In keeping with the flipped classroom model, I make videos for my students to watch for homework, and what would traditionally be assigned as homework is instead done during class. There's no better way than a video to explain further!

Unit One -

Things that have changed since making this video:

  1. I make all the accounts. Ignore creating your own account; just use the log-in information I provide you with.
  2. No need to print out notation or to email it to me. Just message me on the name of your opponent, the date of the game, and whether you won or lost. I can then look it up.
  3. I try to provide all my students with gold memberships. Take advantage of your membership by playing "fast chess" and puzzles. Ignore playing the computer, "tournaments," and "slow chess."

Key takeaways:

  • Play slow, live games as often as possible. This is the best way for you to improve. If you can't find a OTB game against a somewhat stronger opponent or you don't have a clock*, play online. Steer clear of blitz, playing computers, and correspondence chess ( incorrectly calls it "slow chess").
  • Use almost all your time. 15/1 is a pretty quick time control. If there's lots of time left on your clock at the end of the game (more than 5 min), you played too fast.
  • Ignore your rating. Your rating is not a reliable measurement of your ability or progress. If you start to become obsessed with your rating, chess will become much less fun.
  • Send me your games! The easiest way to do so is to message me within I will review it with you in class, or at least send you some feedback if we don't have time.

Also, if you have access to a tablet or smart phone, I recommend installing the app.

* If you don't have a clock for OTB games, offers a clock in a dedicated iPhone/iPad app. If you use it, be sure to add a 5 second delay to whatever time control you choose. They also offer the same app for Androids & Kindles.

Unit Two - Chess Notation

Your first lesson is divided into two parts: theory & practice. To get better at anything, you always need both. Part 1 explains why chess notation is important - the theory. Part 2 explains how to take chess notation - the practice.

Get ready to level up!

In Part 1, I discuss the benefits & importance of knowing how to take chess notation.

In Part 2, I explain how to take chess notation.

Unit Three - Basic Checkmates

Learn how to checkmate with two rooks, a king & queen, and a king & rook.

You can practice these situations against the computer on!

  1. Two rook mate
  2. King + Queen v King
  3. King + Rook v King

Unit Four - Opening Principles

1. Develop!

2. Control the center!

3. Don't move the same piece twice until all your powerful pieces are involved, except for a tactic!

4. Don't bring your queen out too early!

5. Castle early!

I've created a worksheet that I will bring to class. Here's an example of what it will look like filled out.

Unit Five - Scholar's Mate

Now that we've covered opening principles, our next unit will deal with common opening traps. First up is Scholar's Mate. If you haven't faced this already, chances are you will soon. Fortunately, it does not work if you defend properly! It is a great example of wish chess - making moves even when you know they're not the best, hoping your opponent will make a mistake. Although you may win some games against beginners by playing wish chess moves, it will make you a worse player over the long run. Always play the best move you can find!

I made a video for opening principles because I wasn't satisfied with the ones on Their two videos on Scholar's Mate are solid, however, so I will be linking to those instead of making my own. (If you don't have a gold membership, you can only watch the first few minutes - contact me so we can remedy that.) Make sure you're logged in when watching the videos.

Scholar's Mate 1

Scholar's Mate 2

It is really important that you are prepared to defend against Scholar's Mate! After watching these videos & practicing in chess club, you should be able to get a big advantage in the opening against anyone that tries this trick on you.

Unit Six - Weird Rules Of Chess

First up is castling, the only move in chess where you move two pieces at once. After you watch the video, check out this lesson to reinforce your understanding.

Next we have en passant, one of the more recent changes to the rules of chess - it's still at least 500 years old! No need for me to make a video because has a good one - click here. After you watch it, you should follow up with this lesson.

Next we have the threefold repetition rule. Here's another video -  the author doesn't mention that positions involving en passant won't count towards the repetition. Even though the pieces might be in the same position, the possible moves are not the same (you only have the option for en passant right after the pawn moves two spaces next to yours).

Finally we have the fifty move rule, which doesn't require a video. The rule states that if no pieces are captured and no pawns are moved for fifty moves (both opponents moving counts as one move), then either player can claim a draw. This prevents the game going forever if a player doesn't know how to checkmate their opponent.

Unit Seven - Tactics Part #1

In this video, I cover the definition of "tactic" and review pins, forks, skewers, and discovered attacks. In an upcoming part 2, I will cover the remaining tactics.

Unit Seven - Tactics Part #2

I cover the following tactical themes: back rank combinations, double checks, double threats, pawn promotions, removal of the guard, and perpetual checks. Start looking out for them in puzzles!

Bonus - Live Session #1

Every week I will be posting a live session with some analysis. These videos will still be instructional, but I'll try to make them more entertaining than usual. This week I bring the fire to Mad Mad Max's doorstep.

Bonus - Live Session #2

Be sure to watch the instructional videos before the bonus videos. Here is my weekly live session on I drew a much harder opponent than I was hoping for and wound up playing some advanced chess. Pull up a chair - it's time for some mental martial arts!

Bonus - Live Session #3

FierceNewt v OnerousPelican - things get straight up "cray." Another video just for fun, but I hope you find it instructive as well.

FYI: I took more time to make my moves than it appears - I edited out the moments when I wasn't talking to make the video more engaging. Remember to play slow!

Key takeaways:

1. Use all your time. (Notice how he has 9+ minutes at the end, and I have 33 seconds.)
2. Use all your pieces. (Notice where his rooks are at the end of the game.)
3. Don't play wish chess!

Bonus - Live Session #4

This week's bonus video is almost entirely unedited. I wanted to give you a more accurate picture of how much time I was using for my moves, instead of editing out the moments without narration. I even left in a brief phone call to give you the full Mr. Fred experience!

Bonus - Live Puzzles #1

More instructional than entertaining, but a bonus video nonetheless. This should help improve your tactical recognition & your thought process when deciding which candidate moves to consider.

Bonus - Live Puzzles #2

Since we're currently working on tactics (see Tactics - Part 1), I've made this week's bonus video a live puzzles session... with a Mortal Kombat twist!