1. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the history of the game of chess. Explain why it is considered a game of planning and strategy.
Scouts should consider having this written out to show the counselor that some thought and research has gone into this requirement and Scouts should be prepared to discuss their findings. Scouts will not automatically be signed off on this requirement just for attending as the requirement states that they must discuss and explain their findings.
2. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the following:
a. The benefits of playing chess, including developing critical thinking skills, concentration skills, and decision-making skills, and how these skills can help you in other areas of your life
b. Sportsmanship and chess etiquette
Scouts will engage in discussion on their findings during the class. Scouts should review the merit badge pamphlet book to have a better understanding of what this requirement is looking for them to understand. The counselor will facilitate discussion on this requirement during the class. It should be noted that only Scouts that actively, positively, and successfully participate in the discussion will be signed off on this requirement. Preparation is a must.
3. Demonstrate to your counselor that you know each of the following. Then, using Scouting's Teaching EDGE, teach someone (preferably another Scout) who does not know how to play chess:
a. The name of each chess piece
b. How to set up a chessboard
c. How each chess piece moves, including castling and en passant captures
Scouts should be familiar with and be able to identify all the chess pieces and their proper movement and starting points. The Merit Badge Pamphlet as well as the Scoutmaster Bucky Chess Merit Badge Workbook are must use reference for preparing for these parts of the requirement. Component 3C can easily be reviewed through the use of the Merit Badge Pamphlet and Scouts should have a basic understanding of these terms and skill. The counselor will work with Scouts based on preparedness to execute the EDGE method part of this requirement during the class.
4. Do the following:
a. Demonstrate scorekeeping using the algebraic system of chess notation.
b. Discuss the differences between the opening, the middle game, and the endgame.
c. Explain four opening principles.
d. Explain the four rules for castling.
e. On a chessboard, demonstrate a "scholar's mate" and a "fool's mate."
f. Demonstrate on a chessboard four ways a chess game can end in a draw.
While this requirement will be reviewed in the class, Scouts will need to have reviewed the Merit Badge Pamphlet for each of these components and at least have a basic understanding of these terms, skills and methods as they relate to the game of Chess. It is highly recommended to utilize the Scoutmaster Bucky Chess Merit Badge Workbook to make notes when looking each of these components up and recording your findings for easy reference during the class.
5. Do the following:
a. Explain four of the following elements of chess strategy: exploiting weaknesses, force, king safety, pawn structure, space, tempo, time.
b. Explain any five of these chess tactics: clearance sacrifice, decoy, discovered attack, double attack, fork, interposing, overloading, overprotecting, pin, remove the defender, skewer, zwischenzug.
For requirement components 5a and 5b, Scouts should prepare in the same way as they are recommended to prepare in Requirement 4.
c. Set up a chessboard with the white king on e1, the white rooks on a1 and h1, and the black king on e5. With White to move first, demonstrate how to force checkmate on the black king.
For Requirement 5c, Scouts will be asked to set up their chess board and show the counselor their solution to the scenario. While time will be allotted during the class for this, it is recommended to make an attempt to review this component and apply some thought to a solution. Beginner Chess Players may find this requirement difficult depending on their level of understanding at this time of the game of chess. This is a more advanced beginner level concept and practice in Chess. While every attempt will be made to assist boys in understanding and executing this component successfully, please note that like setting up a tent or building a campfire, there is some skill and reasoning that is involved to complete this requirement.
d. Set up and solve five direct-mate problems provided by your merit badge counselor.
Requirement 5d, will be done in the class.
6. Do ONE of the following:
a. Play at least three games of chess with other Scouts and/or your merit badge counselor. Replay the games from your score sheets and discuss with your counselor how you might have played each game differently.
b. Play in a scholastic (youth) chess tournament and use your score sheets from that tournament to replay your games with your merit badge counselor. Discuss with your counselor how you might have played each game differently.
c. Organize and run a chess tournament with at least four players, plus you. Have each competitor play at least two games.
Requirement 6 will be completed in the class. The counselor will either be doing Requirement 6a or 6c in the class.