Chess club activity ideas


Hi. This past fall we organized a new chess club for our elementary school, currently grades 1-3. We have about 45 active members. (About 30% of these grades are members!) The skill levels are varied as you may imagine. We just completed a 6-round Swiss tournament, playing one round during each weekly meet.  I played TD and organized the tournament. We have about six active volunteer parent-coaches.


Our focus has been on good sportsmanship and fun. We aren't trying to "teach" chess, though I would like to consider a more tiered approach in the future.


We plan to meet through April, once-per-week. The kids responded very well to the tournament format. They seem easier to manage when we structure the play a little, rather than leaving them free to pair up however they like.  We gave out certificates for 1st-3rd place in each grade, as well as overall. We also awarded three certificates for "good sportsmanship". To decide this we let each kid privately "vote" for  up-to-two of their six tournament opponents based on whether they had been particularly pleasant opponents, said "congratulations" or "good game", winning or losing gracefully, etc.



I'm looking for guidance on a few things here.


1. Feedback on what we're doing so far.

2. Suggestions for more "special" awards and how to choose winners.

3. Suggestions for interesting mini-events, variations, etc. to really keep the kids' interest from week-to-week through the end of the year.

4. Ways to build sportmanship, self-confidence, and skill in as many of the kids as possible, and be inclusive. 



Thanks for any suggestions or advice that y'all can offer.  I'm in over my head already, but I really want to help keep things rolling in a positive direction!


don't give everyone the same trophy because "everyone's a winner!" play a game with everyone and make personlized and get the parents do help to the everyone's a winner thing makes you look bad in the kids eyes and the parent's would understand

also prizes like "one free game with me" tickets will make them work harder