Sunday, November 24, 2013


Thanks to all who came to USM for their great annual tournament.

Our K-12 team for Muskego MHS took 2nd place.  Evan Seghers (4), Jason Markowski (2.5), Reid Seghers (2.5), Sam Miller (2), Rachel Gomoll (2), Jacob Gomoll (2) and Jorin McGuire (1) rounded out this strong finish for our MHS team in a strong, crowded field, including a very tough University School team who took first. A close third place was New Berlin Eisenhower.
Hopefully next time we will have more full teams for our schools!  A team is formed when 4 players or more from the same school play in the same division.  The top four scores are added for the team score, but every win helps the team!
In chess, you either WIN or LEARN.  Our other team, K-12 for LDMS had a bit of a rough go of things this time around.  K-6 for Mill Valley, and K-12 for Lake Denoon are very tough because MN is a K-4 school so there are only 4th graders to draw from, and with LDMS there are only 7th and 8th graders to draw from- who are playing against high schoolers!  This is where we dig in, study, play hard and play SLOW. We build CHARACTER.  Things get easier in 5th/6th/11th/12th grade, when you're at the top ages for your division.

Special congratulations go to:
  • Evan Seghers for going 4-0 and winning the K-12 division (tied with two others with exactly the same tie-breakers).
  • Matthew Redlinger and Will Schantz for winning 4 out of their 5 games and taking the 7hh and 8th place trophies in K-6.
  • Charlie Luther for winning 3/5 and barely missing the RED division.  Alyssa Przedwiecki (RED since 2011) also had a nice 3/5 finish, including a win against a 717-rated player.
  • Sophomore Sam Miller for losing only one game and raising his rating about 200 points, earning a win against a stronger player, and draws against a 900+ and 1200+ players.
  • Tess Corners 2nd grader Nate May, for earning 2 wins in his first tournament!  Nate also earns his BLUE division wrist band.
  • Other first-timers Adam Putz and Jackson Mallon for playing in their first tournament and playing hard.  This was a great experience for them and is something to build on.  It took a lot of guts for Adam, Jackson and Nate to jump into their first tournament before they'd earned their BLUE division wrist band, and we hope they learned a great deal from their first tournament experience. 
  • Andrew Hirt, for jumping back into tournaments after some time off, and for showing strong character in a tough day for LDMS K-12.  Andrew has many good tournaments in the past, and he will again. Again, tough day for LDMS K-12, where our 7th and 8th graders were playing against high schoolers.
Overall, the MSCC was very well represented at the tournament, having 21 kids there from 5 schools.  Our focus now turns to the next tournament, December 14th, at Brookfield Academy!  Let's make sure we have several kids in the BLUE division and ready for tournaments by then.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Checkmate: King-Rook Vs. King

When you are up a Rook you should win.  Here's how to do it.  You'll need your King.

Checkmate: King and 2 Rooks vs. King

Every player needs to learn this one.  Very simple when you learn the trick of roping in the King and forcing them back- be careful and don't give away your rook to the King!

4-Move Checkmate (Scholar's Mate)

Beginning players need to learn this 4-move Checkmate- a common trap among beginners!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NO CLASS 11/27

There will be NO chess class on Nov 27th (the night before thanksgiving).
I am trying to arrange a special ONLINE event for the class- I will let you know about it, if we're able to get it going!
- Mark

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

BLACK Division - for our TOP players

The BLACK Division is for our TOP players (and our parent chess leaders).  These players are contenders for top spots in tournaments, and are some of the top players in the State.


·         Must attend MNSD
·         Must be well behaved and attentive in class
·         Red Division Player
·         Has achieved a USCF rating of 1300 or Higher
·         Must Demonstrate Knowledge of:
o   Advanced Tactics
o   K+2B vs K
o   Intermediate King and Pawn Endings
o   Exploiting a Large Material Advantage
o   Exploiting a Space Advantage
o   Basic Pawn Structure
o   One Classical game
o   Basic Minor Piece Endgames
 While a Black Division Player, a player should work on:
·         Openings
   Creating a Basic Opening Repertoire
·         Middlegame
   Pawn Structure
   Backward Pawn
   Isolated Queen Pawn
   Hanging Pawns
   Weak vs. Strong Pawns
   Stopping Enemy Counterplay
   Understanding where the Pieces belong
   Superier Minor Pieces
   Creation of Targets
   Bishop vs. Knight
   When the Bishop is stronger
   When the Knight is stronger
   How to fight Knights
   The Bishop Pair
   When and why to trade off
   When to exchange
   WHY exchange
   Exploiting Open files
   Open files and attacking the King
   Outpost on an Open File
   7th Rank
   Pawn Center
   Undermining the Pawn Center
   Closed vs. Open Center
   Wing Operations
   Sacrificial Attacks
   Sacrifice on f7 (Knight)
   Sacrifice on h7 (Bishop AKA Greek Gift)
   Sacrifice on g7 (Knight)
   Lasker's Combination
   Opposite Side Castling
·         Endgames
   K and two Doubled Pawns vs Lone King
   Rook-Pawn (Stalemating the Stronger Side)
   Importance of Outside Passed Pawns
   Minor Piece Endgames
   Bishops of Opposite Colors
   King+Knight vs. Rook-Pawn on the 6th or 7th
   Rook Endgames
   Lucena Position
   Philidor Position
   Trapping the Enemy King Away from the Action
   Queen vs. King and Pawn
   Rook and Two Connected Pawns vs Rook

RED Division - Strong Tournament Player

RED Division players are strong for their grade level.  Note that a Blue division player who is in 8th grade could be better than a Red division player in 2nd grade!  These levels are somewhat relative to a child's age.

·         Must attend MNSD
·         Must be well behaved
·         Blue Division Player
·         Must have won 4 games in a 6 game tournament, or 3.5 games in a 5 game tournament OR have "tested into" the RED Division as approved by Mr. Seghers. 

·         Must Demonstrate knowledge of:
o   Intermediate Tactics
o   King and Pawn Endgames
o   Concept of Planning
o   Who is the World Champion?
o   Who was the only American World Champion?
o   Who was the first World Champion?

While a Red Division player, a Student should learn:
·          Advanced Tactics
o   Clearance
o   Interference
o   Zugzwang
o   Desperado
o   Decoy
·         Overkill Checkmate        
o   K+2B vs K
·         Intermediate K+P Endgames
o   Fox in the Chicken Coup
o   Deep Freeze
·         Minor Piece Endgames
o   Minor Piece vs a Lone Pawn
·         Middlegame
o   Exploiting a large material advantage
o   Space Advantage
o   Basic Pawn Structure
§  Pawn Islands
§  Isolated Pawn
§  Doubled Pawn
o   Importance of the Center
o   Attacking the King
§  Open H File
§  Cracking open a Fianchetto
·         Memorize One Classical Game Unique to the Player
o   Must be able to explain moves and relevant sidelines
o   Must be able to explain who each player is

Outside of Class, a Red Division player should:
·         Watch Red and Black level videos on
·         Practice tactics on
·         Study Master games
·         Choose a style of Play and at Least 2 openings for White and 2 openings for Black
·         Play online chess on
·         Play in Tournaments!
·         Win 4 games in a 6-game tournament, or 3.5 in a 5-game tournament

BLUE Division - Ready for Tournaments!

The BLUE Division players have demonstrated they are ready for tournament play!

o   Thinking before moving- balancing offense and defense
o   En Passant
o   Battle Squares- counting defenders and attackers
o   Overkill Checkmates K+2R vs K and K+Q vs K
o   Avoiding Stalemate
o   Basic Tactics
o   Basic Openings
o   Opening Principles
o   Taking Notation
o   Tournament Basics- sportsmanship, manners, basics, etc.
AFTER YOU EARN YOUR BLUE DIVISION WRIST BAND, a Student should focus on earning their Red Wristband by demonstrating success in chess tournaments.  Here are the things a blue student should learn:
  • Use or other program to analyze game
  • Intermediate Tactics
  • Discovery
  • Discovered Check
  • Discovered Attack
  • Double Check
  • Deflection
  •  Back Rank
  • Trapped Piece
  • Basic Endgames
  • Overkill Checkmate
  • K+R vs. K
  • K + P vs. K
  • Opposition
  • Rook Pawn
  • Rule of the Square
  • Rook Endgames,  Rooks belong behind passed pawns
  • Middlegame -  Concept of planning

Outside of Class, a Blue Division player should:
·         Watch Blue and Red level videos on
·         Practice tactics on
·         Play online chess on
·         Take Notation and Analyze games
·         Play in Tournaments!
·         Win 4 games in a 6-game tournament, or 3.5 in a 5-game tournament

WHITE Division - Ready to Play!

Students in the WHITE Division are ready to play the game of chess, and begin to compete!


  • Board setup
  • Basic chess rules
  • Piece movement, Castling
  • Checkmate, 4-move Checkmate, Stalemate

AFTER EARNING YOUR WHITE WRIST BAND, you should learn the following to prepare for your next (Blue) Division:
·         Basic Opening Principles
o   Piece Development
o   King Safety
o   Controlling Center
·         Basic Openings: 4 Knights, Ruy Lopez, Italian Game, French Defense, Queen's Gambit
·         Thinking like other player – “why did they move there and what can they do to me?” 
·         Playing Slowly- THINKing between each move
·         En Passant and when to use
·         Battle Squares- counting defenders and attackers (Piece Safety)
·         Overkill Checkmates
o   K+2R vs. K
o   K+Q vs. K
·         Avoiding Stalemate
·         Basic Tactics
o   Mate in 1
o   Pin
o   Fork
o   Skewer
o   Mate in 2
o   Removal of the Guard
·         How to Take Notation
·         Tournament Basics- sportsmanship, manners, basics, etc.

Outside of Class, a White Division player should:
·         Watch White level videos on this Blog (
·         Practice tactics on
·         Get a free account and play online
·         Take Notation in Important Games
·         Ask about Tournaments- Pick one to shoot for!
·         Test into BLUE Division when ready!

GREEN Division - New to Chess!

This is the first of five articles explaining the different divisions of the Muskego Scholastic Chess Club.

The GREEN Division consists of kids who are new to chess, or who have not yet demonstrated the skills necessary to earn their WHITE wrist band.  There is no Green wrist band given out at this time.  Students in the Green Division should have as their goal to make it to the White division as soon as they can, so they are ready to really learn the game of chess.

·         Must attend a Muskego K-12 school
·         Must be well behaved and attentive in class
·         Board and zones, setup
·         Basic chess rules
·         Chess pieces and movement
·         Basic moves
·         Pawn promotions
·         Castling
·         Three parts of the game
·         Basic Check and Mate
·         Stalemate
·         4-Move Checkmate
Outside of Class, the Green level student should:
·         Watch Green level videos on
·         Practice board setup and piece movement
·         Prepare to testThis is into White Division when Ready!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chess Carnival

Evan and Jason run a "Simul" during MSCC's "chess carnival"

Thanks to everyone who attended MSCC's "Chess Carnival" last night.  We had a lot of fun, including two simuls by Evan and Jason, and several "stations" including checkmate with 1 rook, 2 rooks and walking a pawn with a King, opening principles, finishing a game with a strong advantage, and Tournament Readiness.

Each "station" was run by either a student or a parent/leader, and notes were taken during the carnival.  We also took some signups for USM on 11/23.

I will be emailing parents with some notes we took during the chess carnival.  We hope everybody had a great time!

NEXT WEEK: wrist bands will be handed out during class!  Focus will be on preparing for tournament play, and demos will be given for all levels.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Are you Ready for Tournaments?

Yes, chess fans, our first tournament is just around the corner!  Many kids from the MSCC will be attending the great annual tournament at University School of Milwaukee!  This tournament is for any kid K-12, but we strongly recommend only kids who are tournament ready (Blue, Red, Black divisions) attend.  I will be sending out an email and posting here with instructions for signing up.

In general, you are ready for a tournament when you understand:

  • Board setup, rules, piece movement, checkmate
  • 4-move mate and avoiding
  • Castling
  • Piece development
  • Simple checkmates
  • Stalemate
  • Basic Opening principles
  • How to Play SLOWLY and think about other person's move
  • Battle Squares - counting attackers and defenders
  • Pawn Structure
  • What is a pin, fork and a skewer?
  • Tournament Basics- sportsmanship, manners, etc.

Demonstration of the above concepts also means you are ready for the BLUE division!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Game 2 of World Championship - Anand v Carlsen

It's fun to watch a master class game explained- Blue/Red/Black players can learn a great deal!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

MSCC Wristbands on the way!

MSCC wrist bands are on the way!  These silicon wrist bands will help us divide our students by color:

  • White - Ready to Play!
  • Blue- Ready for Tournaments!
  • Red- Proven Tournament Player
  • Black- Top Tournament Player
We believe these wristbands will help motivate kids to move forward and to study outside of class.  The wristbands should be worn during class and at tournaments - the "MSCC" letters on them will help bind our kids together as a club during tournaments, which are divided by schools usually.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Muskego High School Team

Last year, the Muskego High School team won the Conference (SMCC), and took 5th place in Division 1 at state with all Freshmen.  This year, with the help of Mr. Matt, our goal is first place.

During the season, kids in 7th and 8th grade may play as "subs" but for the state tournament, the team must consist of kids who actually attend the High School, and we're obviously looking for Red and Black division players of that age.  In grades 9-12 this year, we have Jake Gomoll, Rachel Gomoll, John Lamb, Jason Markowski, Jorin McGuire, Brady Megal, Sam Miller, Kolt Otterbacher, Reid Seghers, Evan Seghers, Chris Tillson.  The top 10 players will play every week in order of SMCC rating. The SMCC rating is determined by 1) last year's SMCC rating; or 2) the pre-season tournament on 12/7; 3) USCF rating divided by 10.