I love it that we are so free to develop our chess teaching with imagination and creativity. It is dead easy to get a whole class in an hour "copying" the 10 golden moves but the aim is to go beyond that to understanding what is happening and why. That's the hard part.

For this I try a number of tools. Firstly "chants". The first of three chants for the year is "Chess is a game of strategy in which two players move thirty two pieces on a board of sixty four squares". By the middle of the term after we have seen how the pieces move we get to "The three objectives of the opening are to develop the pieces, to control the centre and to protect the king." Loads of language work and mathswork gets referenced in those chants. Very early on we get to know our way around the chessboard using the coordinates. It is so wonderful when children describe what is happening on the board using proper chess language. We go on to do work on "grandmaster reasons". By this we mean that the children justify a move on the whiteboard during our class game.Another fun piece is to learn the first few moves of e4 openings. There is great competition for children to remember the Quiet Italian, the Ruy Lopez and the Scotch off by heart. Sometimes we make those moves the password to be uttered before leaving class. The classes are spilt into teams named after one of our openings. They get to alliterate calling themselves the "Super Scandinavians" etc.

We use these to score points for our chess posters which go on the wall. When I am doing well these are changed weekly and one child is named a "strategy star" and another a "memory monarch" for some contribution to the class. Chess is exciting. I often tell the children that I played football for many years and chess for less. But the excitement is the same. The trick is to get them competent enough to realise that. The jury is still out on me.