Teaching Mathematics through Chess - Cambridge

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Royal Cambridge Hotel

Trumpington Street



United Kingdom

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Refunds up to 30 days before event

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The Chess and Mathematics teacher training course is a one-day course on how to teach mathematics problem-solving skills using games and puzzles. The course gives teachers the confidence and insight to teach maths in a fun and exciting way to children in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 (ages 8 to 12). The course comprises interactive presentations, group working, and hands-on exercises. The emphasis of the course is on innovative ways to teach problem-solving methods.

Who should attend?

Anybody who is involved with or interested in teaching numeracy or mathematics to children and is seeking an innovative and engaging approach. Those who have attended include teachers, chess tutors and after-school activities co-ordinators.


The course has been run twice in London to glowing reviews. This is the first time that the course has been run outside London. People have attended from England, Germany, USA, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Luxembourg.


The basis of the teaching method is that problem-solving is more natural and accessible in a games environment. Children love to play and are motivated to search for a winning strategy. The course presents a number of exercises which have been tested in the classroom and refined accordingly. The course explains how to solve the problems using a variety of approaches.


The problem-solving approach is based upon the work of George Pólya which informs mathematics teaching around the world, including the Singapore Method. The course derives from the ErasmusPlus CHAMPS Project - Chess and Mathematics in Primary Schools which has established the European reference. The course presenters were the leading authors regarding the material and how to present it.

ECU School Chess Teacher Training Course

The ECU Chess and Mathematics one-day course is immediately followed by the two-day ECU School Chess Teacher Training Course which conveys the most up to date methods of using chess to develop thinking skills in the primary school classroom. There is a discount for those who take both (see other course for details).


09:30 Arrival and refreshments

10.00 Course starts

  • Introductions

  • What is chess and mathematics?

  • Starter problems

  • Tailoring complex problems for a younger audience

  • Mathematical minigames

  • Geometry of the Chessboard

13.00 Buffet Lunch

  • Nim games

  • Investigations on the chessboard

  • Dominance and Independence

  • Knight's Tour

16.30 Test

17.30 End of Course


Rita Atkins is a teacher of mathematics and physics and a titled chess player.

John Foley is an experienced chess educator who worked as a mathematical modeller.

John and Rita developed the training course because they saw the great potential of teaching mathematics through games and puzzles.


The course is certificated by the European Chess Union and may count towards teacher professional development. The Certificate requires passing a test at the end of the course. Attendees should bring a digital device on which to run the test.


Attendees receive a Teachers Guide comprising a fully worked set of 50 instructive problems based around the chess board and the moves of chess pieces.


The Royal Cambridge Hotel is located on the edge of the city centre. The hotel is a perfect base for exploring the beauty of historic Cambridge. For those driving to Cambridge and staying at the hotel there is special discounted rate in their car park of £8.00 per night (from £15.00 per night, full price)


Attendees staying overnight in Cambridge are recommended to stay at the venue hotel where we have negotiated special rates:

  • £99.00 per night in single occupancy room including buffet breakfast

  • £115.00 in double/twin occupancy including buffet breakfast

Please quote 'ChessPlus' and code B86268

European Chess Union

The European Chess Union is the representative body for 54 national chess federations in Europe and neighbouring regions. Members of the ECU include the English Chess Federation, Scottish Chess, the Welsh Chess Union and the Irish Chess Union. The Education Commission of the ECU promotes chess as a pedagogic tool to develop the social and intellectual skills of children. The Education Commission was established in 2014 to lead the development of Chess in Schools across Europe following the Declaration of the European Parliament in 2012 that chess in schools should be encouraged. The ECU launched a School Chess Teacher Certificate scheme to recognise school teachers who have the knowledge and ability to teach chess in the classroom.


Why is there a maximum number of attendees?

We want to ensure that everybody who attends receives the optimum learning experience and the maximum interaction with the course tutors. Hence we restrict the number of attendees to 24.

Is the course suitable for someone who is not a teacher?

The course is suitable if you are a chess tutor who wants to expand the exercises you give in class.

What level of mathematics are attendees expected to have?

These are unique problems, so there is no prior knowledge of mathematics required.

Is the course suitable for primary schools or secondary schools?

The course focuses on didactics rather than content. The exercises are tailored for primary age children. Nevertheless some of the problems are deep in complexity so could be presented to secondary school students as well.

More information

For more information about the course, please contact training@chessplus.net

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Royal Cambridge Hotel

Trumpington Street



United Kingdom

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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