The Chess Merit Badge is not for the meek.  While many might think this just a game, it is a centuries old practice of critical thinking skills, deeper concentration, and abstract reasoning. Scouts will learn fair play, score keeping, sharpen algebraic skills and notation as a part of this fun but dedicated badge.

If you like the Chess Merit Badge, consider also doing American Cultures, Athletics, or Sports.


Scoutmaster Bucky offered this merit badge:

Saturday March 7, 2015

Maple Plain, MN


18 Scouts

Saturday March 15, 2014

Maple Plain, MN


12 Scouts

Saturday March 16, 2013

Maple Plain, MN


34 Scouts

Saturday March 9, 2013

Osseo, MN


17 Scouts

Saturday October 27, 2012

Osseo, MN


28 Scouts

Saturday November 5, 2011

Richfield, MN


43 Scouts








Scoutmaster Bucky Class Prep Page:

click here



Scoutmaster Bucky Workbook:

click here



Chess Merit Badge History Page:

click here






source: Boy Scout Requirements, 2015 Edition


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


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

d. Set up and solve five direct-mate problems provided by your merit badge counselor.


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.


this page last reviewed and updated - December 2015