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During the spring school vacation students in north Texas will have a unique opportunity to combine their interests in math and chess.  March 16-20, Dr. Titu Andreescu will join efforts with International Chess Master Marco Zivanic to create a unique and intense program at the QD Academy in Plano, TX (corner of Legacy and Coit).

This program has two parts:  math and chess.  Students can choose one of the two or both.

knightThe mathematics segment is designed for students who like to engage in meaningful problem solving activities.   It is intended for students who have a particular interest in math competitions as well as for those who wish to explore higher level mathematics well beyond the regular school curriculum.

The mathematics component will be structured as follows:  intermediate (3rd to 5th grade) and advanced (6th to 9th grade).

The advanced level will be offered in the morning and the intermediate level in the afternoon.

The chess program focuses on developing competitive chess skills.  It will strengthen your understanding of the opening, middle and end game.   Classes will be organized according to students’ ability, experience and instructor’s assessment.

All students are invited to our AwesomeChess tournament on Thursday, March 19th.  It will be a USCF rated three-round tourney starting at 6 PM.  The entrance fee for non-participating camp students is $20.

The cost of the Math and Chess Spring Program is $320 for one session (chess or math) or $575 for both.  This includes snacks for AM and PM sessions as well as lunch for students attending both sessions, medals, certificates of participation and tournament entrance fee.

For more information and sign up forms please come to the next Metroplex Math Circle or contact Dr. Andreescu directly at titu@awesomemath.org.

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ChessFest Making Some New Moves This Year

Expanded Schedule Includes Seminar and Supersize ‘Grande’ Demos

Feb. 5, 2009

This year’s expanded ChessFest schedule includes the debut of a Chess and Education seminar as well as “Chess Grande” demonstrations of games and moves using a supersized board and pieces.

The festival, which will also feature a lecture and presentation of the annual Chess Educator of the Year Award, is Feb. 24 and 25 on the UT Dallas campus.

ChessFest was created seven years ago by the university’s McDermott Library and the UT Dallas Chess Program.

See the UTD website for more information.

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Here is an outline of Dr. Alexey Root’s talk 1/31/09 at the Metroplex Math Circle. Please note that we will accept answers for number 6 (the mobility calculation for the King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, and Knight) in the comment section below since Dr. Root did not have a chance to go over the answer to that problem.

1. Dr. Root began with the Knight’s Tour, based on her knight’s tour lesson plan on pages 62-63 of Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators. She was very impressed that Jeffrey Garrity, a math major from the University of Dallas (Irving, Texas) solved it on his first try.

2. Dr. Root had those who played tournament chess and those who knew en passant stand in the front of the room. Those who didn’t have that chess experience stayed seated. Volunteers counted the number of people in each part of the room which lead into a practical math problem of how to group those in attendance so that each group would have one tournament (or en passant-knowledgeable) player.

3. Everyone sat back down in their new groups, as indicated in 2. above.

4. Dr. Root gave an introduction to the role of domination in graph theory and in chess (quoted from her Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving, pages 37-38 )

science-math-checkmate5. Dr. Root taught two chess/math activities. These are domination activities from Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving (SMC):

A. Covering the Board: Rooks (pp. 38-42)
B. Covering the Board: Kings (pp. 42-45)

BREAK TIME.

6. Dr. Root began the Mobility Lesson from pages 79-80 of her Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators. Mobility also has to do with the concept of dominance (coverage of squares). Students calculated the mobility of each piece from the corner and from the center. For example, a queen on an outside edge square can move to 21 squares, but if she is on a central square she can move to 27 squares. What is her average mobility? What is a rook’s average mobility? And so forth for each piece. The pawn is tricky because it moves one way and captures a different way, so you don’t have to calculate the pawn’s mobility unless you want to. Then figure out how this mobility relates to the traditional values listed for the chessmen: P(pawn)=1, N (knight)=3, B (bishop)=3, R(rook)=5, Q(queen)=9, K(king)=infinite but actually around 3.5-4. The answers to this mobility lesson were still being calculated at 4:10 p.m., when the Metroplex Math Circle wrapped up for the day.  Please post your answers in the comments section below.

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alexey-rootMetroplex Math Circle Announces Dr. Alexey Root’s Lecture on Chess and Mathematics

Dallas, TX, January 31, 2009. Dr. Alexey Root will present on chess applications of graph theory to secondary math education. She will highlight the concepts of domination and independence and show how they can be illustrated through chess problems. “The concept of domination is one of the central ideas in graph theory, and is especially important in the application of graph theory to the real world” according to Watkins in Across the Board: The mathematics of chessboard problems. Dr. Root’s lecture will be held on January 31st at 2:00 PM in room 2.410 of the Engineering and Computer Sciences Building (South), at the University of Texas at Dallas.

children-and-chessDr. Alexey Root has a Ph.D. in education from UCLA. Root has been a tournament chess player since she was nine years old. Her most notable chess accomplishment was winning the U.S. Women’s championship in 1989. She also holds the title of Women’s International Master. Since the fall of 1999, Root has been a senior lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). science-math-checkmate

From 1999-2003 Dr. Root was the Associate Director for the UTD Chess Program, the number one college chess team in the U.S. Root’s current assignment for UTD is to teach education courses that explore the uses of chess in classrooms. Her courses are available worldwide, via the UT TeleCampus online platform. Her books are Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators (2006), Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving (2008), and Read, Write, Checkmate: Enrich Literary with Chess Activities (2009).

read-write-checkmateIn Dr. Alexey Root’s presentation, participants will try two domination activities from her books: Mobility (Children and chess: A guide for educators) and Covering the Board: Kings (Science, math, checkmate: 32 chess activities for inquiry and problem solving). Participants will also solve the eight-queens problem (Science, math, checkmate: 32 chess activities for inquiry and problem solving). The eight-queens problem highlights the concept of independence.

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