US Chess Federation
How to Start a Club
Starting a Chess Club
Diary of a Chess club
Chess Club Planning
WHY START A CHESS CLUB?
MIKE WOLFE, FORMER OHSCTA EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
Chess often touches
kids who don't get involved in other activities.
Chess can help raise academic performance,
often because it encourages logical thinking and problem-solving, and because it teaches people to sit still and concentrate.
Chess is inexpensive.
Like many other competitive activities,
participation in chess helps young people learn the values of sportsmanship and fair play.
In recent years, in many schools,
chess has shed its "nerdy" image. At our school, the players earn athletic letters, are recognized in the announcements
and at assemblies,
and the spirit squad puts signs up in the halls encouraging them and congratulating them for their
Those trophies sure look good in
your classroom, office, or trophy case!
It's just plain fun. I'm
in my 27th year of teaching, and upon
reflection, I realize that working with the chess teams has been one of the highlights
of my career. Some of the trips we've taken together, some of our unexpected victories, and yes,
some of our most
disappointing losses, have all added up to make the experience one I would never trade.
STARTING A CHESS CLUB 101
- Get a chess board and pieces
- Go somewhere where students congregate. (The cafeteria, the library, or other common areas are great,
but check first to see if there are rules about such things.)
- Set up the chess set and sit down on one side
- Wait. (Eventually someone will come up and say something like, "why are you sitting here with a chess set?"
Respond in a friendly way and invite them to play. They may or may not accept, but sooner or later, someone will sit
down to play you.)
- Be sure to get their name
- Others will begin gathering around. (Some will wish to kibitz; let them. Others will say they
could do better than your opponent, and still others will say they could beat you. Give them a chance.)
- Do this for a day or two, and if it's going well, the next day bring more than one chess board.
- Take names. Now you have a chess club!
- At your first meeting, offer a drawing for prizes for everyone who brings at least one person whose name
wasn't already on your list.
- Play a lot of chess. It's not time yet for lessons on how to checkmate with KNB vs. K.
- Play even more chess.
- Now have a tournament. If you're trying to form a team, have a "ladder" tournament where people can
challenge those above and those below for position. The team will consist of the top five players.
- Contact OHSCTA to see what other teams might be in your area. Schedule a match against another school,
and you might be on your way to fame and greatness as a future state championship program!
To request free chess sets from the United States Chess Federation:
Call 1-800-388-KING or Fax 1-845-561-2437 and ask for their "Chess-for-Youth" Questionnaire. Return the completed questionnaire,
along with a brief letter from the school principal, or program administrator, on official letterhead (if possible) to US
Chess Trust, P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 33857. The US Chess Trust will review the request and, if approved, will send
the school up to 5 FREE chess sets and boards!
FREE USCF MEMBERSHIPS FOR UNDERPRIVILEDGED KIDS You can also receive free USCF memberships for underprivileged children by sending a letter about your program and
the student names to: US Chess Trust, 3054 US Rt. 9W, New Windsor NY 12553 or fax it to 845-561-2437. You know,
I'm not sure if this address is still valid... you might want to send it to the address in TN as well. Schools can receive
up to 10 free memberships. If approved, students will receive a membership voucher that they can use when they attend
a USCF tournament.
- Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
- Jeff Coakley's chess series
- Yassar Seirawan's books
- Bruce Pandolfini's books
- Chessmaster (any version)