The MiniChess program was developed over years of teaching chess to “entry phase” learners (5 to 9 years of age) as part of the school curriculum. It has already been used on a trial basis, with great success, at a number of schools in SA.
It is organized into structured lessons, with detailed lesson plans in the Teacher’s Manuals and attractive Project Books for the learners. The program uses tried and tested methods for teaching through play, including the use of so-called “MiniChess” games. The learning process is broken down into small steps, building confidence while keeping it fun, and is in line with the skills level of the young child at that specific age, eg. colouring, cut and paste, form recognition, simple pattern recognition, a little bit of writing, etc. in the case of 6 year olds (grade 1).
The program consists of 4 levels (level1/R, level2 and level3), each level accommodating the continual development of skills and capacity as the child grows. The program continually links chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills.
Grade R & Level 1
- The story of chess.
- The chess board and pieces: correct names & starting positions as well as chess board games (linking with special concept, visualisation, graphics and problem solving).
- Gets registered with Chessa.
- The basic chess moves.
- Develop from playing MiniChessTM games to full chess games, using all the pieces, and linking chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills.
- Building confidence while having fun is very important.
- Learn to be a competitor and links with other life skills.
- Lots of practical play.
- Finish Grade1/R MiniChessTM Project Book with accreditation.
- The chess pieces, their moves and points value.
- Linking chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills.
- Algebraic grid.
- Sample games: reading and writing chess e.g. games by Paul Morphy and Bobby Fischer. Tell the life stories of these players. Other chess legends: the Lewis Chess Men.
- Learn the special moves: castling, promotion and en passant (with notation).
- Learn the 3 opening principles: centre control, piece development and King safety. Avoid common opening mistakes: Queen coming out too early, too many pawn moves, etc.
- Practice positions with check, checkmate and stalemate, with the 3 ways of stopping an attack on the King: capture, block and escape.
- Tournament rules: “touch move”, clock use, interference, drawn games, etc.
- Competitive play and chess on the computer & internet.
- Finish Grade2 MiniChessTM Project Book with accreditation.
- Endgame and checkmate practice, visualization (including mate in 1 and 2 moves)
- Linking chess concepts with maths-, science- and life skills and language skills.
- Chess in the world: chess websites (national and international), play chess on the internet, use computers, books, magazines, news papers, etc.
- Chess tactics.
- Dangerous common opening traps and how to face them.
- More chess legends: Polgar sisters, Kasparov plus IM Watu Kobese(SA)
- and WGM Melissa Greeff (SA).
- Lots of practical play including play-offs and tournaments.
- Practice & Writes Chessa’s 1st level national Scholars Chess Exam (optional).
- Finish Grade 3 MiniChessTM Project Book with accreditation.