Chess - Play & Learn


FREE - In Google Play

FREE - in Win Phone Store


Chess club

  • #1

    Hey guyz I'm opening a chess club in the school I am but I have no experience on it. I'm gonna have 25 people in it and more to come.

    What I want to know is about what kind of stuff people do in a real chess club, what kind of things to teach and how it works exactly.

    Well I'm gonna show some thing I have in mind:

    1st weeks I'm teaching my people the knight check and then rook take. Checkmate in 2 moves. Checkmate in 4 moves. Some basics as you see.

    Some more weeks after 1st term ends im gonna start teaching some forks and pins, as to ask them to start guessing opponent's next move and start planning some tactics by themselves.

    I started to play chess for real since end of July, so I have 3 pages of matches I played that were very cool checkmates so to work as easy puzzles as I'm and amateur player (I think).

    Well i need some advices. Tell me what you agree, disagree, what you want to add, everything, so I let my school proud.

    Oh, i almost forgot! Of course im gonna suggest this website to all of them. Very complete website congratz staff ;)

  • #2

    Hey.  I am the sponsor of the Chess Club at my school as well.  Just curious what age level of students you are dealing with?  I have my kids show up and start on their own.  The first thing that we went over was etiquette* i.e., using a conversational voice when you play, shaking their hand after a match, accepting or declining challenges, and resignation if you are behind in material. 

    Otherwise, each week we have chosen a piece to focus on.  The first week we focused on Pawns, the second our Knights, the third our Bishops, the fourth our Rooks, and now our Queens.  Of course we have advanced players that do not need to go over certain things.  I have these kids coach their peers.

    Another thing that I like to do is work on some "Chess Mazes."  I have a text that focuses on certain pieces at a time, and sets the board in a certain set-up.  The students must complete an objective with a specific piece within a certain amount of moves.  It is very much like the puzzle that is presented on the homepage of this website when you go to it.

    Most of the time we just have students play each other and I use a simple rating system.  It is very trivial, and it is more about fun.  I do keep track of their stats like:  Games Played, Games Played White/Black, # of Games Won/Lost, and all of the percentages that go with it.

    I hope that this helps.

  • #3

    yeah i agree with that rating and statistic thing. It will make them wanting to be the number 1.

    I dont know how you focus in pawns and knights in a hall week. Yeah i know you can show the power of the knight, of bishop etc. but it is a little bit boring, lol.

    I'm dealing with pretty amateur players, which don't know anything about chess, only how to move pieces.

    Tks for comments and i hope more to come!

  • #4

    Portuguesx2 your country's national chess body should have a scolastic committee as most do and they can assist further, I'd suggest contacting them: http://www.fide.com/info/directory/member-federations?task=country&fid=119

  • #5

    Thanks dude! I hope more suggestions come!

  • #6

    Some students at my school (8th grade students) asked me to start a chess club for them.  I have never been part of a chess club, so I am sure I could do a lot of things better.

    One fun thing that I do to make it competitive is that we play for "tags".  Each member is given a numbered token when they join (I use keychain chess pieces).  The goal is to get number 1.  When they play a match, the winner gets the better tag.  I also give out a small prize each week for the person who won the most matches (this encourages then to play members with a lower rank - easier win).

    The kids like this and then they get to keep their keychain at the end of the year.

  • #7

    Checkmate in 1-2 moves is fine, but I would hold off on checkmate in 3-4 moves until you've covered forks, pins, skewers, and all the basic tactical motifs.

    1 week per piece is too long?? I think you will find lots of fun material if you set your mind on it. For example, there are plenty of tactical positions involving knights for forks, you could see who completes a knight maze the fastest or gets the highest score on Troyis, you could look at the Alekhine's Defense or the Two Knight's Tango, you could look at Knight endgames like Chekhover's wonderful position. The limit is your imagination. :)

  • #8

    yeah thats a good idea i will think in it

  • #9

    Hey portugues.  Where do you get the keychain chess pieces at?  Just curious.  Sounds like a fun idea that I could incorporate with my kids.  I am also thinking about doing a chess tournament with my kids second semester.  Kind of baffled about the pairings and scoring though.



  • #10

    Well my school liked the idea so much that they will pay for all the pieces and all i need lol.

    A good thing to do when you organize tournament is to write every one's name in a paper. Then cut every name one by one and hide them into a box or something  and mix it and then while you taking the papers you will write who will play against who.

  • #11

    Hey Portugeusx2,

    Here's something that I posted on a school administrators profile page awhile back.  Maybe there are some new gems that you might be able to use.



    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 resume 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 Player:

    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.


    Elite Officer:

    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).


    Knight Keychain:

    This honor will signify that the player played more COMPLETE matches than anyone else during one meeting time.


    Rook Keychain:

    This honor will go to the player that won a match faster than anyone else during one meeting time.


    Queen Keychain:

    This honor will signify that the player won more matches than anyone else during one meeting time.


    King Keychain:

    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.



Online Now