Summer Chess Camp

Award Amount: $100.00
Volunteer(s): Latifah Mouhibi
Locations(s): Kufranjah
Dates(s): July 3-July 14, 2011
Participants: 25 female participants and counselors, ages 13-15.

This project was a huge undertaking in this small community, seeing as none of the girls actually knew how to play chess. Some of them had attempted to learn in the past, but not one of them knew what any of the pieces were but they all were eager to learn. I purchased a manual on how to teach chess so that I would cover all of the bases on how to take a person from no knowledge of the game to becoming a real chess player, in just one week.

The girls caught on quickly, the manual was a great help. By teaching them the functions of only two chess pieces each day, with practice games using the moves  they learned, by the end of the week they were ready to compete against one another.

Instead of having teachers help with the camp, I had solicited a group of 15 English proficient girls to act as my assistants. Even though only 3 showed up regularly, it was a great help to have them passing out the lesson sheets, being responsible for the game boards and pieces while I demonstrated the lessons, and also to translate if necessary.

I paired up players according to ability, with the better player playing against the weaker player to motivate and teach the weaker player to get better. This method worked every time because their peers gave them advice on how to play and showed them how to win.

Each day we had 3 games going on, with another game available in case more students showed up. At the end of each week, after playing practice games for 3 days, a competition was held and a winner was rewarded with a prize. The winner from week 1 played the winner from week 2 and a grand prize was awarded.

The girls really enjoyed learning the game, and for some  of them chess made them more focused on planning ahead. I noticed the change in a couple of girls’ attention span after learning how to play.

Most of them will continue to play at home for recreation, now that they know the rules of the game.


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