We are excited to introduce Group Lessons for all levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level players. Our group lessons are like no other as our class sizes are intentionally designed to be small (groups of 6 to 12 students) for better learning through more one-on-one interaction between students and our instructors. Our group lessons are offered for 6 different levels of players:
  • Level 1 Beginner (CFC Rating <600) – Registration Now Open (Online) – Register here! 
  • Level 2 Beginner (CFC Rating 601 – 900) – Registration Now Open (In-person) –Register here!
  • Level 3 Intermediate (CFC Rating 901 – 1200)
  • Level 4 Intermediate (CFC Rating 1201 – 1500)
  • Level 5 Advance (CFC Rating 1500 – 1800)
  • Level 6 Advance (CFC Rating 1800 – 2100)
The group classes run for 8 weeks – 2 hours of lessons per week. Below are some of the objectives and lesson outcomes for students who participate in our group program:
  • One hour of structured curriculum-based lessons & exercises and one hour of recorded games
  • All students registered in an online group class for additional lessons and play time outside of class (Online registration fee included in lesson fees)
  • Online learning platform for additional practice at home to reinforce lessons in class
  • Monitoring of students’ progress with regular quizzes and homework
  • All students to participate in mini-tournaments
  • Group lesson curriculum covers Opening, Middle game and End game techniques
  • Guaranteed improvement for students who actively participate by completing lessons, exercises, and assignments
  • Certificate of Completion provided to all successful students at the end of the group lessons upon successful completion of all quizzes
  • All lessons taught by experienced instructors – See a list of instructors here

Now accepting registration for Level 1 & Level 2! Only one class is offered for the first 12 students in each class:

Level 1

  • When: Tuesdays, Jan 25, 2022 to Mar 15, 2022

  • Time: 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

  • Where: Online on Zoom and

  • Registration Fee: $147 for 8 weeks of lessons

  • Register online Level 1

Level 2

  • When: Wednesdays, Jan 26, 2022 to Mar 16, 2022

  • Time: 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

  • Where: St. Luke’s Palermo, 3114 Dundas Street West, Oakville, ON L6M 4J3 (Wisdom Room)

  • Registration Fee: $217 for 8 weeks of lessons

  • Register online Level 2

Group Lessons Curriculum
Level 1 Beginner
  1. Week 1: Introduction of what chess is all about – focus on understanding and visualizing the chess board, the files, ranks and diagonals. Exercises are introduced to help students label the squares and learn the colors of the squares without looking at the board. This is foundational as visualization of the chess board is a key component of mastering chess.
  2. Week 2: Introduction of the Chess Pieces – building on the foundation of Week 1, the pieces are introduced and students learn the position of the pieces on the board with a focus on mastering the colors the various pieces sit on. Exercises are introduced for students to name squares, colors, pieces on squares, etc. More focus on visualizing the chess board with the pieces is emphasized.
  3. Week 3: Movement of the Pieces – Rook and Bishop. Here, the students explore the potentials of the rooks and bishops with lots of exercises aimed at visualizing the chess board with these pieces and determining where the pieces are the most powerful when placed on various squares. Visualization exercises in the prior weeks are built on in Week 3 with the Rooks and Bishops on the board. Kids also start to practice playing mini chess games from Week 3.
  4. Week 4: Movement of the Pieces – The King and Queen. This is similar to Week 3 with the introduction of the King and Queen. The students will continue to work on visualization attempting to solve problems sometimes without looking at the board. At this stage, mini games will continue and we begin to introduce basic opening strategies and tactics.
  5. Week 5: Movement of the Pieces – Knight. Similar pattern to the lesson plan in Week 4 with the introduction of the Knight. The students will continue to work on visualization with lots of exercises exploring the movement of the Knight most times without looking at the board. Lessons will be reinforced with practice games and some additional focus on strategies and tactics for both opening and middle game.
  6. Week 6: Movement of the Pieces – Pawn. Here we introduce the pawn but also start focusing on the various pawn structures and the impact it can have on the chess game. We explore the power of the pawns and discuss the different types of pawns – passed pawn, isolated pawn, double pawns, etc. We continue to build on the visualization with many exercises. More practice games are played to foster learning points.
  7. Week 7: Special moves – Pawn. In Week 7, we introduce the special pawn move – en passant. We continue to expand on the lessons in Week 6 with additional exercises focused on visualization. More practice games are played with basic concepts on the end game introduced.
  8. Week 8: Special moves – Castle. We introduce castling and spend some time teaching about king safety. Lessons in prior weeks are reinforced with additional exercises. More games are played and more strategy and tactics are explored with the kids.
Level 2 Beginner
  1. Week 1: Tactical Devices – Students will be introduced to tactical ideas and its components. They will learn how to make sure of them for gain of material, checkmate or to save the game. Another key concept that will be taught is sacrificing, which can be combined with tactical ideas to make combinations.
  2. Week 2: Double Attack – Students will be taught an important type of tactic called the double attack. They will learn how to create a double attack with any piece, along with the x-ray double attack.
  3. Week 3: Knight and Pawn Forks – This lesson is similar to week 2, but it focuses more on combinations that include knight and pawn forks. Given that the knight is the only piece that can hop over other pieces, it requires extra attention during the game. The pawn is also the least valuable, so creating fork with it almost always leads to gain of material.
  4. Week 4: Pinning – A tactical device that is just as commonly used is the pin. Students will learn about 2 types of pins, complete and incomplete pins. They will practice how to best use the pin to win material, checkmate or save the game when in trouble.
  5. Week 5: Discovered Attack – Students will learn a tactical idea that is usually not as noticeable as others – the discovered attack. However, if a discovered attack is played during a game, the defender will usually be caught by surprise and lose material or get a disadvantage.
  6. Week 6: Discovered Check – This discovered check is very similar to the discovered attack except that the piece that moves away is usually the one gaining material, and the one that is checking is distracting. Students will practice the discovered check and know how to create one and defend when the opponent creates one.
  7. Week 7: The “Windmill” Combination – This tactical device is the least used as it is very difficult to set up but if used correctly the game could be in the attacker’s hands. Students will learn how to set up and use the windmill combination.
  8. Week 8: Double Check – If a player employs a double check, this usually means a great loss of material for the defender or getting mated. Students will learn how to employ a double check by using sacrifice or decoy, distraction of the opponent’s defenders, and destruction of the defense around the enemy king.
Level 3 Intermediate
  1. Week 1: Elimination of the Defense – In the first lesson the students will learn how to win material/checkmate by eliminating the defense in the most simple form (capturing or attacking the defender). The will practice how to sacrifice pieces to eliminate the defender in order to achieve something greater.
  2. Week 2: Deflection – We will focus on a specific type of elimination of the defense – deflection. Students will learn how to distract the piece from doing an important job. They will practice examples on how to take advantage of an “overloaded” defender.
  3. Week 3: Blockade – This week, an interesting concept of blockade will be introduced. Blockade can be used to attack or defend, but it is the idea of restricting the movement of the opponent’s pieces to win material/checkmate or defend. Students will practice how to combine blockade with other tactical devices.
  4. Week 4: Interference – Here is another type of elimination of the defense when the attacker interferes with the defense by moving in between what is being protected. Students will solve interference puzzles to better understand this way of eliminating the defense.
  5. Week 5: Clearance – This motive is one that is used to gain time when attacking. Students will learn how to effectively make forcing moves (checks, captures, threats) to gain time to successfully carry out their attack or tactic.
  6. Week 6: Decoy – In this lesson the tactical device of the decoy will be introduced. The decoy is the luring of a piece into a square where the attacker can employ a tactic such as forced checkmate, double attack, etc. Students will practice how to use a decoy to deliver a tactical blow.
  7. Week 7: Promotion – The promotion of a pawn is rare, but if it is successful the player gains a lot of material. This means that he/she can sacrifice some material to achieve something better – the promotion of a pawn. Students will learn how to use tactics to achieve a pawn promotion and what pieces to promote depending on the needs of the position.
  8. Week 8: Demolition of the Pawn Screen – In the last lesson ideas will be introduced on how to destroy the pawn screen that keeps the enemy king safe. Most often the pawns that are attacked or taken are the g7 and h7 pawns. Students will learn how to sacrifice for the pawn screen to open up the enemy king to checkmate.
Level 4 Intermediate
  1. Week 1: Bishop + Rook – In the first lesson the students will be shown various mating ideas that are possible with a bishop and rook. They will be given exercises to practice their knowledge on how a bishop and rook can be used to mate like a queen.
  2. Week 2: Bishop + Knight – Students will learn how to make mating threats using the combination of a bishop and knight. They will practice the main conditions that enables a bishop and knight to prove dangerous around the king’s weak squares.
  3. Week 3: Rook + Knight – The rook and knight are commonly used together to make checkmate threats or perpetual check as a last resort. Students will practice exercises based on the rook and knight’s coordination to deliver mate.
  4. Week 4: Bishop + Bishop – The two bishops are very dangerous against the enemy king if they’ve found their proper diagonals. Students will learn the power of the two bishops and how to coordinate them to produce mate.
  5. Week 5: Queen/Rook/ + Rook (Frontal) – The heavy pieces usually bring the most firepower to the attack so students will learn two ways of using them to mate the king-frontal and lateral. In this lesson the frontal attack of the heavy pieces will be covered which involves using pawns and pieces to open up files and then mating with the heavy pieces.
  6. Week 6: Queen/Rook + Rook (Lateral) – In this lesson the heavy pieces will be used in a lateral manner which means using the 7th and 8th ranks. This can cost the opponent a lot of material or produce mate when the heavy pieces are used in a lateral way.
  7. Week 7: Back Rank – A weak back rank can prove very annoying for the defender as the attacker can take advantage of certain pieces that are defending the back rank. It is common cause for mate, and students will learn how to identify when the opponent has a weak back rank and how to take advantage of it to deliver mating threats.
  8. Week 8: Queen + Bishop – The queen and bishop are usually used to threaten mate on g7/h7. Students will practice using exercises how to use the combination of a queen and bishop to attack the enemy king and mate.
Level 5 Advance
  1. Week 1: Intermediate move – Students will start off the group lessons with a lesson on how to perform intermediate moves which is check, capture or threat in between a forced line. Intermediate moves are commonly missed by both the attacker and defender so students will practice finding them in exercises.
  2. Week 2: Trapping the Queen – The queen is the most dangerous piece but it is also the most valuable. Students will learn how to neutralize the enemy queen and trap it with puzzles. Given that the queen is worth so much in material, up to 8 pawns or rook+bishop/knight can be used to sacrifice for the queen.
  3. Week 3: Extraction of the King – Students will learn a different method to attack the king and that is by extracting it into the open if the opponent hasn’t finished development. Usually this requires a bit of sacrificial material but if the king is mated then it is worth it.
  4. Week 4: Sacrifice on h7 – By this level the students know the typical scheme of sacrificing on h7. However, the simple Bh7-Ng5-Qh5 attack doesn’t always finish the job and students will learn other tactical ideas to continue the mating attack such as including the rook.
  5. Week 5: Perpetual check – During the game the students should always remember that the game has three outcomes – win, loss or draw. If it becomes apparent during the game that the student can’t win or is on the brink of losing, he/she should look for ideas on how to get a draw. The most forcing way is a perpetual check as the opponent can’t escape and has no choice but to accept the draw. Students will practice exercises on finding ideas and calculating perpetual check.
  6. Week 6: Perpetual pursuit – This idea is similar to perpetual check except it does not happen on the opponent’s king. Students will learn how to continuously attack the opponent’s pieces and force a draw using three-fold repetition if he/she is in need of a draw.
  7. Week 7: Theoretical Stalemate – Students will need to know certain theoretical draws using the concept of stalemate. These will be useful once they have practiced them, in games where there is only one way to draw. They can be used to defend difficult positions or knowing them can help students avoid them if they are the attacker.
  8. Week 8: Creative Stalemate – Often times, students won’t reach theoretical stalemates and will instead be down a lot of material and in need of a draw. If the king is restricted and can’t go to any squares, then all the defender needs to do is get rid of all his pieces/pawns that can move. Students will practice exercises on how to save a hopeless game by sacrificing their pieces to end in a stalemate.

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