Posted by Ranae Bartlett on 25th Aug 2015
Many people think of chess as an individual sport, driven by the individual player’s ability, work ethic, and ambition to succeed. Certainly, individual effort and ability are important, but playing in team chess events introduces an entirely different dynamic.
Do not underestimate the power inherent in playing as a team or the reward felt by teammates who enjoy a very different level of achievement by participating together.
In the 2015 annual report by USCF President Ruth Haring, the observation is made that "kids like team tournaments." The team dynamic is an important part in retaining chess players.
I have seen team esprit de corps fuel individual success, and that is a winning combination. Playing in teams makes chess fun!
Team chess is my favorite aspect of coaching.
Most team awards in chess tournaments, including national tournaments, are derived from the top three or four individual scores from a section of players. Half the battle is having enough students show up in any given section to compete.
This is no small task -- today kids are pulled in many different directions, and it can be hard for chess to compete with other sports, other academic teams, music and arts events, etc.
When introducing competitive chess to kids, especially young ones, remember that it needs to be fun. Children are social and want to socialize with each other. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard parents relay that the reason their children want to play in chess tournaments that last all day long is to hang out with their friends. That makes me smile.
In our community, chess has become a cool thing to do. I see our elementary chess kids wearing their chess team shirts on Friday night at football games. I see kids bringing their chess sets with them to play at some of the most unlikely places: recess, sporting events, coffee shops, and the YMCA.
I don’t think this would have happened if we did not have strong chess teams competing and building team spirit.
Here are some suggestions on how you can build team spirit in your chess club.
How to build team spirit:
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