Our second pre-chess game follows on from the pawn game.

Now we introduce the bishop.

Here’s one way schools might choose to use pre-chess games:

  1. Demonstrate the game to the whole school during assembly.
  2. Announce a date, perhaps in two weeks’ time, for an inter-class (or inter-house, or whatever you prefer) competition.
  3. Email the parents with the rules of the game and details of the competition.
  4. Publish this on the school website and in the school newsletter.
  5. Display posters in classrooms explaining the rules.
  6. Encourage children to practise the game during breaks or before school.
  7. Run a tournament over half an hour at lunchtime on the agreed date, using the methods outlined here.

As this is an asymmetrical game you might, if you have time, arrange for each pair of players to play twice, once with each colour. If you’re using this as a teaching activity you might also want to experiment with the pawns starting on different squares.

Here’s the starting position. If you don’t have chess sets, use different coloured counters, perhaps choosing a larger counter for the bishop.


The rules:

The bishop moves and captures diagonally, capturing by landing on the square of a black pawn.
The pawns move as in the first pre-chess game.

White wins by capturing or blocking all the black pawns.

Black wins by capturing the white bishop or by getting a pawn to the end of the board SAFELY (where it cannot be captured). So if Black moves a pawn to b1 and the white bishop is on c2, the bishop can capture it and the game continues.

You can play the game online here (the computer doesn’t play very well so you might well win with either colour).


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