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A Spring of Chess and Magic

by Daniel Todd, Scholastic Chess Instructor


In my role as a scholastic chess instructor for the Saint Louis Chess Club, I have the pleasure of working at a variety of chess related activities throughout the Saint Louis area. One such event was the Mind Sport Mashup at Saint Louis University, where robotics were center stage. The Chess Club booth was a great attraction with a Chess Master playing in a simul with participants, while other players engaged in chess on a grand scale! A photographer and I watched 6 moves pass before one student saw her Knight’s 3-way fork of a King, Queen, and Rook. We both let out huge exhales! This is a great example of why I teach my students this lesson: After each move your opponent makes, you need to step back and look at the whole board, before making your move. There might be a new opportunity in the position.



The Ferguson Florissant STEAM Event was also a great success. We had many visitors at both our booth and the giant chess set area. They seemed thrilled to see us. I met old friends and even the principal from one of the schools I had taught chess at last fall. She said emphatically that she wants chess classes from the Chess Club again for the next school year! Many were delighted to hear about our Ladies’ Knight class and were thrilled to hear of the many events we have planned. We barely had enough flyers and brochures for all of those interested.



One of the schools I taught at this spring was Buder Elementary School. On their final 2 days, they had “Fun Days.” Many of my students came over to play chess on my “small” lawn set. Chess had plenty of attention even with all the other activities going on at the event.


Along with teaching this spring, I taught and signed numerus Boy Scout Chess Merit Badges, as well as worked several chess tournaments, filled with hundreds of students playing for trophies as teams and as individuals.


The Chess Club also provides free chess instruction every Wednesday at Children’s Hospital “Game Nights.” I have been teaching and playing chess with patients and their families for the past year. When they are finished with activities offered at the event, I perform magic for them. This exposure even lead to my performing and teaching magic on their Live TV on May 25. Yes, I have been performing magic for over 50 years and love sharing smiles! I am grateful to the Club for allowing me to share my chess magic with even more people throughout the city.