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Q: What is Chess in Education?
A: Chess in Education focuses on using chess as an educational tool. The goal is to engage and equip students for success in and beyond the classroom. This is in contrast to chess programs that have as their primary goal preparation for competitive play.

Q: I am a parent who doesn’t play chess. Is it possible for me to teach my child, or at least get them interested in chess?
A: Yes!  John Foley, Secretary of the European Chess Union Education Commission and a member of our Chess in Education Coalition, offers this advice to parents. It’s easier than you might think!

Teaching Chess in Ten Simple Steps

Q: What do parents need to know (and what should educators and chess instructors tell parents) about chess didactics and technology to engage their kids with chess?

A: Interested parents can make a big difference in your child’s engagement with chess. Here is advice for parents:

  1. Give encouragement. Games should be fun. Give lots of praise. Tell stories. Talk through your moves giving explanations. Don’t interrupt if the child is thinking. Nurture the power of concentration.
  2. Learn how the pieces move. There are many wonderful books and websites that teach chess basics (including some of our CIE Council members – add link for the resources page)
  3. Enjoy playing simple games; chess can wait. This is particularly true when teaching young beginners. See Teaching Chess in Ten Simple Steps for examples.
  4. Ask questions. Even parents with minimal chess knowledge can ask some basic questions that apply in almost any position.- Why did you make that move?
    – What is your opponent trying to do?
    – If you could make three moves what would they be? Find some learning points – things to remember for next time. Seek statements involving the word “if”. For example, “If you had moved there, then I would have moved there.”
  5. When offering chess counsel, limit advice-giving to two pieces of advice at a time.


Q: How can teachers find time to teach chess?
A: Chess as an enrichment activity can be introduced in a variety of ways. Before or after school programs offer opportunities to learn the game. A class devoted to chess can be an alternative to music or art classes. Chess can be the vehicle for teaching curriculum standards during a normal
class period. No matter which setting is chosen, teachers can show students how to link chess skills to those skills needed to be successful in and beyond the classroom.

Q: If chess is taught during instructional time during the day, doesn’t it compete for time with more important subjects like math or language arts?
A: Using chess as a teaching tool actually saves time. After introducing the basics of chess, teachers can link elements of the game to curriculum standards, critical thinking skills, and 21st Century skills. Chess increases student engagement which can improve retention, focus, perseverance in problem-solving, and more. Students who are engaged and focused learn faster, saving instruction time. Improvement of chess skills can occur in an after-school setting or using online resources as supplementary materials.

Q: Will teaching chess improve student test scores?
A: Teaching chess can improve thinking skills necessary to figure out answers they don’t know by rote. Chess also increases motivation to come to school and for older students, to stay in school. Playing chess increases self-esteem. When students feel smart, they are willing to take on challenging tasks and attempt to overcome barriers.

Q: How can I start a chess program in my school when there are few to no expert chess players available to teach or coach the students?
A: Classroom teachers are often in the best position to introduce the game of chess to their students. Teachers can not only help students learn how to play, but also how to draw on the skills introduced in chess to challenges in and beyond the classroom. To discover a variety of program options, visit CIE Approaches on the Learn page for more information.

Q: What if I don’t know how to play chess? How can I learn?
A: Online tutorial programs are available to learn how to play chess. In addition, your school district could schedule a professional development with the goal of introducing the game and
connecting it to academic instruction and 21st Century skills.

Q: Is chess beneficial for all students? I always thought it was only good for gifted students.
A: Playing chess sharpens thinking skills, increases self-esteem, and strengthens executive functions (necessary precursors to academic achievement) for students performing at all levels. Therefore, it is not just a game for gifted students.

Q: Why should students play chess if they don’t participate in competitive tournaments? Shouldn’t all students who play be pushed to perform at a high level in competitions?
A: Competitive chess can be a good complement to a CIE program and serve as a motivator for some students. Not all students enjoy the competitive aspect of chess but can still benefit from the skills introduced by the game.

Q: Are there different varieties of CIE programs?
A: Yes. To learn more, go to the CIE Approaches page under the Learn menu.

Q: What other considerations (besides CIE variety) are important in designing a CIE program?
A: Key considerations include:
• Will the program be mandatory or optional?
• Which grades?
• When: [In class (if so which classes), before/after school, weekends, summer camps?
• What teacher training will be needed?
• What teacher support will be offered? [For example, curriculum, lesson plans, training
materials, help desk]
• What should be the organizational scope? Single school? Local school system? State/country-wide?
Learn more on these and other considerations by clicking Implementing CIE on our Learn page.

Q: How should I decide what type of Chess in Education organization is right for my school(s)?
A: The choice of a CIE program design should be based on an organization’s assessment of its:
• educational goals
• environment (social, political, demographic)
• resources.
Learn more about CIE assessment by  clicking Implementing CIE on the Learn page.

Q: Where can I go for help?
A: Sponsors of this site offer services and products to support CIE programs. These are a mix of commercial and non-profit organizations with links to website pages describing their services. Contact a CIE Coalition member.


Q: Where can I find research about chess?
A: Chess in education research is an emerging field of study both within the United States and internationally. Visit our Research page under the Learn menu.

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