FIRST RANK - Newsletter No.9 September 2018

Go out on the streets and play chess!

In this newsletter we present how chess can reach new groups of people and be part of subcultures like hiphop or in the streets. Beside that we present the weekly minigame and puzzle.

How does chess and hiphop fit together?

In USA there is an organization working with chess and hiphop: The Hiphop Chess Federation.  At first it might seem crazy, but after you have seen this movie you will understand the importance of reaching new categories of kids. Here you can read more.

For whom can chess really make a difference?

There is nothing so nice as having students listening to what you say with great interest. When it comes to chess this means academic skilled children that are predestined to study all along the road to high school and university. On the other hand we have all had experiences when it comes to teaching when it was difficult to reach the group, and the children had problems to be calm and to focus. But when this happens I have started to think that this means I can really make a difference and I work ever harder with all my teaching skills and tricks. Because if you can reach only one of these children that has got problems concentrating, and if you give them just a bit of self-confidence that they are smart as they can play chess, then you might have changed the bad road for them.
I believe that one of the most important things for chess in schools is to reach the weakest ones, and to help them in to the world of thinking. To be able to do this chess must take place in new contexts and the way we inspire and teach must also be developed.
Jesper Hall
Chair, ECU Education

Wu Tang Klan - The chess lovers

The members of the world famous hiphop group Wu Tang Klan are chess lovers. One of their albums is called "Grandmasters", which is the finest title you can get in the world of chess.

Do you want a translation of the newsletter into your language?

If you want a translation of the newsletter into your language you click on the bottom that bring you to the web version. At the top to the right you see a bottom "Translate". Press and find your language. Let the newsletter be translated. As it is an automatic translation it will not be a perfect one, but maybe the content will be easier for you to follow. 

Street Chess with Maurice Ashley 

Why don't we play chess more on the streets in Europe so the game can be seen by each and everyone? Just like with chess and hiphop in the US it is more common with street chess. That means that you challenge peopler in street for a game, and often theses games are combined with "trash talking". Here you can see Maurice Ashley, grandmaster and one of the best commentaters of chess in thw world, showing skills in both categories to suprised opponent.

Chess at Comic Con

(Lars OA Hedlund)

In Sweden we try to promote Chess in schools in new contexts. Normally we visit some teaching exhibitions every year but last week we went to Comic Con where children and grown-ups interested in gaming and all other kinds of popular culture go. The interest for chess was huge and those playing where often in character, like this witch and Chess man.

ECU School Chess Teacher Course Batumi 30 Sept - 1 Oct

During the Chess Olympiad in Batumi ECU Education will arrange a School Chess Teacher Course the 30 September - 1 Oct. The cost will be 65 Euros, including the  ECU School Chess Teacher Certificate. For more information contact John Foley:

The Minigame of the Week: The first check game

This is a minigame that encourage the children to be on their toes from the very first move. The reason is that one bad move and you will loose immediately, as the player giving check first wins. This also a great minigame for the children to analyze together.

The Chess Puzzle of the Week

             The Surprise!

Black to move. Is 1...Rb8xb2 a good move?
(Answer below)

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The Surprise
No, it is not a good move to take on b2, as white can play 2.0-0-0. 

The white rook gives check on d8, and in the next move the king can take the rook on b2. The long castle is a move very easy to miss. Most probably a real surprise for black!
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