There is a thriving chess community at Malcolm X and the more advanced students who sign up regularly continue to break new ground. Last year they learned, among other things, three new chess openings, more subtle middle game combinations, three and even four moves deep, and a few standard checkmate positions.

The class with be broken into groups for boys and girls and the teaching strategies adjusted for each group. It has taken several years of gender-differentiated curriculum at Malcolm X to bring the number of girls playing chess on a rough par with that of the boys. Last year at our first school-wide chess tournament, girls placed equally well as the boys. This is unheard-of in scholastic chess.

Some of the teaching strategies for gender differentiation:

  • inventing various cooperative or competitive games that teach particular chess skills; different rules for in-class tournaments
  • teaching chess through dance and physical activities
  • combining chess with music
  • describing chess strategies visually and verbally; storytelling
  • using a chess = war metaphor vs. a more Eastern chess = symbiosis metaphor