13 December 2015

Chess Curriculum - ChessKid/Chess.com II

After the recap and video in the previous post, Chess Curriculum - ChessKid/Chess.com, let's look at the curriculum itself. The first document, Introduction.pdf, has two parts:-

  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Table of Contents (TOC, detailed)

The 'Welcome' tells us who should benefit most from this material:-

We keep the language simple. However, while we believe children with a fourth- or fifth-grade reading level could work through this curriculum on their own, the most practical application of this curriculum is instructor-guided, and in many cases we recommend a classroom format. Most lessons are designed to be delivered in an hour – with optional worksheets to assign for independent learning.

The TOC outlines five sections with four lessons per section. The sections are structured as follows:-

  • Section 1 – Starting Out: The Basics of Chess
  • Section 2 – The Basics of Playing, the "Phases" of Chess & the Opening
  • Section 3 – Tactics, Tactics & More Tactics
  • Section 4 – Endgame Play: Passed Pawns, Technique & King Play
  • Section 5 – Positional Chess, Planning & Advanced Piece Play

Each lesson contains three types of document : the material to be covered, an 'Instructor's Guide', and worksheets (plus answers). From the 'Welcome & Introduction' again:-

The Instructor's Guides furnish lesson plans, provide practical advice, and even suggest ways to keep the experience fun! They also describe the "when and how" to allow for "mini-game" and "worksheet" practice during class. We strongly recommend that coaches (whether teaching in groups or privately) review the lessons in their entirety first, grasping the "big picture" goal of that lesson and all its parts, before teaching their student(s).

For example, the first lesson in Section 1 is:-

  • Lesson 1 - Meet the Players: King, Knight & Pawn

Its nine pages consist of the lesson material (three pages), 'Instructor Handout' (three pages), and three worksheets (one page each). The last section covers these four lessons:-

  • Lesson 17 - The Fundamentals of Positional Chess
  • Lesson 18 - Learning to Play with the "Little Guys"
  • Lesson 19 - Bad Pieces & Other Advanced Piece Play
  • Lesson 20 - Playing "Tournament Level" Chess Games & Planning

The last of the 22 documents, Summary.pdf, tells us,

Whether you are a chess coach just building your school program or club, an experienced chess teacher seeking new material and ideas, or simply a "chess kid" who had the work ethic and discipline to self-tutor your way through our curriculum – you should be proud of yourself! [...]

If you worked your way through our curriculum, solved every worksheet, played each mini-game, and took your time on the more difficult lessons, then we have fulfilled our promise to take you from a beginner's knowledge of chess to an experienced scholastic player's understanding of the game. (That's about 1300-1450 by the United States Chess Federation's rating system.)

Since my first post on this critical aspect of 'Chess in School' series, I've covered a half-dozen (or so) chess curriculums (curricula). The ChessKid/Chess.com offering is one of the most comprehensive. In my next post, I'll summarize my findings from all of the previous posts taken together.

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