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On the edge of Toronto's Annex neighbourhood

ACC Advanced Chess (in-person)


Course Title: “Advanced Chess Workshops (Better Openings Management)“

This is an 8-class, in-person chess course, taught by ACC Instructor, FIDE Master (FM) Michael Humphreys, in which students learn various advanced concepts and principles of chess. Kids advanced classes are 1.5 hrs. in length and begin at 6:00 PM most Mondays. Adult intermediate classes are also 1.5 hrs. in length. and begin at 7:30 PM most Mondays. Classes may be purchased and taken on an a-la-carte basis with the instructor's permission. 

General Considerations

An ELO rating of 1200 – 1700 is generally a suitable range for students attending this course. However, the depth of the content for this course may be adjusted upwards or downwards to fit the average level of the students attending.

One set of advanced classes is for kids under the age of 14. Another set is for adults (which includes youth aged 14+).

Topics for each successive 8-week iteration of these classes will vary, so there is always new content for advanced students to master should they wish to take the course again.

Topics Covered

Here are the latest 8 individual weekly lessons that apply to Advanced Chess Workshops for Adults (Better Openings Management)This is currently taught as an in-person class (adults only) and as an online class (kids+adults). 

    • Lesson 1: Punishing Opening Mistakes
    • Lesson 2: The Battle of the Tempo
    • Lesson 3: Principles of Hypermodern Chess
    • Lesson 4: Recurring Themes in the Opening
    • Lesson 5: Modern Opening Strategy
    • Lesson 6: Methodology in the Opening
    • Lesson 7: From the Opening to the Endgame
    • Lesson 8: Psychology and Risk Management in the Opening

Here’s what Instructor FM Michael Humphreys says about this course:

“Don’t bother memorizing tons of theoretical variations, simply adhere to these basic opening principles.” Some version of this hackneyed cliche appears in almost every opening manual written in the last 20 years. For developing players it can be quite frustrating to hear this. To begin with it seems condescending. “Yes, I learned about developing my pieces and controlling the centre when I was a junior, now please teach me something worthwhile.” The same books which offer this advice often fail to go much further than just the basics which leaves aspiring players to their own devices.

Many players in this situation end up memorizing reems of variations after all since they’re unsure of how else to make progress. Sites like Chessable focus extensively on making this memorization process easier but this—at least by itself—is also insufficient. What’s important to recognize is that making good decisions in the opening requires genuine skills. These skills may be supplemented through memorization of variations, but they cannot be replaced by it. Everyone understands this simple fact when it comes to calculation or endgame technique, but somehow the presence of thick theoretical tomes full of engine analysis blinds us to its application in the opening.

In this 8-week course, you learn how to develop and refine your opening skill set, but be prepared! The development of any skill requires continual practice and effort. This course is not for the faint of heart!

Here are the eight individual weekly lessons that apply to Advanced Chess Workshops for Kids. This is currently taught as an in-person, kids-only class. This is similar in some respects to the in-person, adults-only course though at a less advanced level.

    • Lesson 1: Opening Principles Part 1
    • Lesson 2: Opening Principles Part 2
    • Lesson 3: Make Every Tempo Count!
    • Lesson 4: Reacting to Threats
    • Lesson 5: Forcing Moves First Part 1
    • Lesson 6: Forcing Moves First Part 2
    • Lesson 7: Removal of the Guard
    • Lesson 8: Evaluation and Review

After each lesson, students are given an online homework assignment where they apply the lessons learned to new chess positions.

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