Monday, May 24, 2010


... which showcased his fighting spirit! Enjoy this interesting game
- Coach Sean Tobin.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Here is the newest lesson!

Enjoy - Coach Sean!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Kids and their hardware!


Ok - having fun is the main priority but of course!

Getting youngsters to play in their first tournament is the biggest challenge you will ever have as a chess coach. There could be numerous reasons for this - the child lacks confidence in her or his game, the parents lack confidence, the family schedule doesn't permit attendance at such events, a particular family does not value a culture of education as much as they should or the Parents didn't even know that a sub-culture of Scholastic chess players even existed. There are many, many possible reasons why some Parents do not actually want their child to play - a common one is that it infringes upon their "me" time on the weekends.

Everyone has different expectations for their child's first chess club experience. No matter what the expectations or whether or not a child can participate in the additional chess playing opportunities that exist outside of the confines of their chess club it is my mission to make sure that each and every child has fun playing chess while learning. That is it in a nutshell!

Make it a great day - today and every day!
Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


No - Amber is not a woman... irr check that, actually she is but it is not what you might have been thinking! She is the daughter of multi-billionaire Joop van Oosterom who was at one time the Correspondence Champion of the World. The event is named after his daughter Amber.

This event has been held since 1992 and attracts the world's very best players. This is a top notch chess event that always produces some very interesting games. The format alone lends itself to wonderful games - one half of the event is a blindfold event and then the other half of the games are "rapid play". These are treated as two separate events and then also as a combined event with first place winners for each. Here is the Wikipedia blurb on the AMBER CHESS TOURNAMENT:

"The Melody Amber chess tournament (officially the Amber Rapid and Blindfold Chess Tournament) is an annual invitation-only event for some of the world's best players, from 1992 onwards. Since the second edition, the event uniquely combines blindfold chess and speed chess, and has been held in Monte Carlo. The tournament is sponsored by the Dutch billionaire and world champion of correspondence chess, Joop van Oosterom. Named after his daughter, the tournament is usually held in March.

The player with the most titles (as of 2008) is Vladimir Kramnik, with six."

- Wikipedia entry on "AMBER CHESS TOURNAMENTS".

For the complete coverage of this event please go to

Also the outstanding CHESS VIBES folks have - once again - produced some wonderful video coverage of this tremendous event. For access to these videos please visit the actual tournament host website at:

Or go to the main page for all CHESS VIBES videos at:

They cover top notch events from all over the world - so if you enjoy watching their online videos then viewer be forewarned - you may spend a lot of your online time surfing solely at that website!

Enjoy - Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CHESS CLASS AT BASIS March 17th, 2010


Today I had a great class at BASIS - I got to fill in for my friend Liulia Cardona who is a Woman's FIDE Master. She is originally from Cuba and has quite the background in chess - quite the resume you would say. She called me to sub her class - I suspect I was the first person that she called - and I jumped on the opportunity.

I didn't have either of my afternoon schools today as both Chandler and Kyrene school districts have break this week so you better believe that I jumped on the opportunity to work with some of my former students - some of the best players in Arizona : Tony, Bryce and A.J. They graduated from MISSION MONTESSORI into the BASIS fifth grade class - most of my MISMON kids end up at BASIS by fifth grade.

We had a lot of fun today - I had them in stitches at points during our lesson and then during the play period! This club has 15 players in it - a nice sized chess club with lots of very strong players. The largest club that I have right now has 30 kids in it while I have one that only has 5 youngsters enrolled - every school chess club is different and unique to the kids that define it at that particular time. Every school and every school district is different too, also the various Parents will have their differing expectations of what chess club should mean to their children. Give it a year and the club will change as students come and go over the course of time.

Today was a good day - I look forward to more of these - THANK YOU LIULIA! - Chess Coach Sean Tobin.



Back in Massachusetts - St. Patrick's day is a big deal! In Phoenix it is NOTHING!!!! Whoa... I had assumed that there was a large Irish population here but I guess not or rather not anymore. Talking with some of the staff and teachers today over at Mercuy Mine I found out that there "Used to be Parades..." I heard that at about 7:20 AM when I went in for my morning chess club there. That meant no St. Paddie's day cross country or road race for me today! Whoa - big surprise as I was looking to go do one that would be local and easy for me to attend!! No leaving my friends house and going to a local event for me though.

If you didn't wear green today you may have been pinched! This does have an origin my friends! Irish folk, at one point it seems, believed that they would be warning friends and family members who did not wear green about the Leprechauns who just might take offense BY PINCHING THEM. I am a little confused though - was it green that they were supposed to be wearing or was it Orange? I don't know as I am a little vague on this and no one has yet corrected me about this. Could be that none of this info is legit!

Make it a great day one and all - especially on St. Pattie's day! - Coach Sean Tobin.

Thursday, January 21, 2010



I don't know about you, but I am going to stick with playing chess... playing ring around the Ford with a Polar Bear is not my idea of fun. I hope he didn't lock his keys in the truck... and why is his friend only taking pictures instead of helping him? Also... what happened to the friend once he got into the truck? Hmm...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CHESS SIMUL FUN - Part of being a good chess coach!

As a Scholastic Chess Coach I have to travel from school to school giving chess simultaneous displays - and with the following constraints:

1.) It has to be exciting! This one is one that I am always trying to work on - the next one always has to top the previous simul given.
2.) I have to checkmate the scholastic players and those youngsters who are interested in chess as quickly as possible. Each youngster may only have anywhere from five to fifteen minutes worth of time with which to play his or her game against me.
3.) If I lose a game I lose a set. So if I want to keep my chess boards and sets I had better win every game! That is quite a bit of motivation for me as I cannot be going to chess clubs without my precious chess sets.
4.) I am a guest of the School that is hosting the event and as such I observe their rules - as any respectful guest would.

Enjoy these pictures from the 15 board chess simultaneous exhibition that I gave today – please notice that no chess clocks were in use during this event! However each player had very little time – maybe ten minutes or fifteen minutes maximum so I had to checkmate them as quickly as possible - as stated above! This event was a lot of fun – the largest Simul I have given so far this year with my own personal best being over twenty chess boards. This event had me worried that I might lose a set or two as this is my largest and strongest chess club and a lot of my players were eager to joust with me and win one of my prized chess sets!!

If you want to achieve anything in life then it is up to you!

As it is at the chess board so it is in the great adventure that is called life! - Coach Sean.

Before the storm breaks…

Object of the game?  As many checkmates as possible!

Attack of the Scholastic players - the wave comes crashing down!

The chess board is my shield...

The battle rages on!

You need track shoes for <span class=

As soon as I defeat a youngster - 10 more want to take his/her place - and that was when it was slow!

I played a lot of kids today!

"At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box".

"At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box".

Even though I do not use boxes for the pieces - I certainly had a lot of them to put away!

Make it a great day. - Coach Sean Tobin.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

CUBA'S LOSS IS OUR GAIN: Meet the 2nd Highest Rated Player in Phoenix Arizona DIONISIO ALDAMA!

For those of you not in the know Dionisio Aldama is the second highest rated player in Arizona – as of this writing. He is probably as strong as most Grandmasters are – minus the G and the M in front of his name. During the final round of the most recent edition of the weekly Friday night action chess tournament Dionisio took the measure of his opponents and then firmly seized them up by their chess minds and then violently twisted the chess life out of them! The Friday night action is held at the Chess Emporium every week and is at least four rounds long. It was this humble chess blogger’s honor to bear witness to an extremely exciting game as it was in progress during the fourth round of the most recent outing – and then to also have seen another fine work of art produced by this extremely strong player from earlier in the night – one Dionisio Aldama.

As an added bonus for the evenings celebration of chess I got to watch Dionisio analyze Chess Emporium Chess Coach Joe Lafornara’s most recent loss – his fourth round loss to an extremely strong expert (2150-ish). What takes work for 99.9 percent of all players in the world comes with ease for Dionisio Aldama – and usually when he spots a winning idea it is with a smile upon his face. He even smiles when playing the winning line while at the board - this is a person who truly loves chess.

If you want the “Free” lessons from Dionisio then leave your ego at home and come play him during the Friday Night Action tournament that starts at 7 PM every Friday night. Arrive early so you can register for this fine event – and seating is limited during some editions of this event as there are also Super Group and Private lessons being given - in addition to the monthly three round scholastic Swiss style Chess open. The Chess Emporium is at times like a big chess hive – with lots of activity.

If you are looking for another opportunity to play Dionisio then this Sunday – the 17th of January – he will be giving a 12 board clock Simul at the Paradise Valley Mall Borders Bookstore. The fun starts at 2PM and continues until around 8PM that evening and the entry fee is $5.00 – paid to the man with a plan – Dionisio Aldama. You will have 30 minutes to match wits with one of the nations top players – and he will have only 30 minutes to move back and forth from one board to another as he gives lessons to one and all takers. This is a benefit to help support one of our strongest players – so be there or be square on a chess board square!

To warm up for the clock Simultaneous Exhibition Chess Match this Sunday here is a tactic from one of Dionisio’s games. This one didn’t last long – he takes the heart of a 2150 rated player in 16 moves! In fact when I played over the game I had to sit there for a minute or two before it dawned on my why the player of the white pieces was resigning his game to Dionisio.

Enjoy! – Coach Sean.




As Sherlock Holmes might say “Elementary, my dear Dr Watson”

But as all chess players know – the devil of a combination is hidden in all of those chess board details!

See you Sunday – Coach Sean Tobin.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Reggio Emilia Round 6 = 80% decisive games!






4 out of 5 games were decisive today - all of them exceedingly interesting battles. Landa vs Vocaturo was one amazing battle - the pawns winning the game for Landa who had a Queen versus two Bishops and a Knight. Very interesting game!

Kamsky and Almasi have set a blistering pace - 3 wins and 3 draws for both of them. With their game against each other still looming on the horizon this event is still heating up! Caruana is playing very attacking chess and so is Bologan - especially Bologan! He is burning bridges either winning games or losing games, with not one draw in this event yet. He is a danger to anyone in this event and he still has a game against Kamsky to play as well - having lost to both Caruana and Almasi.

Quite an event!

The Italian contingent - Vocaturo, Brunello, Godena and Caruana are getting very good experience by playing in this event. I do have to point out that Caruana is now representing Italy having grown up here in the United States.

Stay tuned for more fighting chess from this extremely interesting Italian tournament.
- Coach Sean Tobin.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pictures from my old club - still going strong! PIONEER VALLEY CHESS CLUB in NORTHAMPTON MASSACHUSETTS!

Friendly faces at the local chess club!

DAVID HALL has a think.

David Hall (White Pieces) versus Paul Sarrazine.

Jolly Good Game Old Bean!

A gathering of chess friends - PVCC!

Photos from the most recent meeting of the PIONEER VALLEY CHESS CLUB which meets in Northampton Massachusetts at the local Burger King on King Street every Saturday from 6 PM till CLOSE or whenever the last person leaves for the night. Tonight David and I departed at Midnight! - Coach Sean.