How to start an Elementary School Chess Club

Start an Elementary School Chess Club

This lens is devoted to information and resources for anyone interested in starting an elementary school chess club.

My son (3rd grade) loves to play chess and has been playing with his Dad for several years.  One day I said "Do you think we should have a chess club at your school?"  His answer was an enthusiastic YES. 

I had no clue what I was doing, but muddled my way through to start a chess club at his elementary school. (I'm not even a good chess player!)  I was pleased and surprised at the enthusiastic response the chess club received.

This lens is (as all lenses are) a work in progress and will grow as I find more relevant information. If you like the information you've found here, please rate this lens by clicking on one of the 5 stars beneath the lens title. Thank you! 

Good Kid's Chess Resources on the Internet

These are sites that I found useful when planning how to run the chess club and how to teach chess to beginners. There are also several organizations that (for a fee)come to your school and run a chess "learning" club.

Starting the Sandy Hook School Chess Club

What I learned....

We started by asking the school if we could use a classroom after school hours so that the kids could just stay after school to play and have a parent pick them up.

We opened the club to 3rd and 4th graders. There was a very enthuiastic response and several 1st and 2nd graders asked to join. Next year we'll open it up to all grades!

We asked the PTA to buy the chess boards (and also asked families to donate some if they could.) We negotiated a good price with a local toy store.

Basically, I gave the kids "play sheets" with the names of the other students in the club and let them choose their own partners--marking off for each game whether it was a win/lose/draw.

Most of the children knew how to play, but I had some handouts of how the pieces move to give anyone who needed it.

The more experienced players taught the less experienced players some tips and tricks about the game.

Our goals were to:

Have Fun playing chess

Learn to play a better game of chess

Practice good sportsmanship

Chess Stuff for Young Children and Beginning Players

The Kids' Book of Chess and Chess Set
The Kids' Book of Chess and Chess Set

We consulted this book several times during chess club for rules about how and when you can Castle and for a really good starting game one of our players used to great advantage. We dubbed it "checkmate in 4 moves."


Reader Feedback 19 comments

anonymous 9 years ago

Thanks for putting this out there. My son is also in 3rd grade and would like a chess club at his school. This is exactly the information I was looking for.

anonymous 9 years ago

Thank you for this wonderful information!

Tom-Chess-Openings 9 years ago

chess club is a GREAT kids activity! nice job!

freechessgames 9 years ago

i totally would've loved to have a chess club in elementary school! that's a great idea.

GiGiBelts 9 years ago

Great info!

anonymous 9 years ago

I used your site as one of the resources when I started the Doss Elementary school chess club ( ) thanks!

anonymous 8 years ago

This is a great lens. I hope it encourages lots of people to start chess clubs in elementary schools - the best time to get kids interested in chess. If you get a chance, check out Chess for Kids Today

AMB1 8 years ago

Great lens! I'm forwarding it to the moms who run our chess club. Our elementary school has about 150 kids in the chess club, including an all-girls class, and even hosts its own tournament! Several of the kids went to nationals last year. It's a fantastic activity.

mdvaldosta lm profile image

mdvaldosta lm 8 years ago

Wow, elementary school kids playing chess... what a great idea!

nlwest21 profile image

nlwest21 8 years ago

i love to play chess. I may not be good enough to be in a chess club though!

daidamia 8 years ago

Good idea!I appreciate your caring towards kids...Keep going....Thanks for sharing good lens on kids.check out my the afterschoolhelp blog

anonymous 8 years ago

Chess is an excellent game, which gives your brain good exercise regardless of age. Most children can start learning this game at an age of 7 or 8, although this may vary according to individuals. Even people in their 80s play chess. It really helps them to prevent memory loss.

heehaw lm profile image

heehaw lm 8 years ago

chess is a great and fun activity for kids to learn while at young age , 5 star for you.

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aka-rms 7 years ago from USA

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FueltheBrain profile image

FueltheBrain 7 years ago

It is so ironic that I found your page. I was just telling my husband that I should start a club of some sorts-chess, math , etc. because our schools are cutting gifted programs. Maybe I'll be able to put your great resources to use next year with my gifted students!

EssayWritingService 6 years ago


I agree with you that chess is a great activity for kids. It will open their mind and help them to enhance their thinking. Thanks for the post.

Essay Writing Service

Wbisbill LM profile image

Wbisbill LM 5 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

Thumbs up. I have coached several clubs (when I taught school), mostly middle schoolers. I took them to some scholastic tourneys. My son still has his trophy (He is 27 and an assistant manager of a Food City Grocery). Lots of fun and character building!

The Philologist profile image

The Philologist 5 years ago

Congrats to you for starting a chess club. I loved chess as a kid, still do, but I didn't get to play in a club till middle school :(

LewesDE profile image

LewesDE 5 years ago

This lens is very ineresting. Please make more lenses!

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