Before I began teaching each group, I reminded students to raise their hands to contribute answers. Each group spent about 15 minutes with me. When not with me, each group played chess games supervised by the Chess Program Director.
Bishop Day for Beginners
Let’s try to move a bishop from one location to another in the fewest
number of moves. I called on students to give examples, using their words/notation of squares, with my moving the bishop following their words/notation on the demonstration board. For example, "How can you move a bishop from f1 to f5?" (Similar drill will be done for capturing on f5). The student should respond either, "Bf1-d3-f5" or "Bf1-h3-f5." After one of those possible best responses, I moved the bishop as indicated. I also introduced the Blindfold Square Game from Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators.
Practice: Then students partnered up to try moving the bishop and the blindfold square game with each other. One student chose a place for the bishop to be and a place for it to move to, and then announce those locations in algebraic notation to the second student. As an option, for those who want more challenge, the second student can turn his back. Then that second student had to say how to get the bishop from the first square to the second square. After statements are made, then the second student should actually move the bishop as he or she had previously said in notation. Likewise, the students played the blindfold square game in partners.
Bishop Day for Experienced Players
Bishop Maze. This lesson plan is in more detail in my book Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving, Mazes and Monsters lesson activity. Briefly, in a bishop maze, the black pawns and pieces do not move. A white bishop captures one pawn on each move. I called on each child to say one move, in algebraic notation, for each move of the bishop maze on the demonstration board until all the black chessmen are captured. There will be as many black chessmen on the demonstration board as there are students in the experienced group.
Practice: Have the children set up bishop mazes for each other on their chess boards and play out those mazes.
Bishop Day for Advanced Players
I reviewed the two-rook checkmate, calling on students to play the correct rook moves in a lecture format.
Practice: For practice, students tried an Exercise 7 “Queen versus Rook and Bishop.” from Read, Write, Checkmate: Enrich Literacy with Chess Activities. Quoting that exercise:
Have pairs of students get out a board, a white queen, a black rook, and a black bishop. Each piece should be placed on its starting square. Start the white queen on d1, the black rook on h8 or a8, and the black bishop on f8 or c8. White moves first. MacEnulty (2006, p. 116) recommends, ‘Let the two players chase each other around the board.” White wins if the black rook and the black bishop are captured. Black wins if the white queen is captured. After trying this from both sides, ask students whether it was easier to play white or to play black.
I also tested one student at a time on the two-rook checkmate.
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