Summer Mini-Camps 2023

Our very popular summer mini-camps return for 2023!

King’s Grant Presbyterian Church

745 Little Neck Road

Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Three sessions available — attend one, two, or all!

June 23-24

July 28-29

August 18-19

Each mini-camp runs Friday and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM.  Each camp consists of 12 total hours of instruction and supervised practice, and a 30-minute daily lunch break.  There will be beginner, intermediate, and advanced offerings each weekend.  There will be no weeknight classes offered over the summer, so don’t miss these amazing camps!

Cost:  Beginner and Intermediate camps are $150.  Advanced camp is $175.  Take $25 off each additional camp if attending more than one.  Sibling discount of $25 off each camp for second and subsequent children (not to be combined with additional camp discount).  Monthly payments available.  Needs-based scholarships available — the deadline to apply is 2 weeks prior to each camp.

Beginner Camp

Students will establish a firm foundation in the game of chess, including the following material:  Chess terminology, board orientation and setup, piece movements including castling and en passant, check / checkmate / stalemate concepts, opening principles, basic checkmate patterns, basic calculations, defense, intro to tactics, and chess notation.  This camp is suitable for all ages and designed for players usually with some starting knowledge of piece movement (not required) but with no formal training in the other topics covered.  Coaches are specialists in teaching beginners (Coach Mike et al).  Campers may attend one beginner camp, and if recommended by the coach, move on to intermediate camp in subsequent sessions.  Some younger campers may choose to repeat beginner camp in subsequent sessions for reinforcement.  Choose from June 23-24, July 28-29, or August 18-19.  All camps are the same.

Intermediate Camp

For students of all ages who already possess a firm chess foundation as outlined in the beginner camp description.  Each session topic is unique, so campers can take intermediate camp more than once over the summer.  Our focus this summer is on Tactics! Tactics! Tactics! (Some say that’s 90% of winning chess games.)

The June 23-24 session covers “Tricky Tactics – the 7 Ds” — tactics covered include Deflection, Decoy, Discovered Attack, Double Attack, Desperado, Defense, and Double Check.  These are not beginner-level basic tactics!  Take your game to the next level!  Our very popular Coach Jack Bustillos will be the instructor.

The July 28-29 session continues the “Tricky Tactics” theme from June, though attendance in June is not a prerequisite and won’t hinder a camper’s ability to benefit from this session. This session will dive into essential tactics that will help you win games:  forks, pins, skewers, remove the defender, interference, trapped pieces, Zugzwang, promotion, intermediate moves (Zwischenzug), and clearance sacrifice.

The August 18-19 session is a culmination of the summer focus on tactics and is a workbook study using the book 303 Tricky Chess Tactics.  Students (preferably with other prior tactics training) may take this session without having had the previous two sessions, though they would clearly benefit from having been introduced to the material they will practice at this camp.  Students must purchase the book from Amazon and bring it to class ($13).

303 Tricky Chess Tactics (1): Wilson, Fred, Alberston, Bruce: 9781580423489: Books


Advanced Camp  

Advanced camp is designed for students who are experienced tournament players with extensive formal training.  These sessions are taught by National Masters and are suitable for students of all ages rated between 1000-2000 (lower by exception).

The June 23-24 session topic is “Middlegame Madness.”  R Spielmann once said, “Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine.”  Explore the magic (or madness) of the middlegame with 2021 State High School Champion National Master Tyson Brady. 



The July 28-29 session topic is “Genius World Championship Contenders — the five greatest players to never be World Champion.” This camp is a fun study of the best games, tactics, and combinations of five of the best players to never become world champion. Combining history, tactics, crazy games, and fierce rivalries, we will look at Champion contenders and attempt to determine who was the greatest non-champ of all time since Steinitz won the title.  The instructor for this camp is six-time Virginia State Champion National Master Daniel Miller.


The August 18-19 session is an Advanced Endgame Lab with National Master Nemanja Milanovic.

The goal is to raise the student’s level of play in the endgame and help them achieve better results and rating gain over the board.