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Guest Post ~ Bobby Fischer & Chess Resources for Boy Scouts and Others

Dr. Alexey Root Blog Post Boy Scouts and Strategy books

In this post, Dr. Alexey Root, WIM provides a little chess history and introduces two chess books that she recommends as resources for:

  1. Beginning to intermediate level chess players ages 11-18+.
  2. Boy Scouts interested in earning the Chess merit badge.
  3. Chess coaches who work with either of these groups of students. In particular, the Fischer columns have “chess puzzles” which would be good for homework or for group problem solving. Prepare With Chess Strategy provides exercises that teach chess strategies. Resources for teaching chess strategies are less common than tactics resources, such as “find the tactic” books and Internet trainers.


In the United States, if you say about someone “he’s a real boy scout” you mean that he is a role model. The type of person you would pick to organize donations after a disaster or to instill pride in America. But hearing “he’s a real boy scout” would not make you think of World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer in his later years. In the decade before Continue reading “Guest Post ~ Bobby Fischer & Chess Resources for Boy Scouts and Others”

Top 10 MATCH Chess Curriculum Blog Posts of 2016

MATCH Chess Curriculum Top 2016 Posts

  1. Domination: Our top post in 2016 shares a skill building game that teaches students to see the board at a glance. This post includes video instruction by GM Maurice Ashley and ideas for making the game more challenging (hint: play the “mean way” and use a clock). If you like Domination, you might also like Quibs, a skill building game using queens and bishops.
  2. Managing Varied Skill Levels in the Chess Classroom: Our second most popular post highlights creative ideas for making a class engaging when you have students with varied skill levels in the same class. If this is an issue for some of your classes, you might also find our post on using learning stations helpful.
  3. Continue reading “Top 10 MATCH Chess Curriculum Blog Posts of 2016”

Chess Puzzle ~ Mate-in-Two

Keep your students thinking with this mate-in-two puzzle from the MATCH Student Workbook.  Checkmate Puzzle from the MATCH Curriculum

If your students are stumped, you can offer this hint: Remove whatever is stopping your queen from doing what it wants to do!
Continue reading “Chess Puzzle ~ Mate-in-Two”

Chess Classroom Activity: Skill Building Mini-Game with Queens and Bishops

Chess Skill Building Game Quibs

Skill builders and games are used throughout the MATCH Chess Curriculum to practice important chess and cognitive skills in an engaging way. By using a game format, students are more willing to engage in the repeated practice needed to improve important techniques that have a direct crossover into chess tactics. In previous posts we have covered how to use two such games: Pawn Mower and Domination. In this post, we discuss another game that we call Quibs (Queen Intercepts Bishops) which was designed to help students improve their ability to see/defend against threats, especially forks.

What is a fork? In chess, a fork is when an opponent attacks two pieces at once. When this happens, one of the pieces is likely to be captured because it is often impossible to save both pieces.

You can use any of these games to reinforce important lesson concepts, make productive use of small blocks of time, prime your students’ brains at the beginning of class, drill key skills, or provide an alternative activity for some students while you work with others.  The two keys to success are to make sure you really understand how each activity works and to present them as fun activities in their own right.  Don’t hesitate to make it exciting with game show commentary, time limits and general enthusiasm. Continue reading “Chess Classroom Activity: Skill Building Mini-Game with Queens and Bishops”

Academic Connections: Boost Learning and Develop Context for Chess Games through Chess-based Unit Studies

How to create chess unit studies to help make academic connections

In a previous post, we discussed how integrating other subjects into chess lessons can be beneficial. The idea is that the more you integrate other subjects into your chess classes, the more likely what they learn will be applicable to academic performance and increase motivation to succeed in subjects outside of chess. This is particularly the case if students have some choice in what they learn (learn more here and here).

In this post, we share an integrated lesson from the MATCH Chess Curriculum on chess history. We have researched and planned a history unit that includes many famous players for our curriculum, but the concept is simple and can be replicated. Continue reading “Academic Connections: Boost Learning and Develop Context for Chess Games through Chess-based Unit Studies”

MATCH Chess Curriculum Highlights and FAQ

MATCH Chess Curriculum Highlights

What is the MATCH curriculum?

The MATCH curriculum is a comprehensive chess program based on the training methods Grandmaster Maurice Ashley has been using effectively for over 25 years with the students in his classes, camps and private coaching. If you’ve seen Maurice teach, then you know that he keeps his classes moving and entertaining as he instructs with dynamic interaction and fun activities. We’ve taken all of that and crammed it into a curriculum that includes not just the content, but the activities and games that make his teaching so engaging. It is all provided in a digital presentation format so you can easily focus on teaching your students. No more hustling to pull together puzzles or other activities. The lessons are planned out and waiting for you to bring it to life. If you would like, you can also purchase the hard copy student manuals or simply print out the specific resources you want to incorporate. Continue reading “MATCH Chess Curriculum Highlights and FAQ”

De-Escalating Confrontation at Chess Club

How to De-escalate Conflict in Chess Class

By Guest Blogger Coach Jay Stallings

It’s going to happen. A child will be embarrassed about losing to a younger player. A student will accuse another of cheating and you of allowing it. You will offend a student without even realizing it.
What you do next is critical!

First…What NOT to do:

  1. Lose control.
  2. Give the teacher glare
  3. Talk, talk, talk.

If you lose control of yourself, you will lose control of your class, and you will lose the respect of many of your students.

Giving the teacher glare challenges the student and the class and demonstrates that you don’t have the ability to do anything more than that. Continue reading “De-Escalating Confrontation at Chess Club”

Differences in Teaching Chess for Academic Success

Chess instruction for schools

In recent years, interest in chess as a tool for improving the lives of youth has grown. At last year’s London Chess Conference, presenters discussed chess as a therapeutic tool, the value of chess for improving academics, training teachers to teach chess, and more. Increasing numbers of schools are adopting chess as a way to develop cognitive and academic skills based both on the compelling intuitive case and years of accumulated research. Yet, overall research has been mixed (learn more here and here). Factors such as duration, frequency, particular aspects of instruction, instructor chess and teaching skills, coach-student relationship, teacher stereotypes and expectations, parent involvement, student confidence and environment (e.g., classroom space, how well resourced the school is, temperature, time of day) make consistent and comparable experimentation challenging. In addition, the studies conducted rarely implement the same thesis or seek the same outcome (e.g., chess as an intervention for substance abuse versus to improve math skills). Continue reading “Differences in Teaching Chess for Academic Success”

Chess Teacher Shares Her Experience Using the MATCH Curriculum

Krystal Thomas was an undergraduate student with minimal experience with chess when she started teaching chess. She taught for several years as a part of a collaborative research project (learn more about that here and here) that used our curriculum. Continue reading “Chess Teacher Shares Her Experience Using the MATCH Curriculum”

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:
Continue reading “Building a Comprehensive Chess Program with the MATCH Chess Curriculum”