Ryan Phillips is the 2018 National Open U2100 winner. He has over twenty years chess tournament experience as well as over ten years chess teaching experience. Coach Ryan has taught at the New East West Academy for the past three years.
The New East West Academy Chess Class is a comprehensive program designed for players of all skill levels. We have a class for beginners, where we start with the basics: how to set up a chess board, how to move the pieces, and special moves such as castling and en passant. The kids will learn the three opening principles, develop your pieces, control the central squares and try to get your king safe via castling. We then progress to tactical motifs, such as pins, skewers, double attacks and forks. These patterns will be the foundation of their chess development, as these tactical ideas are important for players of all skill levels, including world champions!
The kids then progress to an intermediate class, where we spend additional time on the tactics mentioned above, as well as begin working on back rank checkmates, deflection ideas, remove the defender and interference. The class also further discusses the importance of following the opening principles by going over chess games from Grandmasters of the past. We have exercises where you have to guess the moves of one player to try and understand the logic of great chess players from the beginning of the game to the end. We also work on endgame ideas, such as the Lucena position, Philidor position and king and pawn endgames. Lastly, the students play games against each other to practice the concepts learned during class.
The chess classes are held exclusively online using a combination of Zoom and chess.com. The benefits of the online chess class are quite numerous. Since chess is a visual game, where the player who can remember the most patterns and strategies is likely to win, having an online analysis board is a tremendous advantage. The online chessboard allows myself as well as the students to highlight different squares, draw arrows and pull up chess puzzles at a rapid pace. Not only does the online class allow for the visual advantages, but we simply get through a lot more chess puzzles online than we would be able to in person. This ensures the most efficient use of class time possible.
The benefits of chess have been proven to be quite substantial. They teach individuals to think before they act, to focus on one task at a time and to formulate a long-term plan. Chess is a unique game due to the competitive nature of the game as well as being a game of complete information. That means that each player can see the same information, without any hidden elements. The difference between winning and losing is based solely on the decisions you make during the game. While chess is a competitive endeavor, it is also a great way to make friends and form bonds. I have met many great people through the game of chess, and the kids in class are forming bonds as well. They have a unique way of bonding in our chess club, Chess Paradise, where the kids will simply say, “hi,” to each other and share other pleasantries around the new year and other holidays. It is an incredibly fun environment to learn chess.
I hope that we will have new kids try out the chess class and learn the game of kings. What I am probably most proud of in addition to the kids’ chess improvement is how long they have enrolled in the classes. We have had numerous students that have remained in the chess classes for over a year, and I have seen tremendous improvement in their play. We have a free weekly tournament every other Saturday at 11:30 am for participants in the chess class, and the students who have attended the classes for approximately a year outperform most other players. This shows that for players who enroll in the classes and enjoy playing chess, they can improve quite a bit in a relatively short period of time.
If you are looking for an instructive chess class, where your child will be encouraged to reach their potential while having fun, I hope you will consider the chess class. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I am excited to start the journey towards chess mastery!