Our 2020-2021 Story
2021 has been an exciting year for the Grand Rapids Chess Center. In mid-2020 we started going by the name of the Grand Rapids Chess Center. Relaunching our Spencer St. Chess Club into a chess center which can fully offer our local players and growing movement as well as become a new hub of incredible chess events for the region.
In this Spring of 2021, to ensure the sustainability and top-quality service we wanted to provide, the Grand Rapids Chess Center became a member-based chess center. This followed the models of all national chess centers and creates opportunities, saves our members money, and opens the doors to new services. This coincided with the people looking for new places to play chess and learn the game. In April 2021 we began adding members and we have not stopped since. We have added new members every month since!
GRCC Kidz & the Summer Chess Academy
In the summer of 2021 we launched a 6-week summer chess academy that was well attended for its inaugural year. The chess center’s very own Hunter Reed was our lead teacher with help from Will Brooks. Don Brooks headed up the weekly operations. We had 12 students signed up and get connected to the chess center. This will run yearly and only expanding every single year.
With the success of the Summer Chess Academy we launched, with help from Don Brooks, the new GRCC Kidz program. Don Brooks, Director of Scholastic Chess, heads this program up. We offer fun events tailored to kids, weekly coaching for our young chess center members, teach tournament etiquette and readiness, and make sure everyone has a blast. This program continues to grow with attendance ranging from 8-16 depending on the week.
We will start launching regular classes and specialized training for our members.
Expanded Training and Educational Opportunities
There is one thing that is clear since 2021 really go going: there are a lot of players newer to the game that are thirsty for over-the-board play and tailored learning opportunities from experienced and stronger players. This is an important way the chess center serves local players.
One of our new opportunities we have launched is our Training Camps. These are mini-camps open to members and non-members to get over two hours of interactive training. This training leans on the models that the strongest players in the world use but leverages it for our newer and less experienced players.
A newly created program called the Homework Club is an extremely exciting opportunity and recently launched. This is taken directly from world-class trainer Jacob Aagaard’s work with top players. Where, for a monthly charge of $33/a month you are sent 6 positions every 1st and 3rd Saturday a month from Fide Master Joshua Posthuma. You deeply analyze these positions and input your comments, analysis, and evaluation of the position back to him. He then responds with personal feedback noting what you missed, what you saw, things to look for, ideas to consider and more. It is a truly exciting training opportunity! Sign up here as it launches in September!
New 2021-2022 Tournament Calendar
A strong desire I have always had is to offer tournaments that are a draw for regional players as well. We kicked that calendar off with our August Tune-Up which will be our yearly kick off each year. Players from Lansing and Chicago joined us and we continue to see interest from Indiana and Illinois in what we are doing. We want to offer up to 10 tournaments a year with 1-3 2-day events and several one-day events. Our GRCC Members will always receive discounts off entry fees which will be just another benefit of the membership!
GR Fall Action Challenge – September 18th (1-day, 3 Sections, G/30;d5)
2021 West Michigan Championship – October 16-17 (2-day, G/90;d5, lots of prizes!)
2021 West Michigan Scholastic Championship – October 16 (K-12 Championship Event)
2021 Turkey Toss-Up – November TBD (2-day, G/75;d5)
2022 New Year Resolutions – January TBD (1-day, g/45;d5)
2022 Grand Rapids Spring Classic – March TBD (1-day, G/25:d4)
2022 April Tournament TBD (1-day)
2022 June Tournament TBD (2-day)