One of my greatest passions is the game of chess.  I played chess as a kid, but never seriously.  During my final year of college, I began playing chess more seriously with a friend of mine.  Over that spring break, we played daily for hours and hours; I was hooked.  My first year teaching, at Washington Gifted Middle School in Peoria, IL, all teachers were asked to offer Enrichment classes once a week, and I chose chess.  That was my first experience teaching the game, and it took off from there.  In Marengo, I started a chess club; the superintendent took notice and suggested very strongly that I turn the club into a team.  The following year, I was the first coach of the Marengo High School Chess Team.  4 years later, we won the ICCA Division 1A State title, and I was named the 2012 ICCA Coach of the Year.  I have continued playing, coaching, and volunteering whenever possible.  In 2014, Everyman Chess published my first book, "Chess Progress: From Beginner to Winner."  I have branched out into Tournament Directing, as well; directing several IHSA events and USCF events each year.  Below, I've compiled a list of my chess work and achievements.

Chess Tournament Director

Unrated Chess Directing

USChess Rated Tournament Directing

Chess Player

Chess Coach

Chess Volunteer

Chess Writer

Wholesale Chess - Blog Articles

     Based on a Facebook tip from my favorite chess equipment retailer, Wholesale Chess, I made an arrangement to write several articles about chess and coaching.  Between 2010 and 2012 the articles were published.  I had a great time writing them, and maybe someday, I'll turn them into a memoir about my early years coaching chess.  Links to the articles are below:

Chess Progress: From Beginner to Winner

     Published in September, 2014, this book aims to take the reader on a journey from complete novice, knowing nothing at all about chess, to a level at which he or she can play a game of chess with a sufficient grasp of strategy and tactics to give a good account of themselves and gain pleasure from the game. Through the series of lessons in his book Erik Czerwin imparts the basics of chess playing to the reader in a clear and easy-to-follow fashion.

     The lessons begin with the simplest possible position, the empty board, and progress to the most complex, the opening. By first examining the empty board, a player can begin to understand the intricacies of the game at their most basic level. Next, each piece is examined by itself as it relates to the board. After an explanation of the endgame and notation, the sequence continues by examining the three elements of chess strategy. This is followed by an explanation of the next simplest position, two kings on an empty board. After this, a single pawn is added. This sequence continues so that the player learns to incorporate each new fundamental concept in layers, progressing until the game reaches its most complex point, the first move.

     Each section builds upon the previous one in such a way that, even on the first page, the student is learning the fundamentals that the top rated players use when forming their strategies and brilliancies.

     Award-winning chess coach Erik Czerwin's unique training method begins by studying the simplest chess positions with very few pieces - and then moves on, step by step, adding more pieces to the board. Complex ideas are always built up from simpler situations, ensuring that the learning curve stays flat. With helpful exercises throughout, Chess Progress is the perfect book for every chess enthusiast.

     The ideal chess book for the beginner; the ideal chess book for the improving player; the ideal chess book for the teacher.  Absolute beginners can learn everything they need to know in order to play chess competitively.  More experienced players will encounter deeper concepts and be able to approach chess from a new perspective, enabling them to take their play to the next level.