How to Start a Chess Club for Kids

Sep 22, 2009, 10:13 AM |

How to Start a Chess Club for Kids

(Even if you know next-to-nothing about chess!)

You're going to need two things and it's going to cost $15 per kid.

You're going to need two people and they're going to be volunteers: cost $0!

The first year, you'll need two complete scholastic chess sets for each kid (about $5 each) and one copy of ChessMaster (about $5 each on sale).

On the first day of club give each kid their own take-home chess set (to keep) and a copy of ChessMaster (also to keep). These are so your kids can play with their friends and family and practice. Keep the remaining set to play games during club.

Organize your club like this: 90 minutes once per week. One volunteer will be responsible for maintaining discipline and assigning games (Joe play Molly, Molly you're white, etc) and the other volunteer will give individual and small group lessons.

The more the kids play, the more fun they will have. The more fun they have the happier they are when they get to club and the more they practice. The more they practice the better they will get so make sure to assign homework each club: I want you to play 5 games of chess before the next club meeting (and remember to ask for a show of hands of everyone who played their practice games).

That's all there is to it, your club is up and running, your kids are off and playing and everyone is having fun!


PS My preference is to only let kids into the club who already know how to setup and move the pieces. It takes too much individual instruction otherwise and the club can really bog down and/or these kids get left behind. Almost all of the time, parents are more than willing to have their little guys ready by showing them how to setup the board and move the pieces.

With thanks to Pete Prochaska and Mike Terrill of Chess Odyssey who helped me work all this out as we continue to experiment with accelerated learning at our club at the Portland Jewish Academy