Saturday, January 22, 2011

A+ Chess Puzzle (Pilot)

A+ Chess Puzzle (Pilot)

A+ Chess Puzzle (Pilot) is for Pilot Event -->

The UIL Legislative Council has authorized a pilot event in Chess Puzzle solving for the A+ Academic program.

What is a pilot event?

Pilot status allows a new event to be adopted essentially on a trial basis. Contest rules for pilot events are NOT included in the Constitution & Contest Rules, so they may be adjusted on an ongoing basis during the pilot period. The current A+ Social Studies event spent three years in pilot status before the Council voted to adopt it as an official UIL event. Pilot events may or may not ultimately become official events.

What is Chess Puzzle solving?

The benefits of chess are well documented for players of all ages, and especially for young people. Chess teaches problem solving, hones concentration and encourages analytical and strategic thinking. Chess can be a lifelong pursuit.

Chess puzzle competition is very different from tournament chess play. Contestants in a chess puzzle contest receive a paper-and-pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. The contestant must then determine the fewest moves to checkmate given that particular board layout. Time is also a factor - contestants are scored based on the most puzzles solved in the least amount of time. See below for a sample test.

A chess puzzle event provides an avenue for chess participation that does not require the time and resources of actual tournament play. The fixed time limit makes it practical to include in a district meet schedule, and the availability of free resources allows any school (including those that do not currently have chess programs) to include chess puzzle in their slate of A+ events at minimal cost.

Download a sample chess puzzle test with answer sheet and key.

Where did this idea come from?

The proposal for a UIL chess puzzle competition came from the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), a division of Texas Tech University. Ms. Polgar is one of the world's leading chess players. She is currently the top-ranked woman player in the United States, and she was the first woman ever to earn the title of chess Grandmaster. Coming soon - read more about Susan Polgar and the chess puzzle pilot in the Leaguer.

How do we participate?

Districts with upcoming meets will be contacted about possible participation in the pilot this spring. All A+ districts will have the option to participate in 2011-12 by indicating their choice on the District Meet form.

Are there invitational meets?

Yes. SPICE and school district partners are sponsoring multiple invitational meets around the state, including the following:

January 22 - Alice
January 22 - Lubbock
January 29 - Brownsville
February 19 - Lubbock

Additional meet information will be added when available.

What study and practice resources are available?

There are thousands of chess web sites available online, many that include chess puzzles, and many that are designed for kids. Below are links for some of these sites; more will be added.

Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (includes a daily chess puzzle and downloadable training guide for teachers and parents)
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