Why learn Chess? What's Great about it***


The Benefits of Playing Chess!


SMMCS Chess Club to start in October!

Chess club is open to all 3-8 grade students, and will take place on the following Fridays from 3:30 - 4:30 in room #209.  Please see Mr. Walsh to pick up a form.

October 17
October 24
November 14
December 12
January 16
January 30
February 13
February 20
March 20
March 27
April 17
May 8
Saturday, May 9:  Diocesan Chess Tournament (SMMCS)

For questions, please email me at twalsh@smmcs.org 





Chess is a game for people of all ages. You can learn to play at any age and in chess, unlike in many other sports, you don't ever have to retire. Age is also not a factor when you're looking for an opponent-young can play old and old can play young. Chess develops memory.


The chess theory is complicated and many players memorize different opening variations. You will also learn to recognize various patterns and remember lengthy variations. Chess improves concentration. During the game you are focused on only one main goal-to checkmate and become the victor.


§ Chess develops logical thinking. Chess requires some understanding of logical strategy. For example, you will know that it is important to bring your pieces out into the game at the beginning, to keep your king safe at all times, not to make big weaknesses in your position and not to blunder your pieces away for free. (Although you will find yourself doing that occasionally through your chess career. Mistakes are inevitable and chess, like life, is a never-ending learning process.)


§ Chess promotes imagination and creativity. It encourages you to be inventive. There are an indefinite amount of beautiful combinations yet to be constructed.


§ Chess teaches independence. You are forced to make important decisions influenced only by your own judgment.


§ Chess develops the capability to predict and foresee consequences of actions. It teaches you to look both ways before crossing the street.


§ Chess inspires self-motivation. It encourages the search of the best move, the best plan, and the most beautiful continuation out of the endless possibilities. It encourages the everlasting aim towards progress, always steering to ignite the flame of victory.


§ Chess shows that success rewards hard work. The more you practice, the better you'll become. You should be ready to lose and learn from your mistakes. One of the greatest players ever, Capablanca said, "You may learn much more from a game you lose than from a game you win. You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player."


§ Chess and Science. Chess develops the scientific way of thinking. While playing, you generate numerous variations in your mind. You explore new ideas, try to predict their outcomes and interpret surprising revelations. You decide on a hypothesis, and then you make your move and test it.


§ Chess and Technology. What do chess players do during the game? Just like computers they engage in a search for the better move in a limited amount of time. What are you doing right now? You are using a computer as a tool for learning.


§ Chess and Mathematics. You don't have to be a genius to figure this one out. Chess involves an infinite number of calculations, anything from counting the number of attackers and defenders in the event of a simple exchange to calculating lengthy continuations. And you use your head to calculate, not some little machine.



§ Chess and Research. There are millions of chess resources out there for every aspect of the game. You can even collect your own chess library. In life, is it important to know how to find, organize and use boundless amount of information. Chess gives you a perfect example and opportunity to do just that.


§ Chess and Art. In the Great Soviet Encyclopedia chess is defined as "an art appearing in the form of a game." If you thought you could never be an artist, chess proves you wrong. Chess enables the artist hiding within you to come out. Your imagination will run wild with endless possibilities on the 64 squares. You will paint pictures in your mind of ideal positions and perfect outposts for your soldiers. As a chess artist you will have an original style and personality.


§ Chess and Psychology. Chess is a test of patience, nerves, will power and concentration. It enhances your ability to interact with other people. It tests your sportsmanship in a competitive environment.


§ Chess improves schoolwork and grades. Numerous studies have proven that kids obtain a higher reading level, math level and a greater learning ability overall as a result of playing chess. For all those reasons mentioned above and more, chess playing kids do better at school and therefore have a better chance to succeed in life.


§ Chess opens up the world for you. You don't need to be a high ranked player to enter big important competitions. Even tournaments such as the US Open and the World Open welcome players of all strengths. Chess provides you with plenty of opportunities to travel not only all around the country but also around the world. Chess is a universal language and you can communicate with anyone over the checkered plain.


§ Chess enables you to meet many interesting people. You will make life-long friendships with people you meet through chess.


§ Chess is cheap. You don't need big fancy equipment to play chess. In fact, all you may need is your computer! (And we really hope you have one of those, or else something fishy is going on here.) It is also good to have a chess set at home to practice with family members, to take to a friend's house or even to your local neighborhood park to get everyone interested in the game.


§ CHESS IS FUN! Dude, this isn't just another one of those board games. No chess game ever repeats itself, which means you create more and more new ideas each game. It never gets boring. You always have so much to look forward to. Every game you are the general of an army and you alone decide the destiny of your soldiers. You can sacrifice them, trade them, pin them, fork them, lose them, defend them, or order them to break through any barriers and surround the enemy king. You've got the power!  To summarize everything in three little words-Chess is Everything!

Chess Etiquette

et-i-quette (pronounced "Et Ticket")  The forms, manners and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in social situations - as in... good sportsmanship in chess games.



ü  Always greet and welcome new players to the school, so that they feel comfortable.  Ask them if they want to play a game.

ü  Never say, "It's not fair" or call someone a "cheater". 

ü  When an experienced student plays a beginner, it is considered good sportsmanship to help the new player by pointing out better moves and letting them take their moves back.  Teach them how to beat you.

ü  When working on a chess puzzle, do not physically move the pieces.  Move them in your mind.  Do not tell other people the answer to the puzzle, unless instructed to do so.  Write down the beginning move and ask someone to verify that you have the right answer.

ü  Always leave the chess room as neat, or neater, than you found it. 

ü  Keep your hands to yourself.  This is not a time for running around, picking up or poking at your friends.

ü  At all times be respectful and considerate of the other chess students and the game of chess. 


ü  Every game should begin and end with the players shaking hands and either wishing each other good luck or congratulating each other for playing a good game.

ü  Never rejoice over a victory (no happy dances) or have a temper outburst over a defeat (even if you're just mad at yourself).

ü  Talking should be kept to a minimum.  Chess is a game of concentration and a quiet atmosphere is necessary.

ü  Never comment on another game that is in progress, it distracts the other players and is considered to be rude behavior (this is called kibitzing). 

ü  If you make a mistake or you see someone else make a mistake don't fall off your chair or make a "Doh" kind of noise.  It might be that your opponent will not notice your mistake if you play quietly.

ü  Never touch your opponents' piece unless you are taking it from the board.

ü  Never, ever accuse your opponent of something they didn't do or lie about your move in order to save a piece.  Chess is a game of honor.

ü  Don't knock over pieces before you take them.  This is considered rude behavior. 

ü  If you need to adjust a piece, you must first say, "adjust" before you touch it. 

ü  If you touch a piece (without saying "adjust"), you must move it.  The only exceptions to this rule are:  1) If you are in check and must move your king out of danger or 2) The piece you touched cannot be legally moved.

ü  Once you remove your hand from the piece, you cannot move it to another location unless you have made an illegal move.

ü  If you disagree with what your opponent has done and believe he/she has made an illegal move, raise your hand and ask for help.

ü  You do not have to say "check". 

ü  At the end of the game, shake hands with your opponent, hand them their pieces and then reset the board.

The Morals of Chess

Written by:  Benjamin Franklin


The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions. 

1. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action; for it is continually occurring to the player, 'If I move this piece, what will be the advantages or disadvantages of my new situation? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks? 

2. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action; the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him. 

3. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired, by observing strictly the laws of the game; such as, If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand. And it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as the game becomes thereby more the image of human life, and particularly of war . . . 

And lastly, we learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one's self from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory from our own skill, or at least of getting a stalemate from the negligence of our adversary... 

If your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, not take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, or do   anything that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness. 

You ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes: for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the game. 

You must not, when you have gained a victory, use any triumphing or insulting expression, nor show too much pleasure; but endeavour to console your adversary, and make him less dissatisfied with himself, by every kind of civil expression that may be used with truth, such as 'you understand the game better than I, but you are a little inattentive;' or, 'you play too   fast;' or, 'you had the best of the game, but something happened to divert your thoughts, and that turned it in my favour.'

If you are a spectator while others play, observe the most perfect silence. For, if you give advice, you offend both parties, him against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game, him in whose favour you give it, because, though it be good, and he follows it, he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think until it had occurred to himself. Even after a move or moves, you must not, by replacing the pieces, show how they might have been placed better; for that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts about their true situation. All talking to the players lessens or diverts their attention, and is therefore unpleasing. 

Lastly, if the game is not to be played rigorously, according to the rules above mentioned, then moderate your desire of victory over your adversary, and be pleased with one over yourself. Snatch not eagerly at every advantage offered by his unskilfulness or inattention; but point out to him kindly, that by such a move he places or leaves a piece in danger and unsupported; that by another he will put his king in a perilous situation, etc. By this generous civility (so opposite to the unfairness above forbidden) you may, indeed, happen to lose the game to your opponent; but you will win what is better, his esteem, his respect, and his affection, together with the silent approbation and goodwill of impartial spectators.