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RE: chess clubs for youths  Fred Kirchner
 Nov 06, 2010 13:11 PST 

I run a chess club at my library (monthly) and previously coached chess at an elementary school where I taught.

One way to help the kids with chess (and with English) is to teach them chess notation. If the kids are new to English, this will help them learn some letters and numbers. First, though, they have to master the basic rules. Take it piece by piece. Start out new players with a pawn game (only pawns on the board). First to break through and reach the other's back rank wins. Make sure then know the basic pawn moves & captures.

Then add the major pieces one by one: knight, bishop, rook, queen... Once you start adding major pieces the object of the pawn game is to capture all of your opponents pawns, but you can only capture with a major piece.

Chess puzzles are also good. I frequently use them with my group. The book Square One by Bruce Pandolfini is a good place to start, but there are tons of chess puzzles online.

Another great resource is the CD-Rom Maurice Ashley Teaches Chess. Maurice Ashley is the first African-American chess grandmaster and the ESPN Chess Commentator. Very fun CD!

The best way to gauge players' strengths is to play them oneself and see how their game is. You can also see who can solve chess puzzles involving 'mate in one'--those who can see the solutions quickly are usually the strongest players.

Hope this helps! It's hard, though, to work with novice and experienced players at the same time. Maybe you could have the novices come one week, or a tad early, and do some work with them.

good luck,

Fred Kirchner
Teen Librarian
Wilmington Stroop Branch Library
3980 Wilmington Pike
Dayton OH 45429

...in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.

Anne Frank (1929-1945)

-----Original Message-----
From: MacFarquhar, Carole (NBPLS/SBPNB) [mailto:Carole.Ma-@gnb.ca]
Sent: Sat 11/6/2010 3:51 PM
To: taga-@topica.com
Subject: {TAGAD-L} chess clubs for youths

Does anyone have any experience with chess clubs.

I have a base participant group of "newcomer" students (mostly Korean), ranging from 7 to 14 years old. Some play chess now, some wish to learn.

The chess club is scheduled for 1 to 2 hours every Saturday afternoon. It is open to the general public but at this time it is all Newcomers. The goal is to offer a place to play chess and develop skills, while practicing English.

I have 7 or 8 chess sets for 10 to 20 students, and 2 skilled players (a parent volunteer and a staff member) who are the "advisors". I play too, but at a fairly basic level, and I won't be available every week. I do have 2 mothers volunteering to supervise, but they don't play chess. My plan is to have several games going at once, and anyone not playing can learn by observing other games.

I am looking for ideas how to match the players, how to help them learn without having 1 "advisor" per board, etc. Or any other tips you might have.

Thanks in advance,
Carole MacFarquhar
Saint John Free Public Library
Saint John, New Brunswick

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