Chess in the Schools: Curriculum, After-School Programs, Special Programs and Camps

Epiphany Chess Photo by Dora Leticia Copyright Protected

How Does Chess Benefit Children?

  • The game of chess helps young people learn to concentrate, think logically, overcome obstacles, spot patterns and categorize information.
  • It helps with the development of problem-solving skills, planning, patience, focus of thought and self-discipline.
  • Chess is a competitive activity, but , good sportsmanship and fair play are taught as essential elements of the game.
  • Chess is a one-against-one activity, however, teamwork is also an important element. This element comes into play when Club members must practice and work on problems together.
  • Everyone has a chance to contribute to the team in tournament play as chess clubs may enter as many players as they wish and various skill-levels or age-based sections are generally available.
  • A scholastic chess club provides a challenge for students while helping build confidence and self-esteem. It offers a combination of educational and social activity.

Epiphany Chess Photo by Dora Leticia Copyright Protected

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a chess player to start a chess club?

No, you do not need advanced chess skills to organize a club. There are videos and simple instructional booklets that anyone can use to learn the game. You can almost always find a parent, older student or chess player in the community to help the group get started. You will want to read through a rule book and learn the basic elements of the game, but you do not have to be a skilled player yourself. Many clubs benefit from having non-playing organizers to support chess instructors.

Chess Educators Instructor Alex King Photo by Dora Leticia Copyright Protected

Do I have to be a teacher to start a chess club?

No. A chess club may be sponsored by a parent or interested chess player in the community. Frequently, a parent and teacher will jointly sponsor a club, because being a teacher might make it easier to gain permission to use school facilities for meetings or tournaments.It is important to work with school administrators for recognition of chess clubs as a school function, part of the schools extracurricular program. While this may take some time, achievement of this goal will benefit both the chess club and the school.

How much time does a Chess club take?

It depends on how much time you are willing to invest. It could be as little as an hour a week, but it will vary depending on the number of students involved and their ages. Most clubs meet regularly for one to two hours per week. These meetings may be after school, in the evening or on weekends.

How much money is involved in starting a club?

You can start a scholastic chess program for very little money – substantially less than the cost of just one football uniform. All that is required are a few chess sets.

If local funding is not available, contact the U.S. Chess Trust for assistance on getting free chess sets and US Chess Federation memberships.

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