I have found a great resource for starting your own chess club at this link:  http://www.rockfordchess.org/clubs/starting.htm

I loved the table where they discussed “Optimal” vs. “realistic” playing conditions. The school I work at certainly falls under the latter column. Granted, starting a chess club in an after-school program will be challenging but if you persevere it is likely to be a very rewarding and fun experience for the children                                                                        (bonus: parents will appreciate it too!)

How to start a chess Club at your school or after-school program.

Step 1: Find out if your center has the materials needed for starting a chess club. If not, try to purchase three or four chess sets for the club, depending on its size. Local Walmart or Target like stores will likely have inexpensive chess sets. Also determine what age group the club will be for. Is it K-6, middle grade, or high schoolers? This will help you to determine what kind of materials you will need. Older kids and teens may appreciate a Chess Clock.  I have found that younger kids enjoy the No Stress Chess set. It is very useful in teaching younger kids how to play chess.

Step 2: Find a location for the chess club. Preferably tables away from other activities.

Step 3: Pump up and advertise the chess club. Make fliers, put out sign ups.

Step 4: Make it fun. Take the opportunity to teach kids to play chess but also provide fun activities that will get them excited about chess. Rockfordchess.org has a beginner game available called “Rook’s Pawn Hunt.” Kids will also enjoy learning about what all the pieces are and how they can move. Don’t know how to play chess yourself? Here is an awesome tutorial from about.com.

Step 5: Put Chess Club on the schedule-whether it is weekly or bi-weekly. Odds are you will have a small group to start but the club is sure to grow in time. Curious on-lookers may “lurk” at the beginning, but eventually they may be intrigued enough to join you.

Enjoy and checkmate!

 

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