Chess » Chess




Staff Member(s)

Mr. Burns


“The beauty of chess is it can be whatever you want it to be. It transcends language, age, race, religion, politics, gender, and socioeconomic background. Whatever your circumstances, anyone can enjoy a good fight to the death over the chess board.” – Simon Williams

Students will learn the board game of chess. Students will apply the skills they learn from chess to the strategy, sportsmanship, and critical thinking to their daily life.

Top 10 Benefits of Chess

  1. Brings people together
  2. Teaches you how to win and lose
  3. Improves Spatial Reasoning Skills
  4. Can help you focus
  5. Improves Memory
  6. Develops creativity
  7. Builds confidence
  8. Develops problem-solving skills
  9. Exercises the brain
  10. Helps keep you calm


Academic Goals

  1. The Chess Board, The pieces, and their initial positions on the board
  2. The value of each piece
  3. The objective of a chess match
  4. How to write Chess Notation
  5. Opening strategies; What should be the first move? What should not be the first move?
  6. Opening Principles: ex. Control of the center, Piece Development, etc.
  7. Basic Strategies; Space, Initiative, Exchanging Pieces, Etc.
  8. Types of Checkmate; ex. The Back-Rank Mates, Ladder Mate, Fool’s Mate, Scholar’s Mate, Checkmate in 1, 2 and 3 moves
  9. The Middle Game Principles
  10. The Endgame: King and Queen vs King; King and Rook vs King, etc.
  11. Chess Tactics: Pins, Skewers, Forks
  12. The Chess Champions
  13. How to use timers & Tournament Play

Grade 6 Topics

Openings: The Italian Game, The Ruy Lopez, Fool’s Mate, Scholar’s Mate, The Queen’s Gambit, Philidor’s Defense, Caro-Kann, The Scandinavian Defense, The Sicilian Defense

Endgames: Two Rooks Mate, Queen & Rook Roll Endgame, Queen and King Checkmates, Rook and King Checkmates, Two Bishop Pair Endgames, King and Pawn vs King Endgames

Tactics: Forks, Pins, Skewers, Discovered Attacks and Discovered Checks

Variants: Racing Kings, Anti-Chess (Losing Chess), 4-Player Chess, Checkers Variant, Atomic Chess

Grade 7 Topics

Openings: The Berlin Defense, The Closed Sicilian Defense, Dutch Defense, Bogo-Indian Defense, King Fianchetto Opening

Endgames: King and Pawn vs King Endgames, Rook & Bishop vs Rook Endgames, Pawn & Knight vs King

Tactics: Zugzwang, Zwischenzug, Decoys, Removing the Defender, 

Variants: Forchess, The Peasant’s Revolt, Sittuyin Variant (Burmese Chess), Elimination Chess, Horde Chess, Dunsany Chess, Bughouse Chess, 4-Player Giveaway Chess

Grade 8 Topics

Openings: Nimzo-Indian Defense, Alapin Variation, Alekhine’s Defense, Queen’s Indian Defense, London System, Grunfeld Defense, Trompowsky Attack, Benko Gambit, The Marshall Attack


Tactics: Clearance Sacrifice, Trapped Pieces

Variants: Legan Chess, Pre-Chess, Extinction Chess, Chaturaji, Petrified Chess, Capture Anything Chess, Sideways Pawns

Partnerships or Shows,, Chess in the Schools Tournaments

Students participate in STEAM Night each year. 

Mark Twain D21 Testing

The test is 50 questions long, all multiple choice. Answers are recorded on a Scantron Form so please bring in #2 (or HB) pencils and good quality erasers.


Here are some of the specific types of questions we are incorporating into the test:

  • Reading Comprehension of a technical nature
  • Multi-step problem solving
  • Sequences & Patterns
  • Puzzles
  • Analysis of Charts and Graphs
  • Critical Thinking
  • Attention to minute details
  • Logical thinking (AND, OR, IF THEN, etc.)
  • Sequential thinking
  • Concept Maps / Outlines / Flowcharts
  • Engineering Design Process
  • Empirical questions (experiment vs. experience/observation)
  • Simulations/system modeling
  • Scientific theory
  • Comfort level with the internet and technology
  • Ability to see and think in 2D and 3D
  • Inherent ability to approximate/estimate
  • Basic online research skills
  • Basic arithmetic, geometry and early (they are in grade 5) algebra skills
  • Basic computer application skills
  • Awareness of social problems relating to technology
  • Comfort with the use of symbols