Here’s How to Start a Chess Club
Why chess? How did I get involved? Do I need to be an expert chess player? How do I fund my club? How do I train my students? What brings success to a program? What shouldn’t I do? What should I do? Should I take my players to rated tournaments? How often should I have my chess club meet? I hear these questions all the time from my schools that are just starting out.
How do I begin?
In a school setting, the first thing to do is to get the permission of your principal and advertise the club. When I began our club, I started by involving the members of our JROTC program. I also found kids who weren’t involved with other activities and asked them if they wanted to be part of a new chess club.
You can advertise with posters for the hallways, and by making daily announcements on the intercom, the school website, and the school newspaper.
Different ways to meet in a school setting:
One particular method that I have used is to set up shop in the cafeteria during lunchtime.
On “Chess Fridays,” I set up chess boards at certain cafeteria tables, and the students can play games while they eat lunch. This naturally draws interest from other students who sometimes end up joining because they see my kids really enjoying their chess games.
Inevitably, this draws students who say: “I bet I can beat you.” I have a blitz clock on the table, and I will challenge them to show their skills. This has led to a lot of students joining chess over the years.