All posts by Coach Steve

Chess Plus Engineering Summer Camp – Amazing Day One

Simply Amazing!

Our first day of Chess Plus Engineering was Amazing.  Getting to know all the Scholars is a treat!  The kids learned so much and already started building new friendships.


Our Morning Session was great with kid learning and playing chess. We started with evaluations (the scholars played the coaches) and then we taught simple game opening principles.


Our Afternoon session was packed with lots of fun.  The campers will be broken up into groups of 3 to 4 and had a blast with robotic creations, mechanical contraptions, circuit building, electronics, legos and much more.

We have 2 more week long sessions in June! Very limited space left
June 17th is Chess Plus Wicked Fun
June 24th is Chess Plus Active Party


I look forward to the rest of this Amazing week.


Coach Steve

Chess Jokes for Kids

This collection of chess jokes for kids, parents, teachers, and chess players is great any time of day or knight!

You’ll find jokes about kings, queens, castles, bishops, knights and pawns.

These jokes about chess are great for everyone, including those with just a basic understanding of the game. Plus they’re clean chess jokes that are safe for all ages.

Treat your aspiring chess masters to some funny chess jokes before you sit down for a game.

Chess Jokes for Kids

Q: What did the chess player say to the waitress?
A: Check, please.

Q: What did the judge do to the guilty chess player?
A: He threw the rook at him.

Q: Why was the chess piece so lonely?
A: It was an isolated pawn. (Isolated pawns do not have a pawn of the same color next to them)

Q: Why do chess pieces look so uninterested?
A: They’re part of a bored game.

A dog was playing chess with a man in the park. As the dog put the man’s king into checkmate, an onlooker said how amazing the dog was. “He’s not that amazing,” said the man. “I’m ahead four games to one!”

Q: How did the chess player make money during the match?
A: From a Discovered Check he found on the board.

Q: Why did the chess player bring a baseball bat to his game.
A: Just in case he needed a Squeeze play.

Q: Why did it take so long for the chess master to finish his dinner?
A: The table had a checkered tablecloth and it took forever to pass him the salt shaker.

Q: What looks like half a pawn?
A: The other half?

Q: Where did the chess player sleep?
A: In a KING size bed.

Q: Why did the board game fall off the breakfast bar?
A: Counter-attack

Q: Why couldn’t the chess player move his rook?
A: He couldn’t get over the moat.

Q. Which chess piece is the most powerful?
A. The Knight, It goes over the top.

Q: How did the king lose his home?
A: One of the horses took his castle.

Q: Why wouldn’t the cowboy play chess?
A: He was afraid he might lose his horse.

Q: Why did the chess player bring pencils and a sketch pad to the game?
A: In case there was a draw.

Q: Why did the chess master marry a Slovakian woman?
A: He wanted a Czechmate.

Q: How was winning the chess game so HARD?
A: It was a STALE-mate.

Q: Why did the lights go out during the chess tournament?
A: Too many Pawn Storms (A situation arising from opposite-side castling).

Q: What the most costly move in chess?
A: The Check.

Q: What’s the easiest way to move your castle?
A: Re-moat control.

Q: How did Darth Vader keep track of his chess game?
A: Using For-SYTH notation (it’s a method for recording positions)

Q: Where can you learn how to play chess?
A: Knight school.

Q: Which knight always gave up at chess?
A: Sir Render.

Q: What happened to the pawn after he beat the castle?
A: He got promoted.

Q: Why shouldn’t you use old bread as a chess piece?
A: Because it would be a stale mate.

Q: Where do the most powerful chess players live?
A: Queens (it’s in NY).

Q: What did the woman call her husband when they played chess together?
A: Her check mate.

Q: Why did the boy put his knight on top of the rook?
A: He was playing fort-knight.

Q: How didn’t the chess master near the buffet?
A: He was known for over-using his Royal Fork (knight simultaneously attacks the opponent’s king, queen and rook).

Q: When do chess players wear armor?
A: When they play knight games.

Q: Where does a chess player trade his pieces?
A: At a pawn shop.

Q: What do you give crazy chess playing as a snack?
A: Chessnuts.

Q: Why is it so easy to learn how to move chess pieces?
A: It’s all right there in black and white.

Q: Why didn’t the chess player offer a draw?
A: Because he wasn’t a good artist.

Q: What did the Australian chess player say to the waiter?
A: Check, mate!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Bishop who?
Bishop who just put you in check!

Q: Why did the chess player offer to draw?
A: Because he was a good artist.

Q: Why did the hockey player go to the chess tournament?
A: So he could check someone.

Q: Why did the chess master go to jail?
A: Too many bad checks.

Q: What type of board game do football players play?
A: Blitz Chess

Q: Why was the chess piece in so much trouble?
A: It was a Bad Bishop (a Bad Bishop is when it is blocked long-term by pawns)

Q: Why was the chess board so wet?
A: The queen has reigned for years.

Q: Why did the chess game seem so familiar?
A: It was a match.

Q: Why did the chess piece keep bumping into the queen?
A: It was a Backward Pawn.

Q: Why did the senior citizens have to dance half way through their match?
A: Because of the Fifty-move rule

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Queen who?
Queen your room. It’s a mess!

Q: Why did the pirates raid the tournament?
A: The were looking for a treasure chess.

Crazy Story… The Chess Prodigy Who Renounced Chess

In recent years, chess has become a pretty high-stakes game, politically, ideologically, and monetarily. However, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, the first unofficial world champion would be appalled by the giant prizes dangled in front of modern competitors. Paul Morphy (pictured left) abhorred the taint of professionalism, once writing to a rival, “Permit me to repeat that I am not a professional player; that I never wished to make any skill I possess the means of pecuniary advancement, and that my earnest wish is never to play for any sake but honor.”

However, Morphy’s superhuman powers on the chessboard astounded his contemporaries. Born in New Orleans in 1837, Paul was a child prodigy who was beating his father and uncle by age 10. He’d never consulted a chess book, yet he was handling the pieces with an intuitively precise grasp of strategy and tactics. At age 13, he shocked the chess world by defeating the Hungarian master Johann Lowenthal (pictured right). It then became Morphy’s great ambition to defeat the best masters in the US and Europe.

After earning his law degree in 1857, Morphy set out on his insane quest. Howard Staunton, Britain’s star player, avoided him and was accused of cowardice. In Paris, Morphy played eight opponents simultaneously, neither eating nor drinking for 10 hours until all succumbed to his brilliance. Oh, and did we mention that he was blindfolded? (The moves were called out so he could visualize them.)

But in his tours of European chess circles, the idealistic Morphy was disgusted at how the game was being made into a business. While Morphy loved chess itself, he was repelled by this practice. He was further alienated from the game when he saw how it took him away from more important things, particularly his law career. However, people were more interested in Morphy the chess player than Morphy the lawyer, and his practiced folded after a few months. Adding insult to injury, a girl he was courting rejected the idea of marrying a “mere chess player.”

Frustrated, Morphy simply gave up on the game. He was reluctant to even play privately, and he never again dazzled the world with his power. Many tried to cajole him out of his aversion to the game. Once, a financially desperate Morphy approached an old friend to borrow $200. The friend said he would make it $250 if Morphy played a game with him. Grudgingly, Morphy agreed, but he showed his distaste by deliberately losing. Afterward, he left without bothering to collect his money.

On another occasion, Morphy was informed that the self-proclaimed world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, was in New Orleans and wanted to see him. Morphy reluctantly agreed to a meeting on the condition that chess must not even be alluded to. After an embarrassing 10 minutes with nothing to discuss, Morphy and Steinitz parted ways.

Do not fear.. there is much more to discuss and do at Chess Plus Summer Camp afternoon session than chess related activities!

In his later life, Morphy began showing signs of insanity. He suspected his brother-in-law of trying to poison him and refused to eat unless the food was prepared by his mother or sister. Morphy believed barbers were planning to slit his throat. He haunted Canal Street in New Orleans, muttering and smiling to himself, all while swinging his cane at anyone who approached him. He also stalked attractive women around town for hours.

Morphy’s relatives tried to commit him to an asylum, but he defended his sanity with clever expositions on his civil liberties, thus convincing officials to let him go. Sadly, Paul Morphy, the “Pride and Sorrow of Chess,” died in his home on July 10, 1884.

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Will we find a chess prodigy that embraces their gift at Chess Plus Summer Camp?

The Weirdest Chess World Championship

Chess is above all a mind game, and players sometimes go to ridiculous lengths to psych out their opponents. But for sheer insanity, the World Championship showdown between Viktor Korchnoi (pictured left) and Anatoly Karpov (pictured right) takes the cake.

The two grand masters were intense rivals. Karpov was a member of the Communist Party and a model of the “Soviet New Man.” Like every chess player who brought honors to the Soviet state, Karpov was rewarded with a Mercedes, a chauffeur, a Moscow apartment, and a country dacha. Korchnoi, on the other hand, was a rebel who defected to the Netherlands in 1976 and constantly criticized the Soviet system. To the Soviets, the Jewish Korchnoi was a diseased and immoral character.

The 1972 title match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky proved that the Cold War could be fought as intensely on a chessboard as on an actual battlefield. In 1978, Fischer had forfeited his title, and the free world was now represented by Korchnoi. His showdown with Karpov, the ice-cold calculator from behind the Iron Curtain, took place in Baguio, Philippines.

For their first game, Korchnoi wore mirrored sunglasses to hide his eyes from Karpov’s stare, which had bothered him in a previous match. Karpov complained that the mirrors reflected the light into his eyes. Karpov also requested that Korchnoi’s chair be examined for “prohibited devices” (presumably the mind-zapping kind) and distracted his opponent by swiveling in his own chair during games.

Korchnoi’s camp then objected to the yogurt delivered to Karpov during games, suggesting that the color might be some sort of coded message. Perhaps a strawberry yogurt signified one move and raspberry another. Korchnoi was also bothered by a member of the Soviet entourage named Vladimir Zukhar, a parapsychologist who would sit in the front row and stare malevolently at him. Korchnoi suspected that Zukhar was hypnotizing him and interfering with his brain waves. Thanks to the “psychic,” Korchnoi was a nervous wreck by the seventh game.

Random Fact: At Chess Plus Summer Camp we teach the love of chess!

To counteract Zukhar, Korchnoi brought in Dada and Didi, two members of an Indian sect called Ananda Marga. Zukhar had the two mystics teach him yoga and transcendental meditation. It was now the Soviet delegation’s turn to be unsettled when Dada and Didi hovered around them during the games.

Revived, Korchnoi came back from being three games behind to leveling the score at five to five. Whoever won the next game would become the champion. There was an unsubstantiated claim that the KGB was ready to poison Korchnoi. If true, his life was probably spared when he lost the tiebreaker. After failing to beat Karpov in their grudge match, Korchnoi said he would bring along the CIA next time around. Moscow simply laughed him off.

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Most unique Summer Camp in Cincinnati

Crazy Stuff Chess Masters do to win!

Chess masters are known to employ strange methods to win their games. Ruy Lopez, the famous 16th-century Spanish priest and chess player, once advised, “Sit your opponent with the sun in his eyes.” Another player named Lucena once recommended, “Try to play after your opponent has eaten or drunk freely.”

In the 19th century, Harry Nelson Pillsbury attributed his clear thinking to puffing on a cigar during his games. On the other hand, Szymon Winawer said he deliberately smoked bad cigars so the odor would mess with his opponent’s concentration. And at the 1935 World Championship, the superstitious Alexander Alekhine would place his Siamese cat on the chessboard before a game as a good luck charm. Alekhine was also allegedly hoping for an allergic reaction from his opponent. When he was forbidden to play with the cat on his lap, Alekhine turned to wearing a sweater with a picture of his pet on it.

So we are left wondering what Rosendo Balinas was trying to pull off at the 1979 Lone Pine tournament. A Filipino grand master, Balinas was playing against Jeremy Silman. The game started off quietly enough, but 10 turns later, things got a little bit crazy. According to Silman’s eyewitness account:

At this point, Balinas placed a thermos filled with hot tea on the table. Then he put a big cup of honey next to it. I expected him to take a bit of honey and mix it in with the tea, but instead he shocked me! He took the tea, poured it into the honey (which turned into a thick goo), and then drank every bit of it. Appalled, I noticed that his eyes immediately glazed over as the sugar hit his brain. Then, smiling, he continued the game.

But the Filipino was in a stupor after that incomprehensible act of self-sabotage. He lasted only another 12 moves. Silman was so sorry for him that he took no pleasure in his easy win.

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