In the fall of 2022, US Chess launched a new Chess in Education committee and program to provide resources to teachers, schools, districts, and state boards of education so they can leverage chess as an educational tool.
We absolutely agree with US Chess that “chess is transformative for children by improving their focus, aiding in decision making, and teaching that choices have consequences — lifelong skills that can be immediately applied in the classroom,” so we are excited that they are continuing their Outreach Program for At-Risk Youth.
At the Indermaur Chess Foundation, we partner with NC schools to offer these and other benefits of chess to all students, especially those at risk, through our Game Changer Program. We provide each school accepted into our program with 5 chess sets, Chess Step instructional materials, ChessKid.com subscriptions, and online support.
“We are so appreciative of all you have done, and we look forward to working with the Indermaur Chess Foundation to expose our students to this awesome game/experience. Our chess club will meet three days a week after school, and we plan to incorporate it into our AVID college readiness program,” explained Dwaynna Ramsay-Morgan, Vance County Middle School teacher and chess club leader.
“You’ll be happy to know that student interest is high, and the club is very lively. I’ve been reading the book that you sent with the sets to become a better trainer myself. I very much look forward to the opportunity to send students to tournaments,” said Nikola Filajdic, Graham High School teacher and chess club leader.
If you’re interested in starting a chess club at your NC school, consider applying to our Game Changer Program! Let us know if you’re a Title I school so we can also apply for the US Chess program on your behalf.
If you know a student who’s looking for ways to get in some service hours, here’s a creative idea: how about hosting a chess tournament for charity?
That’s exactly what a group of Enloe High School Student Council members, in cooperation with the Enloe chess club, did last month to support Charity Ball, an annual philanthropic event that has raised well over $1 million for various community nonprofits since it was created by an Enloe student in 2004.
The single elimination tournament, which took place right after the school day ended, included 32 participants and raised over $200 by charging a small entry fee. The winner was awarded a gift basket filled with candy, a prize anyone would love!
Why not plan a charity event for your club? Please add a comment below to let us know how it went!
Would you like to keep your high school chess club meeting online or start a new online club during the pandemic?
Your friends will really appreciate you running the club during this challenging time. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different things to see what works best for your club. There are several free platforms that you can use to play like chess.com and lichess.org. These articles describe how to use their club/team features:
Since other high school clubs are also meeting online, you could arrange some friendly online matches with other NC schools. Your school’s foreign language teachers may have relationships with high schools in other countries, so they may be able to help you arrange a match with one of those schools.
Please add comments to let us know what works (and what didn’t work) for your club.
Would you like to start a chess club at your high school?
Several NC high schools have started chess clubs through our Game Changer Program. The teachers sponsoring these clubs and the students leading them provided these suggestions based on their experience:
1) Find a sponsor and a meeting location. Ask a teacher to sponsor your chess club, let you meet in their classroom, and let you store chess sets and clocks there. If you are not sure which teacher to ask, try contacting STEM teachers first.
2) Contact the PTA to officially register your club. Find out if there used to be a chess club. If so, ask who might know where their chess sets are. Ask if there is a small amount of funding left in this year’s PTA budget to buy a few more chess sets. Also ask for an amount to be allocated in next year’s budget.
3) Pick a meeting day and time with your sponsoring teacher. If your school has a common lunch period, meeting during lunch would allow more students to participate. If not, then pick a day when the club could meet after school that would not compete with activities that chess club members might also want to do.
4) Publicize your club. Find out how to publish information about the club on the school website and in the PTA newsletter. Find out when the Open House for the next school year will be and ask if the chess club can have a table there. Set up a chess set there and answer questions.
6) Start playing chess! Some of your stronger players could also teach some lessons.
Once the club is underway, club members could set goals like these:
Take a club photo for the yearbook. This will help publicize your club.
If at least four students are interested, play as a team in a local team tournament or in the next NC K-12 Championship. If you do well, submit your results to be included in the school announcements and PTA newsletter and display your trophy at school. This will also help publicize your club.
In the spring time, arrange a friendly match with the middle schools that feed your school. This would be fun and would help recruit players for the following year.
Design a club t-shirt
If a club member has contacts with a school in another country through their family or through the foreign language department, arrange a friendly online match using a combination of chess.com and Zoom or similar tools.
If any of the chess club members need community service hours, they could volunteer with the chess clubs at the middle schools or elementary schools that feed your school. They could also hold a tournament or simultaneous exhibition to raise money for a charity.
Please add comments with your suggestions for high school chess clubs! Thank you.