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Building a Comprehensive Chess Program with the MATCH Chess Curriculum

Developing a Full Chess Program with the MATCH Curriculum

One of the most important goals we had as we developed the MATCH Chess Curriculum was to help chess coaches, schools and other organizations scale chess programs in a sustainable way. Since strong players with excellent teaching skills can be hard to find/keep due to availability and/or cost, there was a pressing need to create a curriculum that would make teaching chess possible for anyone who is good at working with children.

By using MATCH as a base, limited coaching resources can be directed toward more advanced students while still providing beginning students with an engaging, comprehensive program. Here are some suggestions that could meet your coaching needs:
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Classroom Tips for Chess Teachers ~ Managing Varied Skill Levels

Classroom Tips for Chess Coaches Managing Diverse Skills

Teaching a class with children with different skill levels can seem quite daunting. Chess coaches facing this challenge have devised interesting tricks over the years to stimulate inexperienced students while keeping the advanced ones focused. Here are some ideas and activities that you can use to keep your classroom buzzing.

  • Focus on activities that allow those of different levels to learn different things (e.g., the Pawn Game and Domination – In the pawn game, beginning students focus on how the pieces move and capture and advanced students learn about pawn structure. In Domination, both groups improve their board visualization skills).

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Chess Activities ~ Increase Engagement with a DIY Chess Set

How to make a chess set craft for coaches

There are as many ways to make your own chess set as there are people to imagine them.  Naturally, it’s best to use what you have on hand or can obtain easily obtain. If the ideas below don’t fit your needs, a quick internet search will yield all kinds of creative ways to make chess sets out of a variety of different materials. 

If you aren’t sure why you should take on this project, click here to read about why we think it’s worth the trouble.

Wooden game pieces 

This is our favorite for several reasons. It takes multiple sessions to complete (which is a good thing). It is one of the many ways for kids to express their own personality, which in the long run builds their investment in playing. It’s also relatively inexpensive, while still being reasonably durable.

We recommend that this project be broken down into 15-20 minute session across multiple classes to make the project more manageable and help meet the goals of the project [click here to read about those].
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Chess Business Tips ~ Branding for Chess Coaches

Business and Marketing for chess coaches

I teach chess, so why should I worry about branding?

Imagine that you are a school administrator. You have specific policies on how the students at your school should be taught, disciplined and treated in general. You find a chess coach who fits with your approach. However, as the coach’s business expands, they end up hiring another coach to teach at your school. That coach doesn’t use the same approach. As a consumer, this feels almost like a bait and switch. You ‘bought’ one thing, but got another.  

Imagine that you are a parent.  You’ve hired a chess coach to teach chess to your child.  Perhaps you are happy with the coach, but they occasionally send substitutes that you don’t like. Perhaps the substitutes don’t have the same teaching philosophy, sometimes repeat material, or skip ahead.  

Marketing and Branding for Chess CoachesAlternatively, you sign your child up for a second chess class with the
same provider, but the second class seems to jump in at a different point than where the first one ended. You don’t know if your child is getting a well-planned chess education.  Maybe you are uncertain whether the material has already been covered. When you talk to your child,  it might sound like material is being repeated. Does it need to be? Is the coach is delving deeper into the topic or is it poor planning on the coach’s part? How can you tell?

In each of these scenarios, the likelihood of continued enrollment and referrals is jeopardized.  We have heard each of these complaints about service providers many times. As service providers, we often don’t think of ourselves or our company as having a brand, but whether or not we plan and cultivate a brand, we do have one. Continue reading “Chess Business Tips ~ Branding for Chess Coaches”

Challenging Pawn Mower Puzzle

In honor of the release of the Kindle version of our Pawn Mower  Combo Edition puzzle book, here is a brain teaser for your day ~ a rook puzzle with 20 pawns to capture.  If you are not familiar with Pawn Mower, you can find instructions and some easier puzzles on which to cut your teeth here.

20 Pawn Mower Rook Puzzle

Please do not post the answer in the comments section so that everyone who visits can play. Thanks!

Chess Coach Resources ~ Free Printable Chess Posters for Beginners

We are pleased to provide four free chess posters for chess teachers and coaches who work with beginners. They are free to print as long as you do not alter them.  They are 18 x 24 inches. Simply download and save the file.  From there, you may upload it to a printing service. Continue reading “Chess Coach Resources ~ Free Printable Chess Posters for Beginners”

7 Benefits of Student-Made Chess Sets

Benefits of student-made chess set craft activity

When new coaches initially see the make-your-own chess set activity in our chess curriculum, their reactions are quite varied. Of course, many, particularly primary school teachers, immediately see the benefits of this craft activity.  Understandably, to some it seems like more trouble than it’s worth. It does require planning, some supplies that may not be on hand, and some mess. Others see it as a distraction from the goal of learning about chess. However, we have been including this activity in our programs for over seven years and it never disappoints, particularly for students in primary grades.  Here’s why we think it is worth the time, trouble and mess – all of which can be minimized (more on that in our upcoming how-to article): Continue reading “7 Benefits of Student-Made Chess Sets”

Easy Ways Use Algebraic Notation to Boost Learning in the Classroom

Tips for using and learning from chess notation.

Teach your students how to take short algebraic notation. You can use the image below as a reference. Once your students are familiar with the basics, it’s time to practice.

One great way to reinforce what they have learned is by reviewing famous games.  You can start with one of the most famous chess games of all time, The Opera Game (scroll down for the moves), but more are easy to find via a quick internet search. You can even find games that are analyzed/annotated by strong chess players to help you guide discussion as you play through games. Play through the chosen game on a demonstration board or projector while your students notate the game.  This allows them to practice notation without having to simultaneously think about their game.  It also makes it easy for you, their classmates or volunteers to check their work.  As a nice side effect, they will be exposed to the kinds of moves made by strong players.
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