Chess Elective


Why Offer Chess in High School?

1) History
Chess is a classic game of strategy, invented more than 1500 years ago in India. Legend has it that the ruler of India asked his wise men to devise a way to teach the children of the royal family to become better thinkers and better generals on the battlefield. Chess was the result. In the centuries since its invention, chess has spread to every country in the world. While countless other games have died out, chess lives on. In the United States, it has received endorsements by many educators, ranging from Benjamin Franklin to former U.S. Secretary of Education, Terrell Bell.

2) Academic Benefits
Chess in schools directly contributes to academic performance. Chess promotes comprehensive thinking among young adults . It does so by teaching the following skills:
Focusing - Young adults are taught the benefits of observing carefully and concentrating. If they donít watch what is happening, they canít respond to it, no matter how smart they are.
Visualizing - Young adults are prompted to imagine a sequence of actions before it happens. Actually strengthening the ability to visualize by training them to shift the pieces in their mind, first one, then several moves ahead.
Thinking Ahead - Young adults are taught to think first, then act. They are taught to ask themselves ďIf I do this, what might happen then, and how can I respond?Ē Over time, chess helps develop patience and thoughtfulness.
Weighing Options - Young adults are taught that they donít have to do the first thing that pops into their mind. They learn to identify alternatives and consider the pros and cons of various actions.
Analyzing Concretely
- Young adults learn to evaluate the results of specific actions and sequences. Does this sequence help me or hurt me? Decisions are better when guided by logic, rather than impulse.
Thinking Abstractly - Young adults are taught to step back periodically from details and consider the bigger picture. They also learn to take patterns used in one context and apply them to different, but related situations.
Planning - Young adults are taught to develop longer range goals and take steps toward bringing them about. They are also taught of the need to reevaluate their plans as new developments change the situation.
Juggling Multiple Considerations Simultaneously - Young adults are encouraged not to become overly absorbed in any one consideration, but to try to weigh various factors all at once.

None of these skills are specific to chess, but they are all part of the game. The beauty of chess as a teaching tool is that it stimulates young adultsí minds and helps them to build these skills while enjoying themselves. As a result, young adults become more critical thinkers, better problem solvers, and more independent decision makers.

3) Educational Research
These conclusions have been backed up by educational research. Studies have been done in various locations around the United States and Canada, showing that chess results in increased scores on standardized tests for both reading and math.

4) Social Benefits
In the schools, chess often serves as a bridge, bringing together young adults of different ages, races and genders in an activity they can all enjoy. Chess helps build individual friendships and also school spirit when young adults compete together as teams against other schools. Chess also teaches young adults about sportsmanship - how to win graciously and not give up when encountering defeat. For young adults with adjustment issues, there are many examples where chess has led to increased motivation, improved behavior, better self-image, and even improved attendance. Chess provides a positive social outlet, a wholesome recreational activity that can be easily learned and enjoyed at any age.

The below video link is a true story about a young girl from the slums of a town in Uganda who became a Junior Chess Champion in her country. As a result, since that time, her family has been able to move out of the slums, and she was able to go back to school.




The first week of classes will be dedicated to identify beginners, mid-level and advanced players.  Advanced students will focus on review of masters' strategies and recreation of actual games and competitive matches between students. Mid-level students will have a swift review of program objectives before advancing to competitive matches with the advanced level program.  For the beginning student these objectives will be used as a week to week approach to teaching the fundamentals of chess.  
  Objective 1

Chess History -
Chess Board
Chess Pieces Names, Movement and Relative Value

 Objective 2

En Passant
Pawn Promotion

 Objective 3

Check - Checkmate

Objective 4

Draws: Stalemate, 3 Move rule, 50 Move rule

 Objective 5

Chess Strategy:
Control of Center
Piece Development
King Safety (
Pawn Structures

Objective 6

Algebraic Notation

Objective 7

Fork, Pin and Skewer

Objective 8

Discovered Attack - Discovered Check
Double Check

 Objective 9

Chess Clock
Chess Tournament

Objective 10

Chess Ratings: Relative Estimations
Competitive Chess


United States Chess Federation (USCF)

Denver Public Schools - Tournament Information

Lake Chess Tournament - February 28, 2015
Information and Registration

Denver Scholastic Chess Series



Colfax Chess Tournament - November 15, 2014
DSST Participants:

Luis Nava (1st Place)
Luis DeLaTorre (3rd Place)
Juan Barraza
Manuel Costillo