In an ideal world, your primary school will ensure that as many children as possible know the moves of the pieces and are encouraged to play mini games. You will also provide facilities for children to play social chess at appropriate times during the school day.

While many children will be happy just to have learnt a skill, or just enjoy playing social chess, there will be some who want to play competitive chess. Of course you might introduce competitive chess, just as you might introduce minichess, though inter-class, inter-house or inter-year matches.

Beyond that there’s an exciting world of chess competitions for children to enjoy. You might want to arrange matches against other schools in your area. Some areas also run inter-school competitions, which are great fun for everyone.

If you’re in the UK your school will also want to take part in the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge (a timely reminder that your school can now enter the 2019 competition). You run an internal competition over 7 rounds: the best boy and girl in each year qualifies for the next stage, competing against qualifiers from other schools in your area. For more serious schools, the English Chess Federation and the English Primary Schools Chess Association also run competitions between schools.

If you’re promoting competitive chess, this is where you’ll probably want a professional chess tutor to provide instruction which will help your children succeed at competitive levels. There’s a lot to learn if you want to be a strong player, and a lot for your children to learn if you’d like your school to be a serious chess school.

If, however, you’re doing what most schools do and running a chess club in which there will be some children who want to learn how to play, some who just want to play social chess, and some who want to play competitive chess, it’s not easy for the chess tutor to cater for all three groups at the same time.

My assumption is that, as the children have no other opportunity to play chess with their friends during the week, I’ll let them play most of the time, but use a competitive format and expect them to follow competition rules and etiquette (I’ll return to this in a later post). I’ll only do a lesson if there’s time at the end once all the children have finished their games.

If there are any children who want higher level instruction I’ll recommend to their parents that they join an external junior chess club or have private tuition.


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