Teaching Chess – a Few Tips
It is Always ‘Touch Move’
Chess Teaching Tip:
This printable poster reminds chess students that it is always ‘touch move’. As in,
You touch it, you move it.
Implementing this expectation right from the outset will ensure games flow and conflict is avoided.
Just Good Chess Manners:
- It is considered poor form to leave your finger on a piece while checking if it is safe.
- Your opponent is quite within their rights to ask you to move the piece you touched if you change your mind. As are you if your opponent does the same.
Keeping it Positive:
When students begin learning chess the number of rules can seem daunting.
Here are a few tips that have worked for me in making the game seem a little less overwhelming.
- When the students are playing, I make notes on their general chess behaviors and then prioritize what my focus will be for the next game. e.g. Many beginning players move a piece to a square then hold their finger on the piece while they check if the square is safe.
- Before a game begins say something like, “During this game, I would like you to focus on the ‘Touch Move’ rule…. so I never have to mention it again”
- Print out this poster and add it to a chess wall display. Point it out every now and again when the need arises.
- Discuss with the students why it might be considered good chess manners to follow the ‘Touch Move’ Rule.
- Discuss how when a player leaves their finger on a piece while they check if the square is safe shows indecision and that they are unsure of the move. Mind you, they could be hustling you into thinking they are not confident 😉 When playing chess you need to appear confident… even if you are not.
- HAM IT UP!!! I like to throw a little drama into the teaching of chess. Act out a situation where someone spits the dummy saying, ‘I didn’t know it was touch move’ or insisting the opponent move the piece they touched. You might like to raise your voice a little, cry a bit, point at the opponent and the game board, use a really whiney voice, etc, etc. Have fun with it. Entertain your audience.
- Following the last point, talk up / act out “Playing the game with style”. A simple, quiet but authoritative, ‘Ah, touch move’ accompanied by a little point of the finger will have the same effect as the ‘hissy fit’. This is so much more stylish.
- Encourage the students to, ‘Make the move in your head, then on the board’.