Complex concepts are broken down and studied in depth before being taught as a whole.


Lessons designed to emphasize aspects of chess thought to improve executive functions such as the ability to reason, plan ahead, multi-task, sustain attention and delay gratification.


Opportunities to highlight student achievements via level system.


Emphasis on strengthening connections between chess and other subjects in order to maximize academic benefits.


Includes research-based techniques for encouraging the continued participation of diverse student populations, including those who may not be initially attracted to chess



Each Unit centers around a slide presentation which includes each topic in a clear, engaging and concise manner, including all necessary diagrams! No more struggling to set up diagrams with a demonstration board while your students lose focus. These presentations are easily administered by someone with minimal chess knowledge and a pre-Unit review. Units also include fun quiz questions to assure that your students have understood the material.


Each Unit includes activities to reinforce topics. Activities are varied to appeal to those with learning styles and interests, exercise important cognitive skills and improve generalization to other subject areas.


The student workbooks include opportunities for additional reinforcement of each Unit. These are brief, but provide essential review, especially for cases where students have only one weekly class.


The teacher's manual includes a lesson plan for each Unit. Each lesson plan includes a description of each activity, materials needed, and any other information needed to conduct the lesson. All important aspects of the lesson itself, however, are included in the classroom presentation so that you aren't left having to refer back and forth to the lesson plan in order to deliver the lesson. The lesson plan also includes a sort of 'cheat sheet' for any vocabulary or concepts so that you will have that handy during your lesson, just in case.


The curriculum has numerous videos embedded in the presentations to help bring the curriculum to life, encourage Some videos, like this one, were recorded at the beautiful World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Students and explain complex topics. In addition, the website includes an extensive library of training videos to explain and demonstrate concepts, activities and processes to teachers who may be new to chess and/or our training methods. These videos include topics such as how to know when your students are ready to participate in scholastic tournaments, how to teach each skill builder and game, and how to run small tournaments in your classroom.


Skill builders and games are used throughout the curriculum to provide reinforcement of important concepts in an engaging way. By using a game format, students are more willing to engage in the repeated practice needed to master these skills. Pawn Mower is an example of the type of game used. This puzzle is fun in its own right. Even non-chess players enjoy figuring out these simple, but effective puzzles. Meanwhile, beginning students are reinforcing how the pieces move and advanced students are improving board visualization. Like Pawn Mower, most of the skill builders are designed to get more difficult as students improve so that they remain useful throughout the program.

Curriculum Highlights


The lessons include digital animations so that you never have to fumble around setting up diagrams. You can use easy navigation to move forward or backward as needed.


Lessons end with an interactive quiz to reinforce the lesson content. Answers popup with a click or a tap of the screen. If you are using touchscreen technology, students love to come up to the board and tap the answer.


Lessons are peppered with videos from GM Ashley describing activities, presenting enrichment content, and introducing topics.


Sample schedule helps keep you organized


Lesson plans make preparation for each lesson easy and efficient


Student homework is designed to reinforce the lesson or help students generalize what they have learned to other subjects and everyday life. Answer sheets make grading easy.


All activities are described in detail in the lesson plan. Instructional videos for teachers by GM Ashley are available for many of the activities and games to reinforce written instructions.


Lessons include a notes section to provide additional information or possible alternative answers so that you won’t be left unable to answer one of your student’s questions.


Simple forms allow you to easily track what your students have learned.


Chess Training

  • The Board
  • The Rook
  • The Bishop
  • The Queen
  • The Knight
  • The King
  • The Pawn
  • Check
  • Checkmate
  • Stalemate and Other Draws
  • The Center
  • Basic Opening Principles
  • Scholar’s Mate
  • Material Value
  • Trades
  • After the Opening
  • Basic Checkmates
  • The TRIP Method of Defense
  • Passed Pawns
  • Sacrifices
  • Tournament Play
  • Algebraic Notation & Game Analysis
  • Chess-related Life Skills
  • Chess History

Skill Builders & Chess Variants

  • Square Biz - Learn the squares in a fast paced fun way.
  • Pawn Mower - Can one piece capture all the pawns in a row?
  • Escape - One piece tries to run away from a gang of others chasing it.
  • Quibs - Two bishops try to avoid the hungry appetite of a voracious queen.
  • Wolf - Only one piece is safe to eat...or disaster awaits!
  • Attack - Find all the squares from which one piece can zero in to threaten the enemy.
  • Invisible Piece - Find the invisible piece by following its shadow squares of influence.
  • Knight Concentration - Can you remember the knights trail across the board?
  • Domination (Nice or Mean) - Own the board before the opponent owns you! A mistake can be retracted...or not!
  • Touchdown (King or Pawn) - Race a king (or pawn) down the board to score!
  • Kings Face Off - Which king will make it to the other side?
  • Build a Mate - Create your own mate using the pieces given.
  • Mate is Fate - Finding checkmate is the name of the game!
  • Piece vs Pawns - Can a given piece take down an armada of pawns?
  • Simple Chess - Build up your skills one piece (with pawns) at a time.
  • Pawn Game - The pawns race to see which one will arrive first to the other side.
  • Progressive Chess - Players keep getting more and more moves in a row until one side wins.
  • Giveaway Chess - The opposite of chess, the person who gives away all the pieces wins!

Student Section

Homework (book or pdf form), Chess puzzles, Biographies of famous chess players, Progress checklists, Assignment tracking sheets, Scoresheets, Embedded videos by GM Ashley.

Coach/Teacher Section

Slideshow based lessons with animated diagrams & complete explanations, Complete lesson plans in pdf and/or book formats, Interactive and engaging lessons, Hands-on activities and fun, game-based drills to reinforce the lessons, Printable handouts, Complementary discussion-based activities to reinforce important life skills, Integrated multi-subject activities to encourage generalization to academic areas (including integrated chess math problems and a special chess math module), Links to complementary videos on the web, Recommendations for other supplementary material to enrich lessons, Tests to assess learning at each level, Checklist for tracking student progress, Sample Schedules, Video-based teacher training, Full instructions for running small tournaments and more.



There are many studies that suport the benefits of chess for supporting the benefits of chess for academic, social and behavioral success. GM Ashley's book Chess for Success is a great resource for learning about the benefits of chess. You can also check out the research page on the USCF website.


Thank you so much for your interest in our program. Once you have purchased the curriculum and needed supplies, you (or whomever will conduct the lessons) will need to familiarize yourself with the curriculum. Though the curriculum is designed to be minimalize the amount of preparation time needed, some review time is still essential. Students are always more engaged when the lessons flow smoothly. You will also need to settle on a location, time and frequency for the classes. We offer consultation and training which is particularly helpful if you are planning to offer the program to a large group or groups and/or if no one in your group plays chess. Please contact us for more information about your needs.


Yes and no. Yes, you can teach the lessons if you do not know how to play chess now; however, you will need to learn. While teaching chess can be intimidating, our program has been used successfully by those who started out not knowing how to play. The curriculum was designed with this in mind. For example, we rely on animations of chess diagrams and piece movement rather than teacher modeled diagrams played out on a demonstration board. You won't need to fumble around with moving pieces or remember where pieces were. Simply click or tap to move through diagrams. Important vocabulary and more detailed information is included in the notes section and summarized in the lesson plan. That said, we do recommend that you endeavor to learn how to play chess ahead of your students. One easy option is to begin working through GM Ashley's app Learn Chess with Maurice Ashley. A few minutes here and there and you will be playing chess before you know it.


Beyond the curriculum, a computer or tablet, a screen and a projector, few supplies are needed. You will need chess boards and sets (at minimum one for every two players and a couple of extras just in case), a demonstration board, and a digital chess clock (eventually). Other supplies are minimal and depend on which activities you choose. You will also need to print activity sheets, homework assignments, etc.


Our programs are paid for in a variety of ways. Some schools pay for the program directly. Other schools rely on the PTA, participation fees, grants, fundraisers, or other sources.



Our curriculum relies on slide presentations in order to present the lesson in a format that is easily presented by people with varying levels of chess skills. Therefore, you will need a computer or tablet (see below for tablet requirements) to run the lessons. You will also need an internet connection. You will play the presentations using your browser. We have tested all of the most popular browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.), so we know they all work. There are so many variations in various setups, that we recommend that you use our sample lesson to test yours. If you wish to project the lessons, you will also need a projector (compatible with your device/computer), required connectors (usually VGA) and a screen or SmartBoard. If you are planning to show the curriculum via a school or other organization's internet connection, we strongly suggest that you test out the system prior to your first class. In order to protect students, some systems block certain websites (and need to insert an exception for new sites), require permission to upgrade or install a particular browser, restrict access to their internet system to known devices and/or require a separate password to gain access to unfamiliar sites. Usually these issues are easily resolved, but a little time is often required. What can you do if you cannot update or install a new browser? A simple workaround is to install a portable version of Mozilla Firefox or Chrome on a flash/thumb drive. This will allow you to run your preferred browser on any computer. It will even save your user name and password. We do request that, if you choose this option, you password protect your thumb drive (which you should probably do anyway) or don't allow it to save your password. The key is to be sure that you choose your thumb drive when asked where to install the program. You will probably have to hit "browse" to navigate to the thumb drive.


Windows Internet Explorer is a special case. The web is moving toward HTML5. By using HTML5, we can eliminate Flash from our curriculum which allows it to run on iDevices without special browsers. The lastest version of Explorer (Version 11) supports HTML5. So most users will be able to use the curriculum with Explorer. If you are not using 11, a simple upgrade will allow you to run the curriculum. Some of you will be unable to upgrade because Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP. Therefore, they did not configure new versions of Explorer to work with XP and the old versions do not support HTML 5. What does this mean for XP users? You will need to use a different browser to run our curriculum. Any of the others will work.


In order to project the slide show, any tablet you use will need to permit mirroring. We know that the iPad 2 and forward do allow mirroring. However, there are so many tablets out there these days, we cannot guarantee that any particular tablet has this feature.