The Coastal Maine Scholastic Chess Club receives chess grant

12.08.07 The Coastal Maine Scholastic Chess Club received a grant of nearly three thousand dollars from the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation to implement a middle school chess program using the Think Like a King Educational Software Program. The grant will provide for purchasing an educational site license for the software as well as chess equipment, materials and a stipend for a staff member to implement the program through academic year '08.

The following information is taken from the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation Classroom and Professional Development Grant Application submitted by the Coastal Maine Scholastic Chess Club:

We propose to establish Chess as a competitive sport at the Middle School level. To accomplish this, we propose to introduce the Think Like a King Chess Educational Software Program, and the opportunity for competitive play with students of a similar age, to the Middle School after school once a week under the guidance of a stipended educator.

The Think Like a King (TLAK) software program is the official scholastic software of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and is in use in hundreds of schools across the United States.

A site license will allow for the software to be installed on all the computers in the computer lab at the Middle School (and to also be installed on the Middle School laptop computers or any other computers at the Middle School in the future, if desired.)

The program will help meet several objectives:

First, it will provide chess education for students. For students who have no background in chess at all but are interested in learning, the program will introduce them to chess beginning at the most basic level. For students who already play chess well, the program will offer them an opportunity to advance their skills that otherwise they might never have. The program can provide lessons up to a fairly advanced level of play. The interactive chess tutorials provide a level of chess education that is not currently available in Cape Elizabeth.

Second, the program will provide professional development in chess instruction, which is desperately needed. Think Like a King Software is intended specifically to develop educators who do not have a strong background in chess into chess club leaders. Though the Think Like a King program provides a thorough, mostly self-guided course of study, the Chess Club Manager Teaching Program provides data to the supervising educator by tracking each student’Äôs progress, providing comparative ratings, advising areas of weakness and strength, and providing other guidance (see Exhibit 1 ’Äì a sample student progress report). In effect, the program creates a chess coach. This is very important because there are currently only a couple of qualified chess coaches in all of Southern Maine. Those coaches are both expensive and unavailable during the hours when a chess club would typically meet. Though one coach had been willing to volunteer his time for the CMSCC Saturday morning chess club at CECS once or twice a month last year, it has not been possible to get anyone this year thus far and it has been difficult for advanced students to continue their chess educations. Only those willing and able to both pay and travel for private tutoring have been able to do so, and even those willing to do both often can’Äôt find anyone to help them because of the scarcity of qualified chess coaches in Southern Maine.

Third, it will provide a place where Middle Schoolers can meet to learn and compete during the week. Most older Middle School and High School age students have not been willing to meet on Saturday mornings in the atmosphere of the current Saturday morning chess club at CECS. The current club is dominated by 1st through 6th graders. The Saturday morning time is also not convenient for many Middle School students who have family and other commitments on the weekends. The result is that some of the most talented Middle School and High School aged players have reluctantly stopped playing altogether or have been competing at an extreme disadvantage at group tournaments because they entered with fewer team members than required and thus, before a piece was moved, were forced to forfeit too many games to possibly win.


Think Like a King

Coastal Maine Scholastic Chess Club

Post a comment

  • Navigation: