Teaching Checkers to Children
How to Play Checkers for Kids
Teaching Checkers to Children of All Ages October 23, 2003.
In the fall of 2003, the ACF announced its
support in the growing campaign to teach checkers
kids of all ages about the fascinating
and rewarding elements of our grand ole' game.
In its commentary, it was stated that in the
past few decades, Robert Pike, a former Massachusetts
State Champion now living in Chula Vista, California,
has been devoted to teaching young kids
and students about the depth of a good
checkers game. Pike has won considerable accolades
from teachers, school principals and superintendents
across the country and he has earned plenty
of appreciative smiles from his checkers game students.
Robert Pike: Teaching Checkers
to children of all ages.
counts on its young children to support its established
veterans. The ACF is no different. We look to our youths
to bring fresh ideas to the table and to make our organization
Tactics that give the reader an edge are
described and reinforced with clear annotated
checkerboard illustrations. The player learns
how to control the center of the board, protect
the back row and spot enough double and triple
opportunities to crown more than their fair
share of Kings. Children can clip out a numbered
checkerboard on the last page and use pennies
and dimes as checkers pieces if they don't
have their own game set.
In their teaching checkers to children article,
the American Checker Federation posed these
questions: Parents, how do you get your kids
away from mind numbing TV and computer games?
Teachers, how do you raise those SAT scores
while letting your students have fun? And youths,
how can you learn and do what your parents
tell you to do while playing games with friends?
The answer to all these questions is TEACHING
Perhaps no one has been more instrumental in teaching
how to play checkers for kids
in the U.S. than Robert Pike of Chula Vista, California.
The former Checkers Champion has been teaching the
checkers game to children in schools for several
years with excellent results. The positive effect
that learning checkers has made in many children’s
lives is evident in the following letters commending
the value of the game:
Teaching Checkers Initiative
We are in the middle of another initiative, which
is capturing the excitement of me, the students and
staff - checkers! For a variety of reasons, students
are noticeably more impulsive than they were when
most of us began our professional careers in education.
To counteract this and also to enhance the problem
solving and spatial intelligence of our students,
we have developed an initiative to teach all of our
students how to play the game of checkers.
Many studies are beginning to surface indicating
a connection between high reading and other
academic scores and playing checkers and chess.
We are very fortunate to have as a resident
of Holden, Mr. Bob Pike, former Massachusetts
Checker Champion and author of several books
on playing checkers. Mr. Pike has conducted
a workshop for all of the teachers and is currently
in the process of conducting hour long classes
with every grade one through grade five class.
He teaches the history of the game, the academic
skills the game reinforces, the rules of the
game and key pieces of strategy, and concludes
by playing a game with the class using a large
board with Velcro checkers he has designed.
How to Play Checkers for Kids
Students take home one of several checker challenge
puzzles he has developed. It has been delightful
for me to observe the high level of excitement
and engagement demonstrated by the students during this process!
I want to encourage every family to support this
how to play checkers for kids initiative
with at home checker matches, a very productive
family activity. In grades four and five, every
class will be holding a round robin checker tournament.
Top performers in every class will be offered
an opportunity to go into a weekly lunch / recess
checker activity program conducted by teachers
Patricia Hurley and Gerry Bak. They will work
on teaching checker challenge puzzles and play
each other. Tournaments with other District Schools
are a possibility for the future!
Charles T. Gruszka, Principal:
Developing Competence and Caring.
(Excerpt taken from the Dawson Newsletter, Volume 7, April 1997.)
In support of board games within the school
Wachusett Regional School District Memo Board
Games December 19, 1994 Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D., Superintendent.
As educational teaching leaders, we are responsible
for developing the minds of our students and
youth. Our responsibility includes encouraging,
facilitating, cajoling and/or promoting those
ideas and activities that will enhance learning.
In a former school system, in a very inner city
school, a teacher asked me to support his efforts
in creating a board game as an extra curricular
activity. That school, within a three year period,
won the state chess championship. Students were
allowed to use their intelligence in ways, which
instructional programs didn't complement.
As you read the attached promotional brochure
from the American Checker Federation, note that
the Willoughby (a suburban Cleveland district),
Ohio superintendent, who once was interim superintendent
and deputy in Cleveland, encouraged board games
in his district and learned from the performance
of Cleveland schools.
Computers can be excellent tools to develop the
intellect, but they also limit social development.
Competitive board games not only entertain but
can encourage and inspire intellectual teaching.
Certainly, an individualized educational organization
can respond to the needs of those students who
desire to develop their strategic and tactical
skills in a competitive environment. For those
of you who have been teaching checkers to kids
and students, keep it up.
Many educators have praised Robert Pike for the
critical thinking and social skills the students
learn from his interactive presentations. Teaching
how to play checkers to kids and students that are
eager to share this newfound wisdom after listening
to his presentation, and are anxious to challenge
their parents, friends and siblings with newly discovered
A few years ago, Pike was keen in introducing
this age old board game of checkers to his grandchildren
and was rewarded by their keen intense interest
in the game, so he began searching for primers
on checkers for young children; however, there
was nothing available that was suitable. As a result
of this void in the checkers market of literature,
he sat down and wrote, Winning Checkers for Kids
and for younger audiences, Checker Power. Pike
also produced an award winning video entitled Learning
to Play Better Checkers, which incorporates visualization
with the learning process. His checker problems
have been featured in Highlights for Children magazine
and he has published two books on checker puzzles.
These resources have become very popular as a method
of introducing play at the checkerboard to a world
wherein many young, inquisitive minds reside.
Things People Say About
Robert Pike's Teaching Program
- Your Teaching Checkers Program is more
than entertaining, it encourages and inspires
(Dr. Tutela, Regional Superintendent, Wachusett, Massachusetts)
- ... not just fun, but a valuable strategic
exercise in judgment, conceptual planning
- Winning moves and easy to follow advice.
(School Library Journal)
- Your teaching how to play checkers to
kids presentation was clear, fascinating
and stimulating. Everyone had a wonderful time.
(M. Lo, Children's Librarian, Boston Public
- We use Checkers with Math to help students
visualize geometrically. It also produces social skills.
(G. Bak, 4th Grade Teacher, Dawson School, Holden, Massachusetts)