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Camp Format

Castle Chess Camp divides campers by USCF rating into gorups of 12 students each. Each group has its own Counselor as well as a Primary Instructor (a.k.a. Homeroom Instructor).

Castle Chess Camp begins on Sunday afternoon, with a brief orientation meeting for campers and parents.  The staff is introduced and polices and procedures are explained.

After orientation, campers break for dinner.  After dinner, the groups meet with their Primary Instructor to play a simul.  This is a very important time, as it allows the Primary Instructors to get to know the students in the group and evaluate their play.  It also serves as a way for us to identify campers that may need to be moved to a different group in order to get the maximum benefit out of camp.

A typical schedule from Monday through Friday:

  • 8:00 Breakfast
  • 8:30 Castle Challenge: a 5-round Swiss G/45 "practice" (unrated) tournament.  One round is played each of the five days of camp. After completion of each game, both players analyze the game together with an Instructor.
  • 11:00- 12:00 Classroom sessions with Primary Instructors.
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 1:00-2:30 Classroom sessions - instructors rotate to different groups.
  • 2:30-4:00 Recreation time- campers choose from a variety of activities including swimming, ping pong, soccer, four square, ultimate frisbee, capture the flag, kickball, basketball, and more.
  • 4:00- 5:30 Classroom sessions - instructors rotate to different groups.
  • 6:00 Dinner
  • 7:00-9:00 Optional Evening fun activites, including a bughouse tournament, a blitz tournament, and more.

All campers receive a camp binder and a lanyard with an ID badge at the start of camp.  Campers are required to wear their lanyard at all times.  They must bring a standard tournament chess set, a chess clock, and writing instruments with them to camp, and carry them at all times.

On Friday afternoon, all campers will receive a written evaluation from their Primary Instructor which will include recommendations for further study. Immediately following evaluations at 4:00 on Friday is a brief camp Awards Ceremony. Awards are presented to the Castle Challenge Section winners, campers who beat or drew with instructors during one of the simuls, and evening activity winners. In addition, each group has one camper given a "Top Camper" award, as chosen by the homeroom instructor and the counselor. "Top Campers" are chosen for their exceptional sportsmanship, enthusiastic participation, and strong chess ability.

Saturday and Sunday are reserved for the Castle GRAND PRIX, a five-round USCF-rated tournament for campers, instructors, counselors, as well as other players not associated with camp. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: we reserve the right to make minor schedule tweaks we think might benefit our campers and staff. We promise that instructional time is our top priority when considering all aspects of the schedule. Schedule changes will be clarified at Orientation and/or in the Daily Morning Announcements.