Course Descriptions in Road to Mastery Program

Each course is run through the rating system.  If a student reaches the limit to a rating, he or she goes to the next level automatically.  The program enables the students to progress with the possibility of becoming an expert in a minimum of three years, and depending on continued training and discipline, will be able to achieve a master level.  In this new Road to Mastery Program, we dedicate our resources and organization to help in further training to be able to achieve national and international titles.  There will be a limit of 4-8 students, depending on the course.  New students can only be accepted when there are vacancies.   Should there be conflicts of schedules, such as tournaments and school events,  adjustments can be made as long as they are planned ahead so students do not miss class schedules.   The program is now open for enrollment. The Road to Mastery Training Center is located at 20609 Gordon Park Square, Ste. 130, Ashburn, VA 20147.

I.  Instructor:  GM Akshayraj Kore

Akshayraj Kore is a grandmaster, living currently in Ashburn Virginia.   Kore got the final norm of his GM title in 2013 after he won the prestigious Cannes International Chess Festival, Cannes France.  He came to the United States to play for the well known UMBC Chess team.  He did his Masters in Computer Science while playing for the UMBC Chess team.  During his time in the US, he led the UMBC Chess team to President’s Cup two times and won a Silver Medal for the team. He also scored a historical win against current World No. 2 Wesley So with Black pieces.

Kore is also successful as a chess coach.  His students include world youth champions and US national champions.   He has also seconded super grandmaster GM Abhijeet Gupta, rated 2627.    Kore now wishes to bring a culture of achievement to the Ashburn Chess Community.

Other chess accomplishments:   Shared first, 46th Annual Atlantic Open, Washington DC 2014  ;  President’s Cup, New York, 2014 UMBC wins Silver Medal, Board 2 medalist for UMBC.; 27th International Cannes Chess Festival, Winner, 1st place;    World Youth Chess Olympiad, 2003, Denizli Turkey, India wins Bronze Medal, Captain of Indian Team

Notable Chess games –
Win against Current World No.2 Wesley So
Against GM Julio Sadorra


Course Offerings:

Advanced course – above 2000+ rating (4-6 students)

How to study openings and what to do after opening is finished? Part 1 (14-week course)

Many players find themselves at a loss after the opening phase of the game has finished. Without understanding why certain moves are played, players memorize variations but find themselves at a loss when the opening phase has finished.

Road to Mastery;  Advanced course – 2000+

Wednesday 6:30-8:30 p.m. – GM Kore

Calculation of new positions Part 1  Above 1600 – 19909 – Intermediate course (Minimum 6)  (12-week course)

Players find themselves at a loss when they encounter a new position. Many times players say they drew an otherwise winning game or they lost a drawing one.  At times, people just have no clue as to why they lost and blame it on factors like luck.

GM Kore has structured a course for exactly this problem that players face. With his integrated course, he wishes to train his students on how to think independently when an unfamiliar position arises on the chess board.

Road to Mastery – Intermediate II Rating 1600-1999 

Instructor: GM Kore

Wednesday  4:30-6:30 p.m.  or

Saturday 4:00-6:00 p.m.

II.  Instructor:  NM Shawn Hoshall

•  Received United States Chess Federation National Chess Master Title in 1990. Currently, USCF rated 2225, ranked 22 overall in the state of Virginia as of March 2017.

•  Chess teacher in Northern Va. 2010-2017 ( Includes original Road to Mastery Ashburn program) 

•  Team Captain and player For Ashburn Chess Club Open Team in DC Chess League 2010-2015

•  Masters Degree in Experimental Psychology, from Towson University, 1994: Masters Thesis:  Origins of Chess-skill: Are Non-domain Related Characteristics Involved.


Course Description:  Intermediate I – 1000-1600 Rating

The class will focus on game analysis and active game play. One of the best ways to improve in chess is to not only review the games of the chess greats but also our own games.  Studying full games touches on all the key facets of chess.

The first half of the class will consist of studying famous instructive games by some of the best players in the world and also reviewing student games each week.  The second half of the class will consist of playing.

After play students will receive analysis and feedback.  The objective of the class is to identify and apply key rules of chess based on analysis of famous chess games as well as our own games. “

Road to Mastery – Intermediate I
Monday 6:30-8:30 pm Instructor:  NM Shawn Hoshall
III.  Instructor:  Raymond Duchesne
– In 1977 with the help of a friend started to teach chess in 8 schools in the city of Liege (Belgium).
– In 1980 became the first official chess teacher in the Belgian school system.
– After moving to the US Duchesne taught one year in an alternative school in State College PA.
– After a long hiatus started a chess program at the Carver Center in Purcellville, where I have now taught for more than 10 years.
– Participated as a teacher in Road To Mastery chess program.
Course Goals:
  1. Refine the student’s understanding of the concept of chess activity and how other concepts are derived: “bad bishop”, “bishop pair”, outpost, open file etc…
  2. The student will learn how the concept of chess activity illuminates and often overrides other notions like material balance, pawn structure, and centralization.
  3. The student will learn many positional and tactical patterns related to piece activity.
Detailed objectives:
  1. Open files and all issues centering around them: back rank issues, seventh rank use, rook placement.
  2. Outposts and all issues centering around them.
  3. How to appreciate all factors influencing the battle Bishop versus Knight.
  4. How to appreciate all factors influencing the battle Bishop versus Bishop.
  5. How to appreciate all factors influencing the battle Rook versus minor piece.
  6. How to judge complex material imbalances.
  7. Piece configuration: attack and defense patterns.
  8. How everything depends on concrete calculation.
  9. The limits of concrete calculation.
Course Description:
In the first two lessons, the teacher will concentrate on understanding the student level of chess understanding and his need with a series of tests and games. Following that introduction, classes will generally follow the following pattern:
– 15 minutes tactical warm-up.
– 45 to 60 minutes class (Consisting mainly of exercises.) on the concept of piece activity and the derived concepts of centralization, good and bad bishops, outposts etc…
– 60 to 45 minutes of play (games with themes, games vs the instructor, student game analysis…) and instructor advice.
Road to Mastery, Intermediate I Rating 1000-1599
Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Instructor:  Raymond Duchesne


IV.  Instructor:  Herky del Mundo

Herky del Mundo has been a college instructor and a graduate of  Master in Fine Arts.  He has also been an instructor in scholastics chess in Maryland, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia for the past 17 years.  He has been a winner in the World Open.  He has attended the World Youth Chess Festival in Hungary, Brazil, and Spain as a personal coach.  He was the lead organizer of the Road to Mastery Program in Ashburn Chess Club.

Course Description:  Road to Mastery 0 – 1000 rating 

Chess is a fun game.  Learning the proper way leads the student to appreciate the game, have a practical approach, and go deeper with understanding the game.  Visuals and patterns lead to quick recognition of motifs and how to play the game.  Visualization is complemented with analytical skills which asked the question “What if” and anticipation of the end results helped by a wide knowledge of patterns.  People say that with chess, one learns how to think.  Before one is able to think, however, one must first learn to see.  This is the course for both beginners and advanced beginners, who haven’t gone over the rating of 1000.

Course Goals (Broad Definition of Student Competence):

  1. Students will have competent skills to exhibit competitive tournament games.
  2. Students will learn the principles and language of chess by learning specific terms to apply in their games.
  3. Students will gain the maximum rating points (1000) at the shortest possible time.

Course Objectives (Description of What Will be Covered):

  1. Students will learn to see visual patterns.
  2. Students will learn notations.
  3. Students will learn mating patterns.
  4. Students will learn attacking patterns.
  5. Students will learn to attack the king in the middle.
  6. Students will learn tactical motifs.
  7. Students will learn exchanges.
  8. Students will learn good and bad bishops.
  9. Students will learn piece play
  10. Students will learn pawn structures.
  11. Students will learn evaluation technique.
  12. Students will learn forced moves.
  13. Students will learn to observe and evaluate opponent’s moves.
  14. Students will learn solid defense
  15. Students will be trained for systematic calculation
  16. Students will learn middle game motifs
  17. Students will learn endgame motifs

Student Learning Outcome

  1. Upon joining a tournament, students will be able to play in scholastic tournaments and to compete at an intermediate level.
  2. Students will gain confidence to compete.
  3. Students will be able to analyze his games post-mortem.

Fee:  Road to Mastery, Beginners and Advanced Beginners 0-1000,

Schedule:  Friday 6:00-8:00 p.m. or Saturday 10:00 am-12:00 pm

Instructor:  Herky del Mundo

Kindly send your names, rating, and class schedule to (without the x).

The New Road to Mastery Program

Ashburn Chess Club is on its second Road to Mastery Program.  Founded in 2009, the club has conducted its initial Road to Mastery Program spearheaded by IM Nikolay Andrianov and Herky del Mundo from 2010-2012 and countless Ashburn Chess Club members who helped young students flourish with some of them able to attain advanced levels.  At that time, our top student was sent to the Moscow Open.  In the past few years, some of these students improve a lot, some becoming masters, excelling both in national and international competitions, and brought prestige to Ashburn Chess Club by leading it to the championships of DC Chess League and other tournaments.

Now, the club is launching its second Road to Mastery Program.  The idea behind the program is it’s not just another chess instruction but the students are given the chance to improve their best.   Leading the instructors is GM Akshayraj Kore, who has the distinction of training students that excel in the world youth championships and also in the United States national championships.  Among his notable chess students include:

1.) Advait Patel, National US Champion U-12, 2014
GM Kore trained Advait back when he was in India, and the training continued when Kore moved to the United States. After one year of training, Advait was able to conquer the US U-12 National Championship field with a perfect 7/7 score
2.) Abhimanyu Puranik, India
Bronze Medal, U-10 World Championship, 2010
Kore trained Abhimanyu before his World championship tournament. He won the bronze medal after spending six months of intensive training with Kore.
3.) Aakansha Hagwane, India
U-16 World Girls Championship 2016, Winner.
Aakansha won the world chess championship in U-16 girls category in 2016. Kore had trained her when he was still in India and was instrumental t to her success.
Among the teachers are NM Shawn Hoshall, Raymond Duchesne, and Herky del Mundo.  In summer, IM Nikolay Andrianov will also visit his former students and will be ready to accept new students.