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Chess U provides courses for all levels, from beginners all the way to masters
  • Chess U

    All Courses|Novice|Intermediate|Advanced|Tournaments

    Starting Out: Scholastic Tactics

    Scholastic chess in the United States has been growing incredibly quickly in the last few decades- with USCF Scholastic membership doubling in the 1990s and 2000s, so it makes sense to write a course engineered to the specific needs of scholastic players who are also new to chess. You may ask, what is it that separates scholastic and “adult” chess? Shouldn't we all just try to play the best moves? The answer that the best move may always be the best move, but younger players simply have a different learning style than adults. Thus, we created this course, which focuses on the importance of tactics while teaching it in a way that is accessible to a younger audience and stresses practical play (rather than a laborious technical manual that will scare youngsters away from chess). In particular, we emphasize:

    • how often a tactic will pop up (Frequency)

    • how easy the tactic is to spot (Easiness)

    • how strong the tactical idea is (Danger)


    In addition, the lessons are underscored by tactical drills, detailed explanations, and plenty of diagrams in order to make the material crystal clear.

    We wish you the best of luck!

    -IM Levon Altounian

    -NM Sameer Manchanda

    Tuscon, AZ and West Lafayette, IN

    • 1Clearance...
    • 17.5Fork...
    • 2Underpromotion...
    • 18.5Pin...
    • 3Attack...
    • 19.5Interference...
    • 4Forcing Move...
    • 20.5Positional Sacrifice...
    • 5Check...
    • 21.5X-Ray...
    • 6Undermining...
    • 22.5Tactical Sacrifice...
    • 7Deflection...
    • 23.5Stalemate...
    • 8Double Check...
    • 24.5Perpetual Check...
    • 9Back Rank Checkmate...
    • 25.5Forced Mate...
    • 10Attack on the King...
    • 26.5Mate in 1...
    • 11Insufficient Material...
    • 27.5Zugzwang...
    • 12Overloaded Piece...
    • 28.5Discovered Check...
    • 13Skewer...
    • 29.5Decoy...
    • 14Illustrative Game 1...
    • 30.5Relatively Forced Move...
    • 15Battery...
    • 31.5Illustrative Game 2...
    • 16Illustrative Game 3...
    • 32.5Absolute Forced Move...
    • 17Overextended...
  • Author
    Levon Altounian

    IM Levon Altounian is on the list of the most prominent chess players, coaches and organizers in the USA. He was a participant of three of the most prestigious US Championships, winner of the 2000 National Open and 2011 G10 National Open, many Arizona and California State Championships, including the 2010 “Champion of the State Champions” title. He also holds numerous records on ICC (chessclub.com) where he recently played a match with GM Hikaru Nakamura. Under his leadership, his students from all over the US won more than 100 Individual and Team State and National titles, including the K-5 Nationals in 2004 (Tucson, AZ team) and Denker competitions. His organization, called Arizona Chess For Schools, works tirelessly to promote chess on every level and also specializes in organizing chess events, camps and providing private and group lessons. To find out more please visit Arizonachessforschools.com or contact Levon directly at laltounian@msn.com.