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High School Chess Clubs - Not Just for Tournament Players

July 27th, 1:59PM
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High School Chess Club

Even if you do not have time to play competitive chess, consider joining your high school chess club this fall and share your chess knowledge with others. This is a great way to give back to the community in a lasting way.

Description: The Bob Jones  and James Clemens High School Chess Clubs are student organizations affiliated with the Madison City Chess League (MCCL), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote chess education for K-12 students in the Madison, Alabama area. The Chess Club is a service organization that partners with MCCL to help teach kids how to play chess and to help develop chess skills.

Service Hours: Any student attending Bob Jones or James Clemens High School can join the Chess Club. There is no fee to join, but to remain in good standing, members must perform 4 service hours per semester or 8 service hours per year. The service hours must be related to promoting chess in the community. Service hours can be earned assisting Monday nights at the Library from 6-8 p.m. setting up and cleaning up and helping teach kids how to play chess; setting up for area tournaments; volunteering during summer chess camp, the Madison Street Festival, or other special MCCL events.

Membership and Officers: Chess club membership is distinct from being selected for the Bob Jones or James Clemens Chess Team. Students try out for the Chess team in the fall and compete in tournaments throughout the year. Chess team members can also join Chess club. Chess club members can play chess recreationally or for fun and perform service hours to promote chess in the community. One of the best parts about Chess Club is that it welcomes members with a desire to serve the community and share chess knowledge, even if the members do not have the time to participate in competitive chess during any particular year in high school. Members in good standing are eligible to run for the following officer positions: President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Service Project

Each year, the High School Chess Club selects a service project for its members to jointly participate in.  As Chess Club membership grows, the number of service projects can grow as well.  The signature service project is in addition to the mandatory service hours that chess club members perform. Chess Club officers will describe the selected projects during the MCCL Annual Dinner where one member from each school will be recognized for the most service hours. Last year Bob Jones High School Chess Club selected hosting the first All Girls State Chess Championship as its service project.


The Madison City Chess League would like to introduce two new programs as options for both high school chess clubs to consider as their service projects:

1. Adopt A School Program

This program encourages high school students to adopt an elementary school chess club and help plan lessons and teach chess. It is a wonderful way to give back to a chess club program that introduced you to chess and an opportunity to share your knowledge with younger students. It is recommended that each school chess club divide students evenly among elementary schools to assist current coaches during chess team practice or to teach kids how to play chess after school. Assisting in All Star East or All Star West Chess Club from 4:30-5:30 p.m. is another way to participate in this program. You can also serve as coach and game analyst in local tournaments in which you are not competing. 

Update from BJHS Chess Club Meeting (8/15/18):  BJHS Chess Club will adopt Horizon Elementary with head coach William Spanier, West Madison Elementary with head coach Aubteen Pour-Biazar, and All Star East Chess Club with head coach Michael Guthrie. Other chess club members will assist in after-school practices and coaching at tournaments.

Update from JCHS Chess Club Meeting (8/20/18):  Coming soon.



2. Junior Tournament Director Program

MCCL utilizes certified tournament directors at all of its tournaments. The Jr TD Program allows high school students to train with certified tournament directors and offers you the opportunity to work as a TD in local tournaments under the supervision of the Chief TD. You will start in a non-rated section, but once you achieve your TD certification through the US Chess Federation, you can also work in rated sections of local tournaments. You can find the Club TD application form here.  Here is a copy of the latest USCF TD Certification rules in case you are interested in achieving additional tournament director credentials. And most importantly, tournaments directors need to stay up to date with the latest USCF rules changes.

MCCL will conduct two TD training sessions before our first two tournaments of the school year and want all interested participants in this program to review the latest rules changes which can be found here. To graduate from the MCCL Junior Tournament Director Program, you will need to study the USCF rules, volunteer as a tournament director in two of the following local tournaments (Summer Knights, Fall Scholars, Winter Knights, MCCL Kindergarten Chess Tournament) working as a floor TD and/or in the back room learning how to operate the SwissSys program,and complete your application to be a USCF Club TD. You must also attend one of two available training sessions prior to volunteering to TD at a tournament: August 24th from 6:30-7:15 p.m. at Rainbow Elementary OR September 10th during Refuel at James Clemens HS at 11:45 a.m.

Upon graduating from the MCCL Jr TD Program, you will be eligible to apply to be listed on the MCCL webpage as a certified tournament director who can be paid for tournament director services at future tournaments.

Learn more about these programs at the first Chess Club meetings of the school year.  Bob Jones Chess Club will meet on Wednesday August 15th at 7:40 a.m. in Mr. Mack's room #N110. James Clemens Chess Club will meet on Monday August 20th in Ms. Simons' room #B110.

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