A range of campers participate in a camp simul

A range of campers participate in a camp simul



We have nearly 25 years of experience running major chess camps.

Currently we are involved with two week-long "national caliber" top-tier chess camps:

  • OleChess (2019: July 21- 26, 2019

  • Caveman Chess Camp - Chicago (2019: June 23-28) - followed by U.S. Junior Open and U.S. Senior Open


    2019 Caveman Chess Camp - Chicago

    Details coming.

    The information below is still with respect to the 2018 camp.  Updates coming soon

    Caveman Chess Camp provides a week of high-quality instruction and chess-related activities featuring some of the world’s premier players and teachers. We welcome chess players of all ages, abilities, and experience levels, to enjoy a week of classes, demonstrations, lectures, tournaments, and games, games, and more games with fellow chess enthusiasts.

    2018 Caveman Chess Camp Information:

    Special Team Discount

    Special Team Discounts! $150 off per player! We are offering a rebate to teams of three or more players registering for the camp.

    1. Register normally at www.reg4chess.com , each teammate may register separately.

    2. Email a list of three or more team members to kevin_bachler@cavemanchess.com, include documentation - for example, a team result from a tournament. (We are looking for "true teams.)

    3. We will electronically process a rebate of $150 to each player using their registration information

    4. There are no refunds for players who register as part of a team

    5. If you've already registered, no problem. Just have your teammates register and follow the procedure above!

    6. One discount per person, you will receive the largest available discount. (This includes commuter discounts.)

    Camp Options and Fees

    Caveman Chess Camp has five options that are a "camp-within-a-camp" -- providing each student with alternatives that best fit their needs.  Generally, there are multiple classes available within each class option. More information below, or register here: https://www.reg4chess.com/register.asp?tid=1185

    • Explorer $695

    For players of all ages and strengths. Campers are divided into classes of like ability and age. Campers nine years of age or younger must be accompanied by an adult escort (refer to the escort policy).

    • Intensive Study: $895. 
      • Each of the Intensive Study Options includes the evening lecture series 
      • Intensive Study students are combined into multiple similarly rated sections for the championship tournament, irrespective of their Intensive Study class.  Master Class students are separated, Fundamental Adult students are separated to the extent possible
      • Advanced Youth: Open to players under age 18 with 1500+ rating – for strong students.  The option includes greater classroom rigor and the evening lecture series after which students join evening camp activities including separate sections of the blitz and bughouse tournaments. There is no instructional difference between the highest Advanced Youth classes and the Advanced Adult class. Appropriately rated and mature Youth students may be placed into the Adult Class to ensure it is full, and overflow students in the Adult class may be placed in Advanced Youth.
      • Advanced Adult: Open to players age 18 and over, OR rating of 1700+. This option is intended for serious adult students and includes the evening lecture series and greater classroom rigor.  This session will admit serious, mature-acting youth students who meet the requirements and have camp director approval. To the extent possible, a goal of this class is to have a strong, adult, class.
      • Fundamental Adult: Only open to players age18 and over. For the novice to moderate strength adult interested in strengthening their chess knowledge for themselves or for the additional purpose of teaching others. This option includes takeaway materials, and for those interested in coaching, a letter of recommendation for the USCF Certified Chess Coach Program. Stronger players should consider Intensive Study-Advanced Adult.
    • Intensive Study – Master Class: $1,095
      Pleased to announce that 2017 U.S. Junior Open winner, FIDE Master and Life Master Alex Bian, rated 2400, will be attending the Master Class!

    For serious players (including mature-acting youth) rated over 2000. Includes the evening lecture series, instruction by GMs only, electronic ChessBase format class materials, and the tournament section will be limited to the strongest players only (allowances for camp size).

    The following free classes are available Sunday afternoon:

    • How to Be a Good Chess Parent: FREE
      Sunday Seminar 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
      A brief program discussing the important role of a chess parent, based on Kevin’s article that has been on the Internet. Key chess basics will be covered: how to select a chess coach, what books to study, what kind of tournaments to attend, and what kind of a chess player do I have?
    • Chess Basics Class: FREE
      Sunday Seminar 3:30 pm – 4:00 pm
      Sunday afternoon chess class covering the basics of chess moves and chess notation for anyone who needs a refresher in the topic
    • Escort Policy and Fee:  $295
      Participants nine years of age or younger may attend camp with an adult escort, and escorts may also attend with older students. There is a maximum of three campers per escort. The escort fee includes meals, housing in a shared room with the camper, and bowling night.

      Campers are housed two per room and may request a specific roommate. Roommates need to request each other on their registration form. Camp space is filled on a first-come basis and spots cannot be held for a late-registering roommate.

      Camp fee includes:
      Lodging, meals, and camp t-shirt.  Campers are housed in comfortable, secure students residence halls.  Bedding and bath towel are provided. Coaches and counselors live in the residence halls and provide 24-hour supervision.  North Central College employs a professional security staff that is on duty 24/7.

      Register Today: https://www.reg4chess.com/register.asp?tid=1185
      Register now with our secure online form youth, adult (18+) or complete a printable registration form on your computer and send it via mail or fax. Registrations are accepted until capacity has been reached.  When completing the online form please see options below.

      Exceptions for class requirements: Contact Kevin Bachler

      Refund Policy:
      Written cancellations (post, fax, or email) received four weeks prior to camp start date will receive a refund less the $100 non-refundable deposit fee. No refunds are given within four weeks of camp start date; substitutions are accepted.

      Late Fee Policy:
      Registration received prior to May 20 no late fee will be applied.
      Registration received between May 20 and June 1 a $50 late fee will be applied.
      Registration received after June 1 a $100 late fee will be applied.

      For more information:
      Contact Kevin Bachler, camp director, for questions about staff or instructional content.

    More Important Information

    Sunday Rated Blitz Tournament: $5
    Sunday, June 17 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
    Open to campers and their families during check-in.  Register on site.

    Evening Lecture Series:


    • Online by 6/15, 9:00 p.m.: $25, $10 for adults (US Chess unrated) who are escorting youth under age 18. Purchase all 4 lectures for $80 (adult escorts $25)
    • At the Site:  Add $5

    Adults (over age 17) who are not campers may also attend the Intensive Study evening lecture. Local youth under age 18 may attend the lecture if accompanied by an adult. There is a special fee for escort adults who are unrated or not US Chess members.

    Lectures last 1.25 hours and begin at 6:00 pm.  Local chessplayers wishing to attend should arrive at 5:45 pm. Lectures by camp GMs.  Lecture topics are below. No refunds on advance registration.  Lectures are currently scheduled for the classroom in Ward Hall, but will be relocated and announced here if the number of registrants requires.

    • 2018 Topics:
      • Monday: GM Yury Shulman, Steed versus Creed: When Knights are Better Than Bishops – the Power of the Knight Pair

      • Tuesday: GM Alex Yermolinsky, Misplacing Your Queen in the Early Middlegame

      • Wednesday: GM Alex Goldin, Typical Mistakes in Rook Endings

      • Thursday: GM Gregory Kaidanov, World's Best Young Grandmasters

    • All classes begin at 6:00 p.m. and end by 7:15 p.m. 
    • Register at www.reg4chess.com, Illinois, Caveman Chess Camp - Chicago, Lectures

    Each year, Kevin Bachler, Camp Director, FIDE Master, FIDE Trainer, US Chess Life Master, US Chess Professional Chess Coach – brings the best available instructors to Caveman Chess Camp.

    2018 Instructors include: Grandmasters Gregory Kaidanov, Alex Yermolinsky, Yury Shulman, Alexander Goldin, Dmitry Gurevich, WGM Camilla Baginskaite, FM/FT Kevin Bachler. Every camper will have an opportunity for GM instruction.

    Camp Schedule

    Camp opens Sunday afternoon with check-in between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm, followed by an orientation meeting, dinner, and an exhibition pitting participants against their class instructor. Monday morning begins with the first round of a week-long tournament. Following each round, players analyze the game with their instructors and then have the first of three daily class sessions with their base or rotating teacher. (A partially rotating instructional schedule allows participants to study with a variety of teachers.) Afternoon class sessions are followed by dinner in Kaufman Hall and special activities. Camp closing ceremonies start at 11:00 am Friday with trophies awarded to winners in all competitions. Family and friends are invited to attend. Special activities such as movie, and recreational opportunities, including soccer, frisbee, or basketball, keep things active and interesting.

    Kaufman Dining Hall (https://www.northcentralcollege.edu/multimedia/2016/08/11/kaufman-dining-hall)

    Healthy options include a salad bar, grilled meats and veggies, hot entrees, cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, a deli station, soup, and dessert.  There are plenty of options for vegetarians, gluten-free, and other needs. If you have a specific food allergy, please email us to connect your camper with the kitchen.

    Transportation, Additional Housing, & Non-Residential Option

    Commuter Tuition: -$75
    Campers commuting deduct $75 from the fees. Commuter tuition includes lunch, dinner, instructional sessions, special activities, and camp shirt.


    Additional Housing Option
    Single Occupancy: $90
    A limited number of single-occupancy rooms are available to adult campers only.

    Youth campers are housed two to a room in an air conditioned comfortable, secure residence hall.
    Adult campers are housed in an air-conditioned residence hall and have the option of single occupant rooms.
    Families (camper and their escort) are housed in double occupancy rooms in an air condition residence hall.

    Lost key: If your camper loses their key, the fee is $100 per key core unit replaced.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How many youth attend?
    Based on our past camps, we anticipate 75-100 youth.  Most adult campers attend one of the Intensive Study sections. As we add campers we add instructors, intending to maintain a ratio of 8-12 campers per instructor — with the occasional class creeping up to 14 in order to fit classes by age and rating.  Classes must have at least 6 students to be a “go”, and special arrangements are made in the event of classes of fewer than 6 participants.

    What is the predominant range of ages of the campers?
    Ages typically range from 7-year-old campers to 50-year-olds-plus; the widest range we have had was from age 6 to age 80.  The majority of participants are ages 10–17, and the largest group ages 11–14.  Adults generally select one of the two adult-oriented Intensive Study sections, although some adults select the general camp, particularly if they wish to attend with their children. Typically there are over a dozen adult campers at the camp.

    What is the predominant range of ratings of the campers?
    Ratings range from Beginner to 2300+. The majority of our young campers’ ratings range from unrated/600 to 1200, with the next largest group 1200–1600.  There is a strong contingent from 1800 – 2200+. Adult campers generally break into two groups – one of 1000-1400, and the second of 1600 – 2200.

    How can I view my child’s chess ratings?
    Go to the US Chess Federation at www.uschess.org, select “Ratings” then “Player/Ratings Look Up” and enter your child’s name or ID.

    Will participants be allowed to travel around campus alone? 
    Campers are informed to travel with a buddy during movement between breaks.

    What are your cell/smartphone and other electronic devices policy? 
    Cell phones and other electronic devices are not prohibited but should be used only during free time.

    If a participant drives themselves to the program, can they leave whenever they want? 
    No, at check in the driver’s keys are turned in and given to the directors of the camp.  If they wish to leave, a note must be provided from their guardian in advance.

    Do you have enforceable consequences for prohibited actions?
    Campers who break rules are sent home.

    My child is one year too young for camp. Can he still register?
    We maintain a wait list and if there are still openings prior to the start of camp we will fill positions with younger students. Contact Kevin Bachler to get on the wait list.

    What if my child is on medication?
    Although camp counselors can hold the medication in a locked room, counselors cannot administer the medication to the camper.
    All campers must be able to administer their own medications.

    What is the refund policy?
    Written cancellations (post, fax, or email) received four weeks prior to camp start date will receive a refund less the $100 non-refundable deposit fee if the spot can be filled. No refunds are given within four weeks of the camp start date, but substitutions are accepted.