poem about Abba.

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Before I recommend Grandmaster Yury Shulman's book, I congratulate him on his 2008 U.S. Chess Championship. I met Yury when he was a student at The University of Texas at Dallas. He was the chess team captain: intelligent, well-spoken, and interested in helping others.

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Dana Mackenzie asked, after holding a non-rated tournament, “Should I be happy with running the one tournament a year and seeing the kids have a good time? Should I aim higher? Should I steer them into rated tournament chess, and if so, how?” I run one non-rated tournament a year too, the Denton ISD (Independent School District) Middle School Tournament.

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Taking problems from Bruce Pandolfini, Chessercizes, 1991, New York: Fireside and Bruce Pandolfini, Beginning Chess, 1993, New York: Fireside, I developed tactics worksheets for small groups (2-4 students) in my Strickland Middle School classes and my summer chess camps. I group problems by type of tactic. For example, one page of 10 problems might be all forks.

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Today I met with Dr. Tim Redman at the Jupiter House, a coffee shop in Denton, Texas. Although we both work for The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), we live about four miles from each other in Denton. Tim had just finished his report, for the July issue of Chess Life, on the Chess Collectors International convention.

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I teach online courses for The University of Texas at Dallas, via the UT TeleCampus. In spring of 2008, my 38 students ranged from beginners up through Grandmaster. As discussed in my article for the Dallas Morning News, my students learned to combine chess with educational goals. Now competing in China are my former students GM Alejandro Ramirez, IM Marko Zivanic, and FM Igor Shneider. As reported in the UTD CHESS blog, also playing against Nankai University are UTD's IM Davorin Kuljasevic and IM Jacek Stopa.

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Although I have written two books: Children and Chess (A Guide for Educators) and Science, Math, Checkmate , I have never had a blog before. I am excited about the prospect of quick feedback from MonRoi Web site visitors. I look forward to providing fun and helpful chess information to you. As you can tell from my book titles, I am primarily interested in how chess might be used as an educational tool.

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