FIRST RANK - Newsletter No.4 June 2018

How to finish the chess term?

First Rank is a weekly newsletter (starting regularly autumn 2018) for everyone interested in chess for education. The newsletter is a co-operation between the Education Commission of the European Chess Union (ECU Education) and ChessPlus, a company working with strategy games in education. In this issue we give you suggestions on how to finish the chess term in the best way, and you get a chess variant and a puzzle!

Show the movie "Queen of Katwe"

A popular way to finish the term is to show a chess movie. A good choice is the Disney-produced "Queen of Katwe". Based on a true story it shows how chess can change your life! This is the official trailer.

The real story

A short documentary about Phiona Mutesi, the girl known as the Queen of Katwe.

Ideas for finishing the chess year

  1. Make the last lesson a party. You want the children to come back next term.
  2. Make a chess cake (see below).
  3. Let the children play a chess match against the teachers and parents.
  4. Arrange a chess variants tournament e.g. with "Losers chess" (see below).
  5. Arrange a chess problems competition. Why not in pairs? Either on paper or set up the positions on the classroom desks.
  6. Arrange a Chess Quiz, with questions such as "How much points is the value of an army at the start of a game?"
  7. Arrange a "Treasure hunt". Hide pieces of one colour around the school and the classroom. You can give the children with the pieces marked. After the treasure hunt, start a tournament using only the pieces the children have found.
  8. Arrange a Summer Challenge. During the summer break the children should record how many chess games they play. You will give the group awards depending on how many games they have written down.
  9. Show the children the how to play chess and get chess lessons on the internet.

The most important lessons are the first and the last!

The two most important lessons during a chess term are the first and the last. In the first lesson you must inspire the children so they continue to come, and you also set the rules of behaviour. The purpose of the last lesson is to build the children's enthusiasm so they that they want to return after the summer break. Also, encourage them to play and learn during the summer break.
I always bake the Swedish shortbread called "Chess Squares", for my group to eat in the last lesson. The last time I was going to do that, my group said that they wanted to make it themselves. They arranged a competition with 20 people making "Chess Squares"  Below you will find the winning recipe.

Jesper Hall
Chair, ECU Education

The recipe for "Chess Squares"

125 g butter
1/2 dl of sugarcane
2 1/2 dl of wheat flour (2.5 dl corresponds to 150 g)
For the light colour 
2 tsp vanilla sugar
For the dark colour
1 tablespoon of cocoa.

Vigorously mix butter, sugar and flour into a dough, with a food processor.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Mix vanilla sugar into one and cocoa in the other. Divide both the light and the dark part into two parts and roll them out to lengths of about 30cm. Press the four lengths together, alternating the light and dark to form a four coloured square pattern. Leave them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Put the oven at 200°C. Cut the lengths into about 1/2 cm slices, and place them on baking paper. Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the grill.

What is your best recipe for a chess cake?

Please send us your best recipe, and we will publish it!

Forthcoming ECU Education Events

ECU School Tournaments
European School Chess Championship, Krakow, 29 June - 8 July  Information

ECU School Chess Teacher Training Courses
Uppsala, Sweden 1-2 September (Jesper Hall for information)
Batumi, Georgia, 30 sept - 1 Oct (John Foley for information)

Children against parents

 Amanda Fridolfsson has sent this photo.

Chess Variant of the week - Losers Chess

This is a favorite among many children. In Losers Chess you have to get rid of all your pieces, which is the opposite to normal chess. The variant is not only fun, but it also trains the ability to see long sequences of forced moves. 

The Chess Puzzle of the Week




Black to play.
Find the black move that enables white to make mate in one move? 

(Answer below)

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Black needs to play 1...♞d7-b8. Now white can play 2.♖f7-c7 mate.
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