What is Pre-Chess ?
An early definition was presented in 1988 : Set of pedagogical activities organized for boys and girls in the preschool level; using the pieces, pawns, and the chessboard (mural, table, or floor), with the purpose of generating connections and articulations with knowledge from the different sectors of the curriculum. Among such activities are songs, stories, poems, dances, dramatizations, drawings, paintings, puppets, Chinese shadows, etc.” It is a methodological proposal suggested to stimulate thinking and motor skills in preschoolers; as well as an approach to the rudiments and basic principles of the game of chess. [Blanco, U. (1988) El Ajedrez como herramienta para el desarrollo de habilidades cognitivas en las escuelas básicas adscritas al SAED. II Jornadas de la Realidad Educativa Distrital. Caracas, Distrito Federal.]
Example – Early Years Skills
The EYS program (eys.fide.com), a joint venture between FIDE, AlfiereBianco, and Le Due Torri, which emerged from the Erasmus+ CASTLE project, consists of 65 activities/lessons. The final 29 cover the basic moves of the pieces, while the first 36 are pre-chess, consisting of stories, poems and physical movement on the giant floor chessboard. You can watch many of these in action in the very short videos at eys.fide.com:
Exploring the Chessboard Space
- Freely exploring the space
- Inside – Outside
- Black & White
- The Castle Step
- A Hop and a Clap
- A Scream or a Polite Word
- The Castle’s Great Ball
Forward Vertical, Backward Vertical
- The Path that Must be Taken
- Forward Vertical Movement – Passing Meetings
- Forward Vertical Motion – Close Encounters!
- Backward Vertical Motion – Meet and Greet
- Team Game: Flower Power
Horizontal and Vertical
- The Letters F and B are Directions for Me
- Let’s Go Sideways! Introduction to Horizontal Movement
- Hey, This is Getting Harder!
- Boletus the Gnome!
- Team Game: Look Inside the Treasure Chest, and See What’s There!
- Review of Vertical and Horizontal Movement
- Game Activity in Pairs: The Blind Person
- A New Possibility: The Diagonal
- The Carriages Arrive at the Castle!
- The Carriages Cross the Castle in Every Direction
- How Many Steps Must I Make?
- Team Game: Finding Your Way Through the Rooms of the Castle
- Juggler of the Year
- Colourful Directions
- Don’t Get Captured!
- Team Game: Don’t Get Captured by Rospo the Toad!
Discovering the Coordinates
- The Alphabet Rhyme
- Reading the Coordinates Using Pieces of Cord
- Room Race!
- Find the Room, Win a Prize!
- Team Game: Body Letters and Numbers
- Team Game: Mr Letter! Mr Number! The Investigator!
- Holding Hands
- Find the Room!
- -41 King, 42-45 Rook, 46-50 Diago (=Bishop), 51-55 Regina (=Queen), 56-59 Pod (=Pawn), 60-65 Skip (=Knight).
There are many examples of Preajedrez in South America and in Spain.
Kevin O’Connell, 2021.04.09