MHSAA to offer chess as activity

MHSAA Chess: Year One

As one of the world’s premier mind sports, chess demands and rewards intellectual rigor, artistic creativity, and fighting spirit. When offered as a school sport activity it draws on diverse interests and skills, often creating new crosscurrents of student interaction and collaboration.

Chess teaches study skills, sportsmanship, teamwork, the importance of disciplined preparation, the power of critical feedback, and the many connections between resilience and improvement.

Our primary goal in this introductory year is to help schools successfully launch chess clubs.

Who Can Start a School Chess Club?

Above all else, a successful school chess club requires a committed adult who organizes regular opportunities for students to play and study chess. Such a person need not be an experienced chess player. However, he/she needs to be familiar with the rules of chess and ensure that students follow them. Like any other skill activity, improvement at chess depends on the quality of feedback students receive about their moves and ideas. Beginning chess sponsors may need to rely on more experienced players and various instructional chess websites for help and advice as they develop their own chess skills.

There will be opportunities throughout the school year for new chess sponsors to learn the basic elements of chess and how to introduce it to their school communities.

How, where, and when do students participate in chess competitions?

Chess competitions can both inspire players to reach new heights and give them a clear sense of where their skills stand in relation to those of their peers. Although the MHSAA will not be coordinating its own chess formal leagues or state championships during the 2019-2020 school year, it will offer two beginners’ events to introduce students and sponsors to chess tournament environments (details are forthcoming).

There are several websites dedicated to online chess play.

The Mississippi Chess Association runs state team and individual championships. The Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association offers a range of scholastic tournaments throughout the year, including statewide team and individual championships. Both of these organizations are eager to help schools establish chess programs. They can be reached at and respectively.

What equipment does a school chess club require?

Tournament style chess sets can be purchased for around $12 per set (board and pieces). A club should have at least one set for every two players. A list of chess vendors will be made available.

We highly recommend that students also have access to sets for home use.

Demonstration boards that hang on a wall or whiteboard are very helpful for group instruction. These can also be purchased from various chess vendors.

MHSAA Rules Governing Chess

  1. Competition will be held for all member schools without classification.
  2. Participants must meet eligibility requirements for chess set forth by MHSAA for other sport activities.
  3. The official playing rules will be determined by the MHSAA Chess Advisory Committee and approved by the MHSAA Executive Committee.
  4. Chess is approved as a sport-activity for students in grades seven through twelve.
  5. Post-season state championship events will begin school year 2020-21 (to be determined by MHSAA Executive Committee)
  6. The maximum number of matches per week will be two. The matches may include more than two teams or opponents.

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