The ChessNuts Chess Club

The ChessNuts Chess Club Logo

Basic Information

Address: 773 15th Avenue E West Fargo, ND 58078
Phone Number: 701-306-9231

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Additional Information

Focus: Chess Improvement / Education
Director: Brian Thompson
Schools Served: Fargo North High School
School District: Fargo Public Schools
County: Cass
Schedule: Monday after school, Friday night public chess club
Ages: all
Capacity: 40
Membership/Pricing: FREE

Chess instruction by a Class A tournament chess player. Group lessons with some individual mentoring.


There are many benefits to playing chess, making it much more than an idle pastime. Chess players do better in school, learn the value of logical thought, and understand more clearly the link between one's choices and their consequences. I coach a local high school team, and from the beginning to the end of each school year see measureable personal growth in every student that takes an interest in learning and studying chess.

Program Highlights:

Students who fulfill the criteria of this program may earn a school "letter" in chess.

Support Services:

The ChessNuts Chess Club web site ( features a Classroom for Chess Improvement course, allowing students to participate in the learning process without attending the club meetings.

Program Information:

Many players and/or coaches have asked me questions like, "What chess books should I read?" or "How should I study chess to get better?" My recommendations are based on what has helped me learn new concepts, understand more of what happens in chess, and enjoy the game through a deeper appreciation of it's complexities. The material in my Classroom project is designed to help players of all levels from the beginner to the Class A tournament player reach the level of chess Expert (USCF 2000).

I have organized the learning material for players of different skill levels. Within each level I have specific recommendations for Books, Tools, and Projects that I think will help the aspiring player get to the next level. I don't presume to be an expert on any of this material. I am still learning and improving the way I play too, and can only direct other students to those resources that have made the journey more rewarding and enjoyable for me.

What do I look for when choosing chess books and tools? Quality and Clarity. Quality in chess means ideas that have stood the test of time, or have passed the acid test of Master level play. Clarity in chess means material that is presented in a way that is easy to understand and remember. Good ideas that I can use. Ideas are the weapons of chess, and the more weapons you carry, the more battles you'll win.

It is my belief that in order to learn new material (chess or otherwise), the student must be prepared to divide his or her time into three disciplines: Study, Practice, and Review. For the study phase I have selected books by the very best chess teachers and players. The tools that I recommend for study are designed to present new materials in a repetitive manner. This repetition is crucial to retaining the material on a long term basis. For the practice phase, the student should find a way to play against human opponents on a regular basis (via the internet, at a club, or with friends) with the goal of putting the studied material to use. Don't worry about wins and losses while you are training! Your goal is to learn, and some of the most memorable lessons I've had were due to losing games (and understanding why). Understanding why you are losing games is the focus of the review phase of your training. A chess coach or mentor is recommended for pointing out how you can improve, but then after this review, the student must devote himself to another round of study and practice in order to make the suggested improvement.

In the later stages of this chess development program, the student is assigned the task of helping new players by becoming a mentor. In this way, each player is given some responsibility for helping to develop a robust and cooperative chess community. With more players and greater chess activity comes better competition and opportunity for personal growth for all involved in the program.

Learning how the pieces move is easy, and can be done quickly. Learning to play chess well is complex, and is likely a project you'll never consider done. But, your efforts will be rewarded with many discoveries about your own capabilities, friendships you'll develop with others who share your interest, and the satisfaction of helping new players discover the beauty of the game. You too can be a ChessNut.