CHESS, chopper spectrometer examining small samples, is a planned direct geometry neutron chopper spectrometer designed to detect and analyze weak signals intrinsic to small cross sections (e.g., small mass, small magnetic moments, or neutron absorbing materials) in powders, liquids, and crystals. CHESS is optimized to enable transformative investigations of quantum materials, spin liquids, thermoelectrics, battery materials, and liquids. The broad dynamic range of the instrument is also well suited to study relaxation processes and excitations in soft and biological matter. The 15 Hz repetition rate of the Second Target Station at the Spallation Neutron Source enables the use of multiple incident energies within a single source pulse, greatly expanding the information gained in a single measurement. Furthermore, the high flux grants an enhanced capability for polarization analysis. This enables the separation of nuclear from magnetic scattering or coherent from incoherent scattering in hydrogenous materials over a large range of energy and momentum transfer. This paper presents optimizations and technical solutions to address the key requirements envisioned in the science case and the anticipated uses of this instrument.