Our approach to chess instruction comes from our five essential principles:
1. Teaching for Mastery
Our founders and coaches ensure that all our students thoroughly master the skills and knowledge they are taught. We teach for application: After actively participating in a lesson and solving homework problems, our students will be able to use the skills they study in a real game. When a student is having trouble with something, we work with each student to determine what they need to make progress. Our teachers constantly monitor student ability to apply what is taught through in-class exercises, homework positions, and structured games.
2. Building a Strong Foundation
Experience shows that students who develop a strong foundation in the basics are capable of dramatically improving their chess. Our rigorous and joyful lessons break chess down into its fundamental skills and carefully teach each one. By mastering building blocks such as attacking, defending, and winning material, students will be prepared to apply them consistently and develop higher skills.
3. Learning reaches Long-Term Memory
During a chess game, many things are happening! It is impossible to consciously keep track of everything at once. In order to play chess well, many of the fundamental skills need to be applied automatically. This ensures that the student’s working memory has the space needed to think.
To help our students play their best chess, we repeatedly strengthen all their fundamental skills through selected exercises, revisiting challenging topics, and in-class quizzes. We also use mini-games for them to practice individual skills in isolation. All of these skills will ultimately be stored in long-term memory. This means students can:
Automatically apply key skills in real games
Save their working memory for more difficult things
Successfully learn new material in the future
4. Uncompromising Focus on Quality
We work to offer our students the absolute highest quality available anywhere in the world. We do this by:
Carefully writing and adapting every single lesson ourselves from proven resources
Hiring teachers with strong chess, teaching, and academic backgrounds
Regular and ongoing professional development for our teachers
Limiting Steps classes to 10 students and thematic classes to 15 students to ensure every student is able to thrive
5. It Has to be Fun!
Our students have never had so many different ways to spend their time. For them to stick with chess and be excited about it, their lessons have to be fun. This is what keeps kids coming back to chess, learning and improving and developing a lifelong passion. We ensure our lessons are fun by:
Selecting energetic, positive teachers who are excited to share the world of chess
Embedding games and instant feedback on learning inside our curriculum
Fostering an atmosphere of friendly competition between students, motivating everyone to improve