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”

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”

Domination ~ A Fun Chess Skill Builder for Helping Students See the Chessboard at a Glance

In this video from our curriculum, GM Ashley instructs students how to play this fun mini-game.

Introduction: At MATCH, we believe that complex skills are more easily learned by breaking them down and studying the component skills in depth. However, traditional drills can be, well, a little boring. So we use mini-games like Domination to make them fun and engaging so students actually want to play them.  All the while, we know they are focusing on developing specific skills without having to simultaneously process the complexities of a full game.

Domination is actually a game about queens, not pawns. The pawns act like queens because they control all the ranks, files and diagonals on which they stand. We only use pawns to play because chess sets do not come with eight queens. Continue reading “Domination ~ A Fun Chess Skill Builder for Helping Students See the Chessboard at a Glance”

10 Great Chess Activities for Clubs, Classes & Schools

Chess Activities for Clubs and Schools

Chess Relay

Divide group into teams.  Each team gets a board.  Teams are set up in two different rooms or far enough away so that they cannot hear the other team’s deliberations.  A third board is placed in the between the two groups with a clock.  The game is played on the middle board, but it is copied on each team’s board.  Runners go to the middle board, make a move, and hit the clock.  If the runner forgets to hit the clock, time continues to run in the other team’s favor.  Ideally, coaches or teachers work with each team on their move, planning ahead while the runner waits for the other team’s move.  Once the other team makes a move, the runner comes back, makes the move on the team board and waits (or another runner gets ready) for the next move.  Teachers and coaches do not offer specific moves, but general help, such as asking questions (e.g., What other moves would be good?  What do you think the other team is planning?). Continue reading “10 Great Chess Activities for Clubs, Classes & Schools”