Monday, July 19, 2010

NSCF Westchester Chess Camp

Last week Richie participated in the Westchester Chess Camp which is run by the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. The NSCF actually runs two summer camps, one which is targeted at stronger players (over 1200) and one which is for any level. Although we had gotten permission to put Richie into the advanced camp, after finding out that there probably weren't going to be many kids near his age and that there would be some significantly stronger players we thought it probably wouldn't be too fun for him. Instead we opted for the general camp after getting some assurances from Sunil (Weeramantry) that the instruction and play would be at an appropriate level for him. Most chess players are familiar with Sunil since he is Hikaru Nakamura's step-father and coach (as well as being a FIDE master).

The camp began at 10:00 am each day and went to 3:00 pm with a lunch break and free play period. At the beginning of the day campers were paired with each other (or an instructor) for a slow, tournament style game which was recorded. I believe that this game was reviewed afterwards. Later in the day there were two lecture periods which seemed mainly to consist of going over annotated games or solving tactics.

Richie enjoyed the camp, especially after a couple of days when he had gotten to know some of the other kids. Personally I was a little disappointed with the turnout(around 10-12 kids) since I think it would be nicer to have a more boisterous atmosphere, but Richie didn't seem to mind at all. And of course, the upside to those numbers are that the student to instructor ratio was a very healthy 5 or 6 which insures an appropriate level of supervision.

One thing to note is that Sunil himself doesn't give the lessons and generally is only present for part of the day. But the master level instructor he selected seemed to be quite good from what I could tell and there were always one or two other strong players helping out as well.

Overall I was quite pleased with this camp as well. Having now seen several camps with different pros and cons I would probably say that for anyone living near Scarsdale, this camp probably offers the best bang-for-the-buck and convenience for somewhat serious players compared to other summer offerings I've seen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very helpful as I'm considering sending my 9 year to this camp.

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