Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Directory of Lesson Plans TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers

TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Math and Science Learning
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
Our Mission
   Press Releases
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award



Checkmate - Chess in the Classroom | Educational Chess Activites for Students



1. How did the game of chess originate?

2. What changes took place over the years to the game of chess?

3. What is the origin of each chess piece?


chess sets

computer with Internet access

Al Woolum, The Chess Tactics Workbook,

(North Richland Hills, Tx 2000)

MacEnulty, Let's Play Chess!,

A Kid's Guide To The Royal Game,

Chess-in-the-Schools, (New York, 2001)


Teachers may introduce vocabulary words as they come up in context or students may use Enchanted Learning or Dictionary.com to define the following vocabulary words: Click here to see a glossary of words related to this chess unit.


Log onto http://misc.traveller.com/chess/history/ and examine the chess history timeline to answer these document based questions.

Click here for a blank chart.

When is the earliest mention of chess being played? 0531 - Chess was introduced into Persia.
Where did Chess originate? India.
What was the earliest precursor of chess?
Chaturanga was the earliest chess precursor. It was created in the Punjab. Decimal chess used a 10 x 10 board.
When were the earliest chess pieces identified? 0610
What were some other versions of chess pieces used? Chess was played with dice in China.
When was the first mention of women playing chess? 0770
When was chess first played in  Egypt? Spain? China? Italy? France? Russia? Greece? England? Poland  Egypt - 0620, Spain - 0780, China - 0795, Italy - 0800, France - 0801, Russia - 0820, Greece - 0895, England - 1013,  Poland - 1100


Read Al Woolum, The Chess Tactics Workbook, page A, History of Chess, Modern Chess History, and Chess Hall of Fame Inductees. Students may work in groups with each student answering one question on the chart.

Note to teachers: If The Chess Tactics Workbook and Let's Play Chess!, A Kid's Guide To The Royal Game, are not available, the online resources listed in this lesson are sufficient resource material to carry out this unit with your class.

1. What is the origin of the game of chess? Chess is a game of war that was created in India in the 700's. It may have been used to train warriors or as a civilized way for kingdoms to settle their differences since chess is a battle between two armies. Chess was brought to Europe by crusaders and the Moorish and Persian traders who dealt in silk, spices, from the east.
2. Why does the white player move first? In medieval times black was thought to be a lucky color. The white player was allowed to go first since the black player already had the advantage of the lucky color.
3. Who are some famous chess masters? Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Paul Morphy
4. What changes were made to moves by the queen and bishop? In medieval chess the queen moved only one square diagonally. The medieval chess bishop could leap over pieces like a knight, and like the knight moved exactly two steps; but unlike the knight, it moved its two steps diagonally. In the late 15th century, the queen and bishop were given the powers they now have. This probably happened in Italy, France, or Spain, around 1475-1485. Modern chess was created in the same historical period that produced the printing press and the discovery of America.
5. How does a chess game represent life in medieval times? The chess pieces represent people and places  of medieval times. Ceremonies and wars are represented by the chess game. Medieval Europeans modernized the chess game of the Persians to reflect their lives. They used the pieces to describe the lives of the ordinary and wealthy people.


Each group creates a timeline using Tom Snyder's Timeliner, a software application that places dates and events entered by a user onto a timeline. (Tom Snyder Productions may be found at Tom Snyder Productions, 80 Coolidge Hill Road, Watertown, MA 02472) Included in the timeline will be 10 main events in chess history.


Students will be evaluated on their ability to interpret and create a timeline. They will also be evaluated upon their ability to read and understand documents related to the history of chess. See rubric.

Follow Up:

In Lesson 3 students will research the roles of the people and objects that each chess piece represents.


To Table of Contents

To Lesson 1 - Chess Rules

To Lesson 3 - Chess Roles

To Lesson - 4 The Play's The Thing




For Questions or Technical Support... Please Contact:


Journey Back to the Great Before