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Hey Quarantine, Checkmate! How To Continue Your School Chess Club Online

September 12, 2020

Anum Hussain

Even if your school isn’t in session in-person, doesn’t mean spirit teams or school clubs should come to a halt. When it comes to chess, there are many ways to keep the club alive and well while keeping students engaged and connected. Here are three we recommend.

1. Host a Chess Streaming Party

The best part about chess game livestreams? They’re already wildly popular. In fact, since the pandemic began, viewership of these live chess games have soared. According to SullyGnome, “from March through August, people watched 41.2 million hours of chess on Twitch, four times as many hours as in the previous six months.”

So, considering gathering your school’s chess team for a virtual viewing party — it’ll be just like movie night! The host can use an online conferencing tool (Zoom, Google Meet, etc) to share their screen while everyone watches and commentates together.

Where to Watch Chess Live Streams:

  • Twitch TV: Twitch has a number of chess livestreams, including the popular Hikaru Nakamura. He’s been live streaming his chess games since 2018 and now has over 528,000 followers — most who followed since the pandemic began.
  • Chess.com: Chess.com not only lets you watch chess tournaments happening, but you can also start a game to be watched. Consider having some members start their own club on the platform and support one another as they play other clubs.

This second bullet brings us to our next recommendation …

2. Play Chess Online

Playing chess can still be done online from home, all while helping your students stay connected even while the club can’t meet in person. While the aforementioned chess.com allows for online play, we understand if parents want their kids playing in an environment more catered for them.

In that case, we recommend ChessKid, a safe place for kids while offering programs for schools. Here’s how to actually make it happen.

Step 1: Set up a virtual tournament with all members. You can also use PlayPass’s Chess Schedule Maker if you want more than, say, a PowerPoint or Google Doc.

Step 2: Schedule the games. Coordinate with students and their parents to agree on a time to connect the players in each bracket to play.

Step 3: Set up virtual viewing. You can make the schedule available to the whole club and have them watch their clubmates with a conferencing tool such as Zoom or Google Meet.

Step 4: Log in to ChessKid. Have the two players login, then click “Play vs. Kid.” Ensure the students know one another’s usernames. In the upper right tab, have them click the “friends and clubmates” tab to see the other players in their club.

Step 5: Accept challenge and play. Once one student has challenged the other, who then accepts, the game begins! Multiple games can go on at once as well within the club.

Want more guidance in setting up a ChessKid tournament? This post helps walk through how to use ChessKid for a fast chess tournament.

3. Keep The Team Uniformed

Yes, even in quarantine, we recommend ordering chess team shirts. If you’re thinking any of the following, let us help.

“We don’t need chess shirts this year, everyone is at home…”

Consider how this impacts your students. Chess club, and the camaraderie and spirit that comes with being a part of the club/team, is an integral part of a child’s life and participation. There’s pride in rocking their team shirt, and whether that’s wearing them to school or for one another on a Zoom call, the pride remains the same.

“How will we safely distribute shirts in quarantine?”

Not to brag, but this is sort of our cup of tea here at SquadLocker. We’ll take in every student address and deliver them directly to each, avoiding the need to gather or distribute the shirts.

“There isn’t budget for a bulk order with a smaller club…”

At SquadLocker, it doesn’t matter if your club consists of five students or 500. We allow you to order any quantity at the same great price. Just set up a store on our platform, and we’ll help you see the rest.

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