Educational Chess

Because kids love quizzes

Kahoot! enables teachers to create quizzes in a fun format for their whiteboard, digital or online classes. It is also a great tool for chess teachers, writes Philippe Kalman.

To get beginners going the questions can hardly be too simple.
To get beginners going the questions can hardly be too simple. (Philippe Kalman)

If you teach chess to groups of children, you will probably have encountered this: When you ask the group a question it is nearly always the same two or three children who are answering. What exactly are the others doing? Sleeping, dreaming, meditating, catching flies or, let’s be optimistic, they may just be too shy to brag with their knowledge in front of others. Whatever it is, it is frustrating.

A great way out of this impasse is to use Kahoot! No matter, if you have five, ten, twenty or even fifty students in front of you, none of these brains will remain idle when you use this interactive quiz tool. Kahoot! packages questions in the form of a game with points to win. Every child will participate just as if they were participating in a competition.

If you ask the right questions you will see if your students have learned what you had intended.

You will even be able to read what is going on in their mind. If you ask them the right questions you will see if they have learned what you had intended. Can they find an elementary forking move? Five multiple choice questions with forks will tell you how much they understood, and if you have to repeat the lesson or can move on.

Kahoot doesn’t allow you to enter moves in a position, but you can use diagrammes as pictures.
Kahoot doesn’t allow you to enter moves in a position, but you can use diagrammes as pictures. (Philippe Kalman)

Many chess teachers observe that their students learn more efficiently when they are engaged or even excited. If you have the same experience, Kahoot! is a tool you should definitely consider to use. The free basic version has been good enough for me and will probably do for you, too.

This is how it works: You create questions, and let your students answer them. For every right answer they will gain points, and the faster they answer, the more points they gain. Kahoot has been developed for all teachers, not especially for chess teachers. You cannot create interactive diagrammes in which your students can directly enter moves. But you can still use diagrammes as images in the question or as response options. If you want to ask for the best move in a certain position, you simply show four different moves, only one of which is right. Every response option corresponds to a colour. Even young children, who cannot yet read, can answer picture-based questions.

World of chess Kahoot! page by chess24
World of chess Kahoot! page by chess24

When you have created a full quiz, Kahoot! will generate a code. You have to pass on this code to your students so they can enter the quiz. You can run the quiz live in the classroom, if devices are available, or during an online lesson. Or your students can solve them remotely like homework. The only setback is that the answer is not displayed together with the question.

You can run the quiz live in the classroom or during an online lesson. Or your students can solve them remotely like homework.

Many users share their quizzes through a database. When I started to use Kahoot! there were very few chess quizzes stored, but this is changing, and the Kahoot! group on Lichess seems to have gone inactive. After Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) took its chess instruction online, it added a Kahoot! quiz for each of its 30 lessons.

Recently chess24 has become a Kahoot! Academy premium partner and presented a World of Chess page with numerous quizzes. The most instructive of them are basically a beginner’s course in the form of questions and answers.

Philippe Kalman is a chess teacher and coach in La Varenne near Paris and has been teaching more than ever during the pandemic.
Philippe Kalman is a chess teacher and coach in La Varenne near Paris and has been teaching more than ever during the pandemic. (private)