Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Teaching chess - Berkeley Chess School, 2011-2018

My involvement with Berkeley chess school spans wide range of activities - teaching after school enrichment chess program at the local elementary schools, coaching special Friday night training program, training Berkeley Bishop Sunday girls program, teaching summer camp at the master class, and performing other activities such as simultaneous exhibitions, guest lecturer and coach at the local, state and national scholastic tournaments. 

Game analysis room, Girls State Championship training, 2016

One of my favorite coaching session is teaching summer camps. it is usually a week long all day training. Although it sounds intense, I believe tournament players can really benefit from this kind of intense training.
A screenshot is from Berkeley Chess School Social Media page, 2016

A week later my student from summer camp drew against GM Sam Shankland in simul exhibition, 2016

Play time, Advanced girls class, 2016
Lecture time, Sunday Morning class, 2016

Master Girls Class, 2017

Berkeley Bishops traveled to Fremont for the match between Berkeley and Weibel chess, 2017
More info on Berkeley Chess School: visit

Monday, October 28, 2019

Teaching chess - Ger Youth Center, 2012-2017

In Fall 2012, I got a call from Eska, the founder of Bi Mongol School/Ger Youth Center, proposing an idea of opening up a chess club at the Ger Youth Center. Although I didn't have much experience of teaching chess at that time, saying yes was one of the best decisions I've made.
Celebrating a successful fall semester, 2012
I started off with less than ten students in 2012. After two years, my enrollment skyrocketed over fifty.  While I was thrilled with rapid expansion of my program, my goal was to create competitive chess club in the state and nationwide. Over the years, I carefully developed my own curriculum and assignments, as well as organized and directed many our own scholastic tournaments.

First Ger Youth Center Scholastic Chess Tournament, 2013
Tournament Director, coach Doyle and Enkhjin, 2013 First Ger Youth Center Quad
Our Star Student Enkhjin Gomboluudev broke USCF 1100 at 2013 Ger Youth Center Quad. Couple years later she became one of the top girls in your her age in the country.

Every new beginning of school year, we have parents  and coaches meeting to plan ahead our goals and expectations. I was pleased to see another great number of enrollment and commitments.

Fall 2014, Coach Uyanga, getting ready start a new school year!

Advanced class, 2014
Beginner class, 2015

Beginner class, 2015
Lecture time!
During lecture, students are expected to give their all focus and attention. Intermediate -1 class, 2015
Every semester, based on students performance - attendance, answering questions during lecture, homework and tournament results - I reward the best student of the year.
Star Student, Advanced class 2015
Star Student, Intermediate - 2 class, 2015

Soon, I started accepting 4-year-olds in my program. Usually, 4 is little too young to start playing chess, but it's the best age to start. As a coach, there's nothing more rewarding to see your 4-year-old student checkmates her opponent.

Our Kindergarden team receiving  an award at the CA state championship, Photo by Dr. Kirshner

As a part of Ger Youth Center, I also volunteer events at the school to support our community. Over the last 6 years, running the chess club wasn't the only fun, It was the community that welcomed me and helped me grow tremendously personally and professionally.

Ger Youth Center, Mongolian Treasure, 2015
Mongolian Pride, Bi Mongol School/Ger Youth Center
Mongolian Pride fundraising event, Bi Mongol School/Ger Youth Center
For the recognition of the contribution for children's development, I was awarded "Success Bronze Medal" from Mongolian Youth Federation.  I was thrilled to be recognized for my hard work and dedication towards educating children. I'm very grateful for the nomination by Ger Youth Center community for this award. This achievement provided more encouragement to further expand my program.

Receiving an award from Mongolian Youth Federation through Consulate General of Mongolia

In 2016, I focused more on organizing and directing our own tournaments and training my students at the state and national championships.
Ger Youth Center, Winter Quad 2016
Tournament Director, Coach Uyanga, Ger Youth Center, Winter Quad 2016

Ger Youth Center, Winter Quad 2016
Ger Youth Center, Winter Quad 2016, Photo by Ganchimeg
Ger Youth Center, Winter Quad 2016, Photo by Ganchimeg
Ger Youth Center, Winter Quad 2016, Photo by Ganchimeg

Ger Youth Center, Spring Swiss 2016
Ger Youth Center, Spring Swiss 2016

In 2017, I was attending UC Berkeley full-time. However, I still managed to continue teaching quite a bit. Despite the full course load at Cal, I insisted giving up on my program, which I built from the scratch.
Fall 2017

Intermediate - 2 class in action, tournament game
Student's homework

One of the most unforgettable moments was that my students used to bug me for giving them more homework. They loved doing puzzles. it used to take me about three hours to just correct all their homework and give them their earned points.
Intermediate - 1 class, 2017
Another rewarding aspect of teaching at Ger Youth Center was that the participation for girls were incredible in my program. This is not girls' class (picture above). This is just my regular class, just happens to have all girls. As a female chess player, I'm keen to promote chess among girls. I was flattered to see in my whole program almost majority of my students were girls.

At the end of the each semester, I love giving out gifts. Whoever has the most points earned during the semester gets to pick first.  It's a fun way to end the semester and to celebrate all the hard work.

End of semester awards

Intermediate - 1 class excited for the award ceremony

The trophy is awarded for the tournament winner!

Beginner class received their awards

Intermediate class
Advanced class
2017 was unfortunately the end of my journey with Ger Youth Center.  Before I leave the Bay Area community in 2018, I was invited to give a talk at the "Mongolian Pride - 5" annual fundraising event. It was my honor to be up there on the stage as I shared my thought and experiences over the last 6 years. Looking back, Ger Youth Center was like a family. I'll miss my dear fellow teachers, coworkers, staff, parents and my loving students.

November 2018, Mongolian Pride -5, Ger Youth Center
with Eska, the President of Bi Mongol School, November 2018, Mongolian Pride -5, Ger Youth Center
November 2018, Mongolian Pride -5, Ger Youth Center

Friday, October 25, 2019

Teaching chess - Weibel Chess, 2011-2015

Coach Uyanga, CalChess State Championship 2015, Game analysis room, Photo by Dr. Kirshner
 In 2011, I first join the Weibel Chess team as an instructor. Alan Kirshner, the founder of the chess club, built an incredible competitive chess program in the country. It was my privilege to train their advanced class and special girls team for the state and national championships. As much as I loved lecturing, my favorite part of the training was providing a deep game analysis with the students. In addition to going over their game with the coach, students must write their own analysis with their own words. See below my advice on how to annotate your game!

CalChess Grade Level, December 2015, Game analysis room
CalChess Grade Level, December 2015, Game analysis room

CalChess Grade Level, December 2015, Game analysis room
CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level Championhip, Febraury 2015

National Chess Day, 2012, Weibel Fall Quad, Playing Blitz with the students!

In 2015, We traveled to Chicago for all-girls national championship. Not only I was there to support my students, I was also offered to give a talk at the opening ceremony in front of an audience full of young talented girls.  It was amazing to share a little bit of my own story - how I started to play chess - and encourage girls to pursue this wonderful game.
Check out the link for the us chess article :
All-Girls Nationals, April 2015, Chicago

All-Girls Nationals, April 2015, Chicago

All-Girls Nationals, April 2015, Chicago
 For the third year the Weibel Team won the Under 12 Team All-Girls Nationals and Under 8 group took second. Weibel girls absolutely rock!

NM Uyanga Byambaa's on Annotation

Analyzing your own game is the most important aspect to improve. The purpose of the analysis is not only finding your mistakes (of course this is very important), but to improve your thinking process. Going to the next level definitely requires better thinking process.
The thinking process includes these main concepts:

• Why you’re doing what you’re doing?
• What did you think about your position during the game? Are you winning, equal or losing?
• Why did you make this decision?
• Did you constantly double check you moves before you moved? Did you figure out what your opponent trying to do before you moved? if there were any checks or captures, did you seriously consider all your options?
• Did your opponent’s move surprise you? Was it expected?
• Did you recognize the critical moment of the game?
• Did you calculate certain variations? How far did you see?
• What were you thinking during the game?
• Did you have a plan? What was it?
Your analysis should include answering these questions.
Note that these concepts are not just your moves, it also related to you opponents moves. That means you should make a comment on one or two of your opponents moves in your analysis. 
I often see comments like: “pawn to center”, “minor piece development”, “rook to the center”, “king running away from check” and etc, these are not a part of your thinking process. These are just a label of your move.  At the level of most of the Weibel players, these kinds of comments are very obvious and, therefore, there is no need state.
You don’t really have to do the opening moves or obvious recaptures.  Instead of saying “king running away from check”, you should say “since king in check, running away is my only choice or best options. I have these possibilities  blah blah blah. I don't want to go there because blah blah. I thought going this square is the best option because blah blah.

When you analyze your own game, you should first do it on your own with chess sets in front of you to write down your thinking process. Next, put it in your chess engine. Computers will only help pointing out your blunders and tactical mistakes or suggest good moves; however, it doesn't help your thinking process.

There are some good examples of analysis in the following link. You should check it out. See game:
Graham Grindland (2030) - Uyanga Byambaa (2171) [E99] Sacramento Chess Championship (4), 05.07.2014 See game:  SAMIR ALAZAWI (2003) - UYANGA BYAMBAA (2075)
Another very effective thing you can do in your analysis is to make a conclusion. I make my students do this and I witness tremendous improvement in their games.
Point out 3 main mistakes in your game. Answer these questions.
Why did I make that mistake?
What could I have done better instead?
How do I fix it?
Finally, sum up your analysis: What did you learn from the game? Write it down. It could be anything. For example:
I learned that the most natural moves are not always the best.
Instead of recapturing automatically, there might be an in between move I’m missing.
Sometimes double pawns are fine because they make my pieces more active in the open lines and diagonals.
In time pressure, moving too fast is not a good idea.
In Sicilian dragon, castling opposite side gives me good chance to manage a strong attack and etc.

Of course, it’s a lot of work. GM Jesse Kraai told me once, that he spends months to going over just one game. He’d write 10-15 pages of analysis. I was highly impressed and motivated at the same time. He has an incredible work ethic!   However for me, it takes one or two days, sometimes just few hours. I recommend  for our Varsity Team players that they spend at least an hour to working on their own game. 

Just take it slow. You don’t have to do all this once, it will take some time. Make sure to put more details in your analysis on the critical moments of the game including certain variations you see during the game.

 Here's Weibel Chess's official website :

Having dinner with bunch of amazing chess coaches and advocates!