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Chess Basics 
.pdf files

This is the revised first section of the C&O Student Chess Journal. It now includes "Board Geography," "The Moves of the Chessmen," how to read and write "Chess Notation," "Basic Checkmates," and other essential information.   (34 pp.)

Pawn & Piece Free Tutorials

General Instructions
& Pawn Tutors


Do this first. (10 pages)

Rook Tutors (1-4)
(8 pages)

Bishop & Queen

(4 pages)

Knight Tutors &
Knight & Bishop

(4 pages)



(Basic Rules, etc.)

This is our C&O
practice web site.
Basic rules, piece
names and moves,
as well as other
basics for new, or
novice, players are
covered on this free,
inter-active site from




C&O Family Chess Center
217 West Diamond Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-2106
Phone 301-963-9122

B. Ross Pancoast, Director
Pancoast, Senior Coach  

 On the Internet by Zoom and on
(Updated 12/16/20)

Mattie Stepanek & Ben Miller in class at Lakeforest Mall, July 2003                                                                                           C&O-FCC     

FREE "Beginner" Downloads: 
Parents and new players are encouraged to print out our .pdf download "Chess Basics for New Players," as well as the various .pdf "tutorials" (found in the left margins).  Players may register for private instructiom at the Chess Center, or by Zoom class (see below), once they know the basic rules and how the chessmen (pawns & pieces) move.  "Center-Members" are provided with a free account on, our official online practice site. The Saturday Morning Chess Club (below) has been suspended indefinitely, due to the shutdown.   

New Player Evaluation & Introductory Lesson:
Now by Zoom meeting or at the Chess Center (
by appointment only). 

(Schedule in advance by (C.c) "message" (after registration), or by Email:  Free with C&O Online Membership or Online Class Registration, others $20   

Private Online Instruction 
(Until further notice, on Zoom, by appointment only)

Click here to schedule a private lesson


Single students, children & adults:

     Monday thru Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

     60 minute session $35

Contact CoachOmar on with questions.


Private 'New-Player' Instruction:
     Learning the basic rules and moves may be done for 'free' on-line (on various websites) and from our C&O 'downloads. Parents who wish to teach very young children are encouraged to use our 'free' resources. Therefore we don't usually recommend private instruction for new beginners. 

     However, if you really want individual instruction for new players, regular rates apply. New players under the age of six 'must' be acompanied by an adult (supervised when on Zoom). However, parents who wish to teach their own children may take individual lessons for themselves to aid in this.

                  The Website
                      (C&O inter-active on-line lessons)

The C&O Family Chess Center currently has a number of member and student groups available on (C.c) at no extra charge if you are enrolled in one of our "C&O Programs" or are a "Center Member" (Online-Membership Application). We receive no money from, but a C.c account is required if students are taking lessons or classes with us.  While it is not necessary to register through the Center there are several benefits to following our registration guidelines (especially if you are enrolled in one of our programs).   Students enrolled in our programs have access to a wide variety of lessons and other activities (which supplement our available online materials and instruction) including 24/7 unlimited play against our students and other C.c members, computers (at different strengths), and our own coaches.  Our coaches, in turn, will have access to students' C.c games and ratings, and can direct them to specific exercises and areas of study if requested.  Students are encouraged to practice three, or more, times a week for an hour or more (younger students for shorter periods). We offer frequent C&O student tournament competitions on C.c, in addition to the regular C.c tournaments. Progress in various ratings is easily monitored and may eventually translate into USCF and/or international ratings.   



Saturday Morning Chess Club (SMCC) SUSPENDED 
9:00 - 10:45 a.m. at Lakeforest Mall - Suspended due to shut-down.
      Drop-In: Members $15  Non-Members $20/evaluation & class session  
       10 Class Pass (no time limit): Individual $100     Family: $170
        15 Class Pass (no time limit): Individual $140     Family: $230 
        20 Class Pass (no time limit): Individual $180     Family: $290

The club will NOT meet on a few Saturdays, including major holiday weekends such as New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Saturday Morning Chess Club (SMCC) is held at Lakeforest Mall (LFM), in Gaithersburg.  SMCC is open to Center members, both children and adults (Membership Application).  Due to popular request memberships are offered in 10-, 15-, and 20-session groups (registration form) with no time limit on attendance. 
Students should supply their own equipment but a few "loaner sets" are usually available. Each of these 'group sessions' may include individual mentoring as well as the group practice and review of recorded or internet games. This depends on each student's practice record and the availability of their recorded games from class or (C.c). Individual mentoring is tailored to each student's level of experience from beginners through experienced tournament players, and may be provided by staff or student CITs. An individual program includes everything from basic concepts and tactics through analysis, computer use, and tournament strategy.

The SMCC is not intended to replace 'private lessons'. Check with the coach to determine if 'private instruction would be beneficial for your student (most beginners do not require it).  Regular 'outside practice' is expected two or three times a week (more is even better) and so free membership on (C.c, our online "club practice site") is included for all C&O members. We also maintain a "club presence" for all C&O Family Chess Center programs, members, and former members on  Students are encouraged to create a "Chess Journal" (a loose-leaf binder in which to keep printed lesson notes, game records and other instructional materials).  
For maximum benefit, parents should plan for children to spend an hour, or more, on practice two or three (or more) times each week in addition to the weekly sessions.  This may include practice with a computer program, with siblings, friends, or parents, and should include playing online at (C.c), where our staff may monitor their games. Parental encouragement and supervision in setting up a 'regular' practice schedule is essential to meaningful student progress.  Parents need not stay in the food court during the class but are welcome to do so.  Parents are requested not to remain directly in the chess area during the class unless as a student or volunteering as a club aide under club guidelines, and should return for students by 10:45 a.m. The coach must often leave by 11:00 a.m. for private lessons. Some students may remain to play in the regular Lakeforest Mall club, but our coaches, staff, and/or mall employees are not respolsible for students who remain after the SMCC is over.


Registration in SMCC includes at least ten classes.  Longer registrations are available with greater discounts. Students  are also welcome to remain at the mall after SMCC, for practice and play during the regular LFM chess club, if they wish.  The regular LFM club members meet even when there is no SMCC.  Unlimited free-play is available until the mall closes, seven-days-a-week. We suggest you bring your own set and board. The mall management has provided chess tables as of late 2013.