C&O Family Chess Center
Omar Pancoast, Director
Certified USCF Chess Coach
217 West Diamond Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-2106
at Lakeforest Mall, the Chess Center
Chess.com on the internet
Mattie Stepanek & Ben Miller in class, July 2003 C&O-FCC
New players are encouraged to use the free
"Learn To Play" link (at left) and print out the download "Chess Basics for New Players," as well as various
Players may enroll in the Saturday Morning Chess Club (SMCC, below)
when they know how all the pieces move. The
SMCC will take a new player with the basic moves into
beginning and intermediate strategy, and beyond.
For private 'new player' lessons see below.
FREE "Beginner" Link and Downloads:
GROUP SESSIONS TUITION AND FEES
(for membership information see "Membership" page)
New Player Evaluation & Introductory Lesson:
by appointment only (call
or Email to schedule:
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at Lakeforest Mall -
Free with Membership (non-members $20)
Saturday Morning Chess Club (SMCC)
9:00 - 10:45
a.m. at Lakeforest Mall
Drop-In: Members $15 Non-Members $20/evaluation & class session
10 Class Pass (no time limit): $100 Family: $170
15 Class Pass (no time limit): $140 Family: $230
20 Class Pass (no time limit): $180 Family: $290
The club will NOT meet on the following Saturdays:
5/27, 6/10, 9/2, 11/25, 12/23, 12/30
The Saturday Morning Chess Club (SMCC) is held at Lakeforest Mall (LFM), in Gaithersburg. SMCC is open to Center members, both children and adults (Membership Application). Due to popular request memberships are offered in 10-, 15-, and 20-session groups (registration form) with no time limit on attendance.
Students must supply their own equipment (club-standard sets,
boards and clocks are available for purchase from the center). Each
of these 'group
sessions' may include individual mentoring as well as the group practice
and review of internet games. This
depends on each student's practice record and the availability
of their recorded games from class or Chess.com. Individual
mentoring is tailored to each student's level of experience from beginners through experienced tournament players,
and may be provided by staff or student CITs.
An individual program includes everything from basic concepts and tactics through analysis, computer use, and tournament strategy.
The coach is often gone by 11:00 a.m.
students remain to play in the regular Lakeforest Mall club,
but our staff and mall employees are not respolsible for
students who remain after the SMCC is over.
The SMCC is not
intended to replace 'Private Lessons'. Check
with the coach to determine if additional 'private'
instruction would be beneficial for your student.
Regular 'outside practice' is expected two or three
times a week (more is even better) and so free registration at
Chess.com is included
for all C&O members.
There we maintain a 'club presence' for all C&O Family Chess Center programs, members,
and former members. Students are encouraged to create a "Chess Journal" (a loose-leaf binder
in which to keep printed lesson notes, game records and other instructional materials).
For maximum benefit, parents should plan for children to spend an hour, or more, on practice
two or three (or more) times each week in addition to the weekly
This may include practice with a computer program, with
siblings, friends, or parents, and should include
playing online at Chess.com, where our staff may monitor their games. Parental
encouragement and supervision in setting up a 'regular'
practice schedule is essential to initial student progress. Parents
should download, print, and share with students our 'New
Player Information' packet. Parents need not stay in the food court during the class but are welcome to do so. Parents are requested not to remain directly in the chess area during the class unless enrolled as a student or volunteering as a club aide under club guidelines,
and should return for students by 10:45 a.m.
Registration in SMCC includes at least ten classes. Longer registrations are available
with greater discounts. Students are also welcome to remain at
the mall after SMCC, for practice and play during the regular LFM chess club, if they wish.
The regular LFM club members meet even when there is no SMCC.
Unlimited free-play is available until the mall closes, seven-days-a-week.
We suggest you bring your own set and board. The mall
management has provided chess tables as of late 2013.
(By appointment only.)
Single students, children & adults:
Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
No-school and early-release days, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Evenings, 6:30/7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
60 min. session $40,
90 min. session $55,
2 hour session $65,
Call, or 'message' (on Chess.com),
three days, or more, in advance for best results.
with questions, or to schedule a lesson.
Private 'New-Player' Instruction:
Learning the basic rules and moves may be
done for 'free' on-line (on various websites) and from our C&O
'downloads. Parents who wish to teach very young children may
also use our 'free' resources. Therefore we don't usually
recommend private instruction for new beginners.
However, if you really want individual instruction for new
players, regular rates apply. New players under the age of six
'must' be acompanied by an adult (counts as two students) but
parents who wish to teach their own children may take an
individual lesson for themselves.
The Chess.com Website
(inter-active on-line lessons)
The C&O Family Chess Center currently has a number of
member and student groups available on
Chess.com at no extra charge if you are enrolled in one of our programs or are a Center member (Online-Membership Application). We receive no money from Chess.com, but it is very useful if students are taking lessons or classes with us. While it is not necessary to register through the center there are several benefits to doing so, especially if you are enrolled in one of our programs. Students
enrolled in our programs have access to a wide variety of lessons and other activities (which supplement our classroom materials and instruction) including unlimited play against
our other Chess.com members, computers (at different strengths), and our own coaches. Our coaches, in turn, will have access to your Chess.com games and ratings, and can direct you to specific exercises and areas of study if you ask.
Students are encouraged to practice three, or more, times a
week for an hour or more. Progress in Chess.com ratings will
eventually translate into rating points on your club and USCF rating.