So, your school decided it would be great to have a chess club. When they asked for a volunteer to run the club, you are the only one that did not take a step backward. Now what?
Setting up and running a chess club is not as intimidating as it seems. We have a lot of items here at Wholesale Chess that will make your life easier. Use the questions below to help get you started,
Are you a strong player yourself?
If so, you can probably develop your own lesson plan. However, if you are not as strong as you would like to be, we recommend you pick up the book Teaching Chess in the 21st Century.
This book is broken out into lessons you can use to teach your class or club. The lessons build on each other and help develop math skills as well. While we have used and like this book, there are other good books out there that will work as well. The key is to have a lesson plan prepared before each class so the players don't get bored waiting for you to read the book.
Do you have the right equipment?
There are a few things all chess clubs need. First, you need boards and pieces. For scholastic programs we recommend our Basic Club Combo Sets. These are regulation size boards and pieces. The boards are made of vinyl (almost indestructable) and the pieces come with replacement guarantee if they are lost or broken.
Make sure you have one full set of pieces and one board for every two players. It is no fun to come to chess club and have to watch someone else play. The only way to get better is to play.
For new players, don't worry about chess clocks or timers. New and/or young players will make poor decisions when they feel rushed. Help them learn the fundementals and you can add a timer later.
You are going to want a chess demonstration board. These are large boards that hang on the wall or an easel to show kids moves, etc.
If you have more than a few new players in your club, we recommend a Buddy Board.
These boards are made of the same vinyl as our chess boads and are packed with useful reminders, tips and rules. One of these boards at each game will allow kids to look up their own answers and keep you from running around from board to board.
We recommend chess workbooks for the students to use at home. One of our favorites for young players is Checkmate Ideas for Students.
If you need additional help with your club, check with one of the parents of your kids to see if they can help. An extra set of hands and eyes can be helpful with large groups.
The key is to make the club fun. When the kids are playing, they are having fun. Teach a principle or two, make sure they understand it and then let them play. Walk the floor an find opportunities to reinforce what you have just taught.