On Saturday, January 21, 2017, I taught the Chess merit badge at the National Scouting Museum. Nine Scouts attended. (Ten had signed up but one was absent all day.) As outlined in my book Prepare With Chess Strategy, I covered the non-tournament requirements first in a workshop.
Two of the nine Scouts had previous experience in rated chess tournaments and quickly demonstrated requirements such as the two-rook checkmate. Since one of the requirements is for Scouts to teach chess, those two Scouts helped two other Scouts who needed one-on-one instruction on the two-rook checkmate and en passant. Before lunch, the father of one of the Scouts came into the room. I asked him if he would be willing to be the tenth player for the afternoon tournament so I would have an even number of players. He agreed and played the longest first round game, which he lost. The two rated Scouts won both their games against other Scouts and faced each other in the third (last) round of the Swiss-system tournament. All nine Scouts completed the requirements for the Chess merit badge. After I finished teaching, I toured the National Scouting Museum. Although I had taught previous Chess merit badge workshops at the museum, I had never walked through it. I enjoyed the Norman Rockwell Art Gallery and the interactive displays (such as the cave I crawled through and the Pinewood Derby cars that I raced). The animatronic mannequin who introduced the film about the Boy Scouts of America was also very intriguing. The National Scouting Museum has free admission and is in Irving, TX. See it soon, as it is relocating to New Mexico. I have enjoyed working with April Proulx, Programs Director at National Scouting Museum, her current assistant Joseph Connole, and her previous assistant Elaine Bressman. The latter had contacts with Scouting magazine, which led to this article. Thanks to the National Scouting Museum staff for registering Scouts for the Chess merit badge workshops, setting up the room (tables, chess sets, dry erase board, etc.), and providing materials (rosters, photocopies of Chess merit badge workbooks and score sheets, pencils, and blue cards). I will next serve as a Chess merit badge counselor at the Merit Badge University at The University of Texas at Dallas on April 1, 2017.