Help with Chess Activities

Improving Your Chess

For now check out the other sites on the web listed on out links page.


Running a Tournament

More information will be available soon.  For now, the following may be useful to tournament organizers:


Organizing a Club

If you are a teacher, or parent interested in setting up a school chess program in your school, there are many avenues open to you. The path you take should be dictated by your familiarity with the game and the support network you have available to you.

Gauging the Level of Interest in Your School:

It is first suggested that you gauge the level of interest by sending home a notice or form to determine interest. Once youíve considered the feedback weíve provided below, draft your notice to parents.

Your Experience:

You donít need to be an experienced chess player to run a chess club. If your school is an elementary school, these kids often want nothing more than a place to play and other kids to play with. You can, if you wish, limit the club size initially to those who have experience playing chess and expand it later to include novice chess players. You might, as well, appeal to parents who play chess to assist you.

Should you want instructional material, this can be obtained at no cost from the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC) web site ( Just click on the web address and when youíre on the CFC site, click on "Free Stuff for Schools". This will direct you to the free training manual available for teachers. You can review the manualís lesson plan and when ready order your free copy by filling in the information as requested. Later you will be contacted by e-mail by CFC and told where you can go download a copy of this instructional manual.

Duration of Club Meetings:

The duration of club meetings can vary to suit the time available to you. The length of time required to play a game of chess by players in lower grades (K to 6) may range from 5 minutes if the players are unevenly matched up to 30 minutes for the more serious players more evenly matched. For planning purposes, it is recommended that the duration of your chess club meetings should be no less than 30 minutes and no longer than 90 minutes. Less than 30 minutes and the more serious players might not get to finish a game, resulting in frustration, while more than 90 minutes might tend to exceed the concentration span of younger players.

Obtaining Equipment:

Chess sets are really all you need to start. Chess sets for schools come in tubes convenient for quick access and easy storage. These sets consist of sturdy plastic pieces and a durable roll-up vinyl mat. The sets can be acquired directly from the Chessín Math Association (, a nationally based organization promoting chess in schools across Canada. The phone number for Chessín Math is (514) 845-8352 (Montreal). Ask for "The Complete Chess Set". It is recommended that your club acquire a minimum of 5 to 10 sets to start out. The time frame to acquire these sets is usually around 5 working days from the placement of the order. The cost of acquiring 10 sets is less than 150 dollars including tax. If you reside in or near St. Johnís, we would be more than happy to place this order for you.

Suggestions for Funding for your School Club:

To expedite setting up your club, we recommend that you obtain some block funding to acquire the initial 10 chess sets. Potential sources available to you would be the school through your school principal, or your school council. To ensure that the interest of club members is genuine, we suggest that you charge a small fee to join the club. This should be no more than 10 dollars in an effort to maximize the number of children participating. Use this money to maintain your club over the school year.

Holding Tournaments:

Holding tournaments within your club is a good way to prepare your players to play in tournaments against other schools. Each year our association runs a number of local tournaments for schools in the St. Johnís area. Additionally, we run at least 2 nationally sponsored tournaments where the winners represent the province in the National finals usually held in other provinces.

Playing in tournaments is the only way to gauge the development of your club members. The easy way for you to do this in your club is to group those children interested in groups of 4 players or 6 players. Once done hold a simple round robin match where each player is paired against each other player in that group. You assign 1 point for each win, Ĺ point for a draw and 0 points for a loss. If you have more than 1 group, take either the top player or top 2 players in each group and combine them later to form a single group and repeat the process. Click here to obtain round-robin pairing sheets to record your results.

Rating your tournaments is a great way to keep younger kids interested. Each child who plays will get a scholastic rating from the Chessín Math Association. This rating indicates the skill level of a player relative to all other players across Canada. To rate your tournament you need only keep a record of the results of your tournament for each and every game played and provide it to our association. We will forward it to the Chessín Math Association and they will issue your player(s) with a computer generated Ďidí and a rating based on their performance in the tournament. The cost for rating a tournament is $0.50 for each player entered. Ratings are updated on a weekly basis on both the Chessín Math website and our website (

When to Hold Your Chess Club:

There are several options open to you, each one having certain advantages and disadvantages. Consider each one carefully weighing the time you have available. If youíre flexible, you might ask parents to indicate their preference in your notice home.

Lunch-Hour Chess:

A lunch-hour program held in a spare room like the Art room or Resource room. Alternatively, if you have a small group, a classroom will do. If you donít want to get too involved, your club could simply be the kids in your home classroom.

This format is geared towards a meeting of 1 hour duration. As itís being held during the school day, you maximize your opportunity to involve more children. The disadvantage is that it may be difficult to have parents assist you. If youíre familiar with chess, this might be the best format for you.

After-School Chess:

An alternative to a lunch-hour program would be the after-school format. This format typically attracts the greatest number of kids. It might also offer you some support by parents willing to stay behind and assist. The main disadvantage is that after-school kids are often tired. Consequently you might want to limit the time to 45 minutes to1 hour.

Evening or Weekend Chess:

Evening or weekend chess in your school is recommended for consideration only after youíve established your chess club, i.e. you might consider it after you have one year under your belt. This format usually attracts those kids more serious about playing chess. It is beneficial in that it offers you an opportunity to draw upon a larger number of parents with playing skill. You might want to consider this approach if your chess skills are limited and you can draw on parents interested in assisting you.

A Final Word:

Our association is here for your support. If you run into difficulty or need ideas just give us a call. We exist to promote and encourage chess in schools all across Newfoundland and Labrador.