Friday, March 21, 2008

IM Blas Lugo Visits Shenandoah

IM Blas Lugo visited Shenandoah Middle School on Thursday March 20 as part of the Chess Education Program's "Master Tour" of chess elective classes. Lugo who runs Miami International Chess Academy ( )has been a fixture on the Florida chess scene since 1994. His chess club has produced a who's who list of chess champions from Miami. Some of the best players in Florida play at his club. He recently added an after school program for neighboring schools. Children get help with homework and study/play chess. There is financial aid available for those who qualify. He will also offer a spring break camp as well as a summer camp. The club also hosts tournaments including Sundays and scholastic tournaments at Rockwood Middle.
IM Lugo's lesson featured attacking squares F2 & F7. He demonstrated various common positions in which the queen is sacrificed for checkmate or won material. He explained how difficult it is for scholastic players to conceive sacrificing the most powerful piece on the board. Development of the knights and bishop were critical in these combinations. The most important part of the lesson was demonstrating the attacks thus making the students realize the potential for an advantage and initiative by giving up the Queen. When they see the position again they will analyze more closely.
He also analyzed a game he won against current US Champion Alexander Shabalov in 1996 in Philadelphia in which similar positions were reinforced. One thing he said to me that stuck was that sometimes people have unrealistic expectations about chess lessons. There is no magic wand or class that turns you into an expert. These titled players have spent a significant amount of time to achieve their expertise. It is a constant effort for a long period of time.

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