Chess is a recreational yet competitive game that helps develop strategies, perseverance, and memory. During the start of the pandemic, I began to start playing chess with my father since it was his hobby and there were limited options of activities, however, after facing defeat several times against my father I was intrigued with the game. Nowadays, I play chess as a recreational activity to relieve my stress, yet it is still beneficial and healthy for my mind. Last year, I discussed with a friend, who is my biggest chess rival, and decided to start a Chess CCA club, which became a great opportunity for us to learn chess and simultaneously teach other students about the game. We started the class with the fundamentals and followed on with more complex chess openings, checkmates, and other significant moves.
The objective of this CAS experience is to develop my knowledge and skills in chess, and have the students being able to defeat an intermediate bot with the ELO of 1000 – 1300. We will also host some MIS chess tournaments when they have all cleared the fundamentals to raise the level of competitiveness and increase the engagement of every student.
During the group leader discussions, I mentioned that it will be best for us to start the lessons by making a survey on Microsoft forms to ask about their current knowledge and skills in chess which will help form our lessons according to their level of ability. After giving out the survey for the students to answer, we guided them into making a chess.com account because it was one of the most famous online chess websites and the platform with which I am most familiar. I also discovered a feature on the platform where we could build a community, which was called “Chess Club”.
Initially, we taught a few basic openings for them to start their games with namely Réti Opening, French Defense, Scandinavian Defense, King’s pawn opening. After the introduction to the fundamentals of chess, we asked them to play a game against an adaptive bot to observe their ability and skills through their moves, the number of blunders, and checkmate combinations.
As a leader, I have faced several challenges during the chess club sessions. I have encountered issues with the dates for the chess CCA since there were some disputes with the change of dates when holding the CCA on campus due to no teacher supervision in the class. Furthermore, I have struggled when conducting the sessions with half of the students online and the other half physically present. However, in the next session, we overcame the problem through discussions and polls.
Overall, this experience in teaching chess has been wonderful, beneficial, and entertaining for us as leaders and as well as for the students. Nonetheless, we have collectively developed communication, critical thinking, and memory skills, and personally as a leader I have built confidence, organizing, and leadership skills.