WS/FC Scholastic Chess Association
WS/FCSCA, 133 Queensbury Rd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27104-3537
|Chess is a game of imagination and strategy, one that provides rules, order and opportunities for intellectual growth.|
An effective educational
tool at all levels of academic achievement, chess teaches students to
think logically and take responsibility for their actions and consequences.
|Chess Improves Children's Reading Scores|
Dr. Stuart Margulies,
a noted educational psychologist, conducted two studies of reading score
changes of children. The first study was conducted with students in New
York City Community School District 9, the South Bronx and the second
study in classrooms in New York City and Los Angeles. The results in each
study were significant.
Conclusion: Chess participation appears to enhance reading performance.
|Starting a scholastic chess club|
So what does it take to start a chess club at your school? Letís consider what it takes:
Requirements for starting a great school chess club
If your school falls in the "Reality" column, then youíre ready to start a chess club! Many schools are reluctant to start a chess club because of unrealistic expectations. They feel that they need to have grandmasters and "really smart" kids. Their measure for success is how many big trophies they will win.
But the true measure of success of a chess club is not the trophies they pull in but the number of childrenís lives enhanced.
All kids can benefit from chess. Kids may see it as just a game. But research has shown that chess enhances scholastic abilities including test scores. Think of it as "exercise for the mind", a fun way to practice concentration, patience, logic, and mental calculations.
Phases of a club
Start your club simple, then add things as it matures.
The first rule of starting a chess club is: Donít wait for someone else to do it! If you donít step up and make it happen, itís unlikely someone else will. You have the opportunity to enrich the lives of dozens of young people.
Make it a decision right now, even before you reach the end of this sentence, to take a positive step toward making a chess club a reality at your school.
There are a few thinks you will need to get started.
Planning a start-up
B. Recreational Play
Emphasize the purpose of the club is to play chess and have fun. No other activities should be allowed (unless this is a game club). Once kids start playing, try to group kids by skill level. If someone is winning more than losing, encourage tougher play. Always emphasize good sportsmanship.
C. Instruction for new players
Make no mistake. Chess can be a complex game, especially for young children. However, experience has shown that any child that can be taught the alphabet can be taught chess. The younger they start, the more they will likely to get good at the game and enjoy it later in life.
For teaching "beginning chess", you do not need a chess expert. What you really need is a good teacher who knows the basic game, is good with kids, and can explain things simply.
Teaching young children
The key to teaching very young children (pre-K and up) is to reduce the concepts and explanations into its simplest elements. Keep it light and entertaining.
Donít try to teach the entire game at once. Teach it a piece at a time starting with the least complex. Use simple made-up games along the way to reinforce the concept.
Teaching older kids
Teaching older kids is simpler because you can find more books for the older audience and you can assign homework. The concepts of keeping it simple and pacing per the childís ability to absorb still hold true at any age.