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Hi, my name is Tom and I am an administrator in a public elementary school in Louisville, KY. I started an after-school chess club a couple of years ago. I would like to invite anyone who works with kids and chess to contribute ideas or questions so that we may help each other out. Thanks for posting.
I myself personally thinks that you should be bringing board games such as chess andcheckers. Why because these are thinking board games that childrenshould know of. If you can find any other gmes similar to it great but I think you have to have chess and checkers. I hope this has helped you out alot! Oh yeah you should also get some of them to know this website, it`s great!
My friend, frank713 on this website, coaches a children's chess club/team in Hawaii. I am sure he would be happy to talk about it with you!
Take care, and good luck!
I find it best to teach baisc peice movement, excluding castling until later and then pit them against each other, as they play the staff and I walk around and talk to the players about there games and watch them play out their position.
I coach an English primary School chess club for about 12 years now,if i can be of any help please contact me.
Playing is the best way to improve a junior,if possible they should play people slightly better than them.
Hey there. I know that this post is a little old, but I figured that I would contribute. I am currently teaching at the middle school level and run the chess club at the school. I basically took over for the last sponsor when he left and started from scratch. Last year was very unorganized, i.e. just show up and play chess with each other, no attendance taken, no "lessons" taught, a slight rating system. Although this was fun and I have several kids from last year that are still members, it was a lot of work for me. As you probably know from experience, kids do appreciate order and organization (whether they like to admit it or not). This year I changed a bunch of things that have had a profound effect on their learning and the amount of fun that we have. I know that you are at the primary level, but maybe you can take or leave a few of the things that I do to help encourage our kids:
I take attendance. We have Chess Club the first day of every week after school for two hours unless otherwise notified by me or due to other circumstances. The kids are allowed to miss if they were excused-absent from school that day, OR if they have come to let me know that they cannot make it that day for a good reason (you can use your discretion). This helped me separate the kids that valued chess club from those that just showed up when they felt like it. If they are out for a sport, it is considered excused. Those that are out for sports are recorded on the ratings sheets that I post around the school as "inactive" members.
Expectations: I require that all kids demonstrate good sportsmanship. They must shake hands after every match and respect others while their games are in progress by no "blurting" things out when they observe them.
Challenges: The kids can challenge any member of the club to a match. They are allowed one "veto" for each meeting time, meaning that they can decline one match per meeting.
Lessons: We regularly discuss standard book openings (Ruy Lopez, English Opening, Sicilian Defense) and the rationales behind them. These are not tested and aren’t required to learn, but do help to expose the kids to them.
Everybody must keep a notebook. That is, every match must be kept track of by both players in algebraic notation. This allows my kids to learn how the algebraic system of notation works, and also allows them to resume matches if they must adjourn for the day until the next meeting. (This was a big help, since players last year wanted to decide matches based upon material advantages, and would sometimes just stall).
Within their notebooks we have "progress tracking sheets." I wanted the Chess Club this year to be about how hard a kid is willing to work and not so much about skill, although skill is rewarded with higher rating and special status honors. I track the kids progress in two main categories: Chess Club Status, and Number of Games Played Status.
About Chess Club Status: These statuses are based solely upon a kids desire to want to learn. The different statuses are (in order from smallest to greatest) Chess Club Novice, Chess Club Premium Player, Chess Club Officer, Chess Club Elite Officer, and Chess Club Ace. My intent was to allow those who really truly care about the game to be able to be recognized for their accomplishments in the study of the game, since skill varies from person to person. Within each Chess Club Status category, I require certain goals to be met. Each kid keeps track of their progress using graphical representation (this is great for our visual kids and also allows the kids to SEE their progress, thus making it more tangible for them) in their notebooks. Here is a breakdown of the goals for each section (pasted from another Word document):
Membership Status Categories:
*Any beginner that joins our chess club will start as a Novice.
Premium players will receive a Pawn keychain. This honor will signify the member’s rank as a Premium Player in our WMS Chess Club.
*Must be able to name all of the pieces and be able to set up the board properly.
*Must have demonstrated castling 5 times in a game against somebody else. (Signed off on by supervisor a.k.a. Mr. A.).
*Must have played at least 10 games.
An officer will receive a special Chess Pin. This honor will signify the member’s rank as an Officer in our WMS Chess Club.
*Must have no unexcused absences. (If gone due to other sports, absences will be excused).
*Must be already be a Chess Club Premium Player.
*Must be able to demonstrate and state how each piece moves.
*Must be able to explain the rationale for Checkmate.
*Must be able to explain the rationale for Stalemate and tell how it is different from Checkmate.
*Must be able to explain all five instances when castling is not possible.
*Must be able to define/explain an Absolute Pin, and demonstrate an example.
*Must be able to record their games using algebraic notation.
*Must uphold good sportsmanship standards including: wishing players good gameplay at the beginning of a match, respecting silence during matches, shaking hands after a match, and accepting challenges freely.
An Elite Officer is the cream of the crop, the dedicated hard worker who has put in enough effort to have achieved officer status as well as 10 victories. They will receive a special dog tag that signifies their Elite status in our WMS Chess Club.
*Must already be an officer.
*Must be able to explain and demonstrate an en passant capture with a pawn.
*Must have at least 10 wins.
*Must be able to play at least five moves of one book opening. You pick which one. J
WMS Chess Ace:
A Chess Ace is a rare and special status. Anyone with Chess Ace status will signify a player who has unending dedication to their improvement at chess. These players will receive a chess-themed shirt of their choice from any Internet vendor for FREE (must be appropriate and approved by Mr. A.).
*Must be an Elite Officer.
*Must have at least 20 wins. (This is possible)!!!
As each player earns each new thing, I just sign off on it. Of course I have purchased the different keychains, chess pins, dog tags and things from chess websites. Man, the way kids will work for a little trinket…you’ve got to love it. The second status category was Number of Games Played Status. The way I figured it was that a kid should receive recognition for the amount of time they have spent playing chess, and therefore I decided to track the number of games that they played and reward them thusly.
About the Number of Games Played Status (Posted from another Word document):
Number of Games Played Status:
Beginner: Although the player may not be a beginner in skill, the beginner status signifies that this player has played less than 10 games in the WMS Chess Club.
Apprentice: An Apprentice chess player has played at least 10 matches. These players have put effort into becoming better chess players. Apprentices are on their way to becoming Journeyman chess players at WMS.
Journeyman: A Journeyman chess player has put a significant amount of her or his time and effort into the game. This status is achieved by playing at least 20 matches in the WMS Chess Club.
Established: An Established chess player status signifies that the player has played at least 30 matches. These players have spent a large amount of time practicing their chess skills.
Sage: A sage by definition is a profoundly wise person; someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience. These players have dedicated themselves to the game, and have accomplished playing at least 50 matches. This honor is extremely rare and something to be absolutely proud of.
Lastly I offer small long-term awards for the kids. These are special honors awarded at the end of the season that can be obtained by those who maybe chose not to progress on the Chess Club Status track. They are as follows:
Season’s Distinguished Honors:
The following honors earn a member a special memento that signifies their achievement(s).
This honor will signify that the player played more COMPLETE matches than anyone else during one meeting time.
This honor will go to the player that won a match faster than anyone else during one meeting time.
This honor will signify that the player won more matches than anyone else during one meeting time.
This honor will signify that the player is the top rated player in the WMS Chess Club at the end of the season.
In their notebooks, I’ve included graphics of the different awards to help to drive them to learn more about chess. Once again the whole intent was to help encourage kids to take the learning of the game into their own hands and progress as far as they “choose” to go (sorry about the Glasser reference, but I love his stuff).
I also include a Vocabulary sheet for the kids. Of course proper vocabulary is a good thing to use. In other words, it’s a Knight and not a “horsey.” I’ve included the following:
List of Chess Club Vocabulary:
Absolute Pin or Pin: A piece that cannot be moved because moving it would put the King in check. It is illegal to move the pinned piece in an Absolute Pin.
Blunder: A bad move that results in a damaged position, loss of material, or loss of the game.
Check: A direct attack on an opponent's King by any piece or pawn. When placed in "check", the player must get out of check on the very next move by any of the following ways: *Move the King to an unattacked square. *Capture the checking piece. *Place a friendly piece in between the King and the checking piece. Checkmate: When the King is in "check" and cannot get out of check by the three ways listed under Check. When the King is checkmated, the game is over.
Draw: A completed chess game that has resulted in a tie. A drawn game can result from the following situations: 1. Drawn by agreement: Both players agree neither can win. 2. Stalemate: When a King has no legal moves, is not in check, and no other pieces on the board have legal moves.
Duffer: A slang term for a very poor player. Also called woodpusher, patzer.
En Passant: A French term meaning "in passing".
Endgame: The final phase of a chess game, characterized by very few pieces left on the board. The main objective in the endgame is to promote pawns.
File: Any vertical row on the chessboard. Files are noted with the letters A through H for identification.
Hanging: A slang term for leaving a piece en prise (in a position to be captured without being about to recapture the opponents piece).
Interposition: The movement of a piece in between an attacking piece and the piece it is attacking.
Quiet Move: A move that does not capture, check, or otherwise threaten an enemy piece.
Rank: Any horizontal row on the chessboard. Ranks are noted with the numbers 1 through 8 for identification.
Relative Pin: A pin where the movement of the shielding piece is legal, but not desirable. In other words, move a shielding piece is allowed because the King is not involved in the pin, however a strong piece, such as the Queen, may be lost.
Sacrifice: To deliberately give up material to achieve an advantage (which could include a gain in tempo, greater mobility, a checkmate, etc...).
Stalemate: A situation where a player has no legal moves to make. Any move he/she would make with the King would put the King in check and he/she has no other pieces on the board that can move. This game ends in a draw.
Zugzwang: German for "compelled to move". A situation that occurs when any move a player makes will weaken his/her position, however, he/she is compelled to move in accordance to the rules.
Last but not least, I like to do a trivial ratings system with the kids. This also helps to drive some of them. I start everyone at the beginning of the year at a 900 rating. Their first five games are worth 20 rating points, depending upon win or loss of course. After that it depends upon who they play:
All players begin with a rating of 900. During their first five games (marked with an *), players earn or lose 20 points. After their first five games:
¨ Against an opponent whose rating is at least 30 points greater than yours:
§ +15 per win, -5 per loss
¨ Against an opponent whose rating is within 30 points of your rating:
§ +10 per win, -10 per loss
¨ Against an opponent whose rating is at least 30 points less than yours:
§ +5 per win, -15 per loss
I think this is pretty much all I have to contribute. I’m just hoping that there are others out there that have any suggestions for me. I have continually tweaked things to make our stuff run smoother, as we constantly do in education. I really like the other comment on your blog about playing a team vote chess match. This touches upon the principle of EMERGENCE which is prevalent in nature. (The kids always enjoy hearing about this one before we make a decision in class as to which answer is correct [given that one is practicing for a multiple choice test]). (Sorry; math teacher). If you listen to podcasts on iTunes, you should check out RadioLab. They had an entire episode on the principle of Emergence.
Two more quick things:
I do run a tourney at near the end of the year. I allow STUDENTS to join…AS WELL AS TEACHERS!!! Students that join must be in the Chess Club. The teachers that join play only against teachers. I really encourage the teachers to join since (sadly) many of them do not know how to play the game. The winner of the teacher gets to play the winner of the students. Regardless, I offer prizes for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of the student tournament. The 3rd place receives a medal and a Chess Notebook (very nice actually that allows them to record their games via algebraic notation). The second place winner receives the same, plus a small checkbook sized magnetic travelling chess board. The first place winner receives all of that plus the t-shirt of their choice from a chess-sponsored website (appropriate of course).
The last thing that I wanted to say as a side note is that I got a lot of these ideas before this last year after reading a book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle which basically posits that greatness is “grown” and isn’t “born.” Basically this gentleman says that “talent” is due to a “bundling of neurons” in the brain due to their constant use. This is an analog to “high-speed Internet” of the brain. I wanted kids to practice, practice, and then practice the fundamentals of chess with the hope that they would internalize the patterns and complete logical processes as second nature. In one sentence I can say: “Chess club this year has come a great way from the previous year.”
I am moving from KS at the end of this academic year and will most likely be returning to the secondary education setting. I hope that I can set up a chess club wherever it is that I’m going. If not then I’d be quite sad. It really catches a specific niche of kids, and also allows us to geek out a little bit (a prerequisite of math teachers at least as far as I’m concerned).
Well sorry about the length and don’t feel a need to respond to this, but I’m glad that others are inquiring about chess clubs.
The only thing I have been able to think of to keep their attention (remember I'm teaching kindergarden to 3 or 4th grade) is rather extravagantly silly "quick" lectures on a tactic or even just "concept" of the day. Last time I dressed up as "Tim the Wizard" from Monthy Python and the Holy Grail to teach about "forks". How they hide in the middle game and the simple "fork" (many plastic forks used for emphasis" can strike without warning and has "sharp-pointy teeth"....
That one worked. They don't always but I'm winging it. Most of the time I have the concept of the day to just PLAY THE GAME. Its doubled in size and now I have a hard time attending to those who need help so I'm trying to get older kids to join who know chess. Thats not working. Win some, lose some...
I run the chess club for my daughters school. In "after school". But I'm happy to say a few kids stay in after school on Wed. just to attend chess club. I award stars for attending, those who come and don't know how to play get a star for learning the pieces how they move and playing a game successfully. If I have one of the better players teach a new comer and they do well, they get an extra star.
I was in 2 helicopter crashes when I was in the Marines, and as such and severely "handicapped". So I also give stars to those who help carry my stuff and/or put the desks and chairs back.
At 10 stars they get a braclet (rubber) that looks like a chess board pattern. At 20, I have to figure something else out. I have to pay for everything.
I want to start a team and have them play in tournaments. But I can't seem to find out all I need to know.
-tim aka Jonathan Strange
HIMY NAME IS NIBALDO CALVO BUIDES AND I AM NATIONAL CUBAN CHESS MASTER WITH INTERNATIONAL RATING 2072) AND MORE THAN 10 YEARS OF EXPERIENCIE OF CHESS TEACHING.I AM AUTHOR OF 3 CHESS BOKKS.NEXT SATURDAY I AM GOING TO LIVE TO KENTUCKY WHERE I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TEACHING CHESS FOR CHILDREN AS I DID.YOU CAN SEE MY WEBSITE www.nibaldocalvo.com I AM ALSO GRADUATED IN ECONOMY AT UNIVERSITY OF HABANA, CUBA, AND JOURNALIST AND I WANT TO WORK IN KENTUCKY AS CHESS TEACHING IN THe SCHOLS WHERE YOU WORK (TO IMPART CHESS COURSEES). I WOULD LIKE YOU ACCEPT MY SERVICE AS CHESS TEACHING IN THIS SCHOOL. SINCERELY LIC. NIBALDO CALVO BUIDES PD SORRY FOR MY ENGLISH. I WILL STUDY A LOT OVER THERE...
PLEASE, WRITE ME TO> firstname.lastname@example.org
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