Time Required:

10 minutes

Tools Required:
  • Small pieces – 1 side of the board per student
  • Colored circles (optional)
  • Instrumental “zany” music (optional)
      Chess Objective(s):

      Students will be able to:

      • Demonstrate piece recognition
      General Objective(s):
      • Improve listening skills
      • Practice basic addition and subtraction
      • Enhance fine motor skills
      Description:

      Sit in a semi-circle with the children. Give each kid one set of the board (16 pieces) and a circle that will be the game board (if you don’t have colored circles, blank paper can work). Ask the children to each count their pieces and see how many they have.

      Now show them how to play. Say a couple of examples slowly with them, such as 

      “Add the king.”
      “Add 2 pawns”
      “Take away 1 pawn”

      Ask if everyone is ready to play for real. Clear the boards. Start zany music. Call out commands. Go a little faster after a few moves. After 5-10 commands, stop the game and music and see who has the right number/kind of pieces on their board. (Obviously you do it too so that you’re correct!)

      If you want to, you can use the games listed below to get you started.

      Watch this video for an example of how this works:

      NOTE: For younger children, simplify the game to use just a few pieces.

      GAME 1
      Add 2 pawns
      Add 1 bishop
      Take away 1 pawn
      Add 1 queen
      Take away 1 pawn
      Add 2 rooks
      Add 1 king
      FINAL TALLY: 1 bishop, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 1 king

      GAME 2
      Add 1 rook
      Add 2 bishops
      Take away 1 bishop
      Add 1 king
      Add 2 knights
      Take away 1 rook
      Add 1 pawn
      FINAL TALLY: 1 bishop, 1 king, 2 knights, 1 pawn

      GAME 3
      Add 2 bishops
      Add 3 pawns
      Take away 1 bishop
      Add 1 knight
      Take away 2 pawns
      Add 1 knight
      Add 1 queen
      Take away 1 pawn
      Add 2 pawns
      Take away 1 knight
      FINAL TALLY: 1 bishop, 2 pawns, 1 knight, 1 queen

      GAME 4
      Add 1 knight
      Add 2 bishops
      Add 1 rook
      Take away 1 knight
      Add 2 pawns
      Add 1 king
      Take away 1 rook
      Add 2 rooks
      Add 2 pawns
      Add 1 pawn
      Take away 1 king
      FINAL TALLY: 2 bishops, 2 rooks, 5 pawns

      Variation 1:

      When children have done this a few times, you can do a version that is like “pin the tail on the donkey” – have them close their eyes, put a giant piece a few steps in front of them, spin them 1-2 times, and let them feel a giant piece to identify it.

      Variation 2:

      Once they learn how the pieces move, have them identify the piece and tell how their piece moves. Optional: let them demonstrate their piece’s movement on the regular size board. 

      Description for Parents

      The children listened to the coach’s instructions to add or take away pieces from their playing boards. At the end of the game, they figured out if they had added the right amount of pieces!