Teachers and Coaches

(11th Edition)


Dear Administrator, Teacher, or Coach:

This guide was created to help teachers and scholastic chess organizers who wish to begin, improve, or strengthen their school chess program. It covers how to organize a school chess club, run tournaments, keep interest high, and generate administrative, school district, parental and public support.

I would like to thank the United States Chess Federation Club Development Committee, especially former Chairman Randy Siebert, for allowing us to use the framework of The Guide to a Successful Chess Club (1985) as a basis for this book.

In addition, I want to thank FIDE Master Tom Brownscombe (NV), National Tournament Director, and the United States Chess Federation (US Chess) for their continuing help in the preparation of this publication. Scholastic chess, under the guidance of US Chess, has greatly expanded and made it possible for the wide distribution of this Guide. I look forward to working with them on many projects in the future.

The following scholastic organizers reviewed various editions of this work and made many suggestions, which have been included.

Thanks go to Jay Blem (CA), Leo Cotter (CA), Stephan Dann (MA), Bob Fischer (IN), Doug Meux (NM), Andy Nowak (NM), Andrew Smith (CA), Brian Bugbee (NY), WIM Beatriz Marinello (NY), WIM Alexey Root (TX), Ernest Schlich (VA), Tim Just (IL), Karis Bellisario and many others too numerous to mention.

Finally, a special thanks to my wife, Susan, who has been patient and understanding.

Dewain R. Barber

This publication is provided FREE to all schools and scholastic organizers. It is not to be sold for profit.

Contents copyright ©1986, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2017 American Chess Equipment, 444 E. Gardena Blvd, Building A
Gardena, CA. 90248

Republication or widespread copying of all other portions of this publication without the written consent of American Chess Equipment is forbidden.

Below is an excerpt from this wonderful publication. The complete publication is available to download in the link provided below.

Should I Start a Scholastic Chess Club?

Should you become involved in starting a club in your school? Yes! It’s not at all necessary for you to be an “expert” player, or even to know how the pieces move!

Every school in the country has kids likely to have had some exposure to chess from family plus more who would like to learn. “No one at our school plays chess” is not an acceptable excuse. Most of the time kids are interested in learning and only need someone to organize and supervise them.

This guidebook offers the resources and assistance needed in meeting the possible obstacles you might face in starting a club. Along the way you will find that many of your questions will be answered. If you have not already done so, you may want to find out the location of the nearest chess club or scholastic/school club. The United States Chess Federation (abbreviated US Chess) and your state chapter is the best sources of information on officially affiliated club locations, scholastic organizers and coaches in your area.

These contacts can help direct you further in your efforts to organize a club or locate other active scholastic chess programs within your area. Other information sources include local schools, school district offices, newspapers, libraries, chess and game stores, on-line chess stores, your local recreation office, plus Boys and Girls clubs or scout troop leaders. You might also consider contacting your local or state Department of Education.

By all means, you should start a club if you have some support from students and the willingness to expend the moderate amount of energy and leadership it will take to make your club a success. Gain support from the school board, parents, your principal, and other teachers as soon as possible. Their aid will be useful later as the club becomes more active.

The fact that the National Association of Secondary School Principals regularly includes the National High School Chess Championship and the National Scholastic K-12 Grade Chess Championships on its “National Advisory List of Contests and Activities” may be of value in gaining official support for your club. Learn more about these, and other, National events here: https://www.uschess.org/index.php/Calendars/National-Events-Calendar.html


Who? What? When and How Often? Where? Why? How?

Reporters know that their stories should answer the basic questions—Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? These are the right questions for other projects too—including school chess clubs.


Hopefully you are probably not alone in your interest—yet you may have been assigned to the chess club. Fear not, we are here to help you. Finding a couple of students is all it takes to start a successful school club. Together you can attract other students. Consider involving youngsters at your school who are in special programs—people with learning, developmental, or physical challenges, as well as the gifted. Personal growth has no limit. Your school administration will be pleased to see these youngsters taking an active role in your school sponsored activity. Avoid stereotyping who would be interested in chess. We have seen school programs where the top player is also one of the top athletes, or top academic students, as well as the struggling student who benefits from finding his/her niche.

As noted in “Chess Clubs and Chess Players” (see page 5) the school chess club is both an educational and social activity. It provides those who know how to play and those interested in learning the game a place to meet, play, learn, teach, and develop friendships. However, a club should not be a place to “hang out,” “kill time,” or avoid academic work. The chess club at a school can and should be fun, but it is a learning experience above all else.


Your students, and your enthusiasm, will draw in others. Students or community volunteers can assist you in deciding what kinds of activities you should have, but it will be useful for you to have a plan for the first several meetings.

The folks at Chess Kid have designed an extensive chess curriculum that any teacher can use, even those unfamiliar with chess. It meets the learning objectives that will please administrators and parents alike. It is nicely organized and laid out. The lessons are incremental, and as long as you are a couple lessons ahead of the students, you will be able to share the information effectively. You can find your free copy here: https://www.chesskid.com/article/view/chesskidcoms-curriculum. For those who prefer a simple over view of lessons plans, without the details of a curriculum, will find this at-a-glance topic list helpful: https://www.chessmagnetschool.com/lesson_guide.php

Also, set goals with your students; decide what you and the players wish to accomplish by the end of the first three months. Before announcing the get-acquainted organizational meeting in the student bulletin and posted fliers, plan a specific agenda. Don’t forget to play some chess too! Most students attracted to chess have a need for structure and rules. Experiment with various activities to determine what is successful in your club.

Keep reading the “A Guide to Scholastic Chess” 11th Edition – download the complete publication below!

Click Here to Download the complete Guide To Scholastic Chess 11th Edition (PDF)
A Beginner’s Guide To Coaching Scholastic Chess by Ralph E. Bowman
Copyright © 2006

I have had many beginning coaches/parents approach me with questions about coaching this wonderful game. What is contained in this book is a compilation of the answers to those questions.

This book is designed with three types of persons in mind:

a teacher who has been asked to sponsor a Chess team,
parents who want to start a team at the school for their child and his/her friends, and
a Chess player who wants to help a local school but has no experience in either Scholastic Chess or working with schools. Much of the book is composed of handouts I have given to students and coaches over the years.
Download A Beginners Guide to Coaching Scholastic Chess (PDF)