Chess Board Game

Use either a custom made board of 10×10 (especially for math activities since we follow tens or decimal system) or use the regular chess board of 8×8.

Why Chess Board?

  • Any Grid – is a very interesting medium – where lots can be done – you can move, arrange, make patterns, count, chart, connect, etc.
  • The chess board is even more interesting because of black and white alternate squares which add more excitement and can be used to add more challenges.

All the Cows home – addition and subtraction (parts of a whole) – any number of players of3-4-5years – each with their chess board.

I have 8 token (cows) each in the first row – one in each square.

Based on my roll of dice and choice of cow – I move that token forward.

Next roll of the dice – I move either the same cow (if I can) or move another cow. The cow can reach the last row (i.e. home) only if exact number is thrown by the dice.

So for example when dice threw 4 I moved cow No2 to the 4th row. Next throw of dice I get a five. Now I cannot use this 5 for cow no 2. so either I move another cow or I skip a turn.

Variation – if I get a bigger number than the boxes left – the cow can go to the home and then come back. so going by the previous example – if we throw 5 then from 4th row we go to 8th row (home) and then come back to 7th row – as the dice had 5 on it.

Crowning the King Centurywork on place value– max 4 players on one board of 10 x 10 (or 8×8)

You can crown your king when you have crowned 10 generals in your army. To crown one general, you need 10 soldiers.

Each child has 10 tokens each of two colors or shapes. One color represents soldiers, the other represents generals.

Each child has two columns – the right one is for soldiers (units) and left on is for generals (tens).

Every throw of dice the child keeps soldier tokens equal to what dice shows – starting from the bottom row. The child tries to fill all 10 soldier slots. The moment he does that he can crown one general – as in place one token in the generals column (and remove the soldier tokens). The final theobjective this way is to fill the generals column – and when he has 10 generals – his king is crowned!
Obviously, if child’s dice throw makes more than 10 soldiers, the child carries forward extra (more than 10) soldiers.


  • 1st throw 4 – keeps 4 soldiers in right column
  • 2nd throw 3 – keeps 3 more soldiers in right column (total 7 soldiers with three soldier spaces vacant)
  • 3rd throw 5 – (now with 3 tokens he reaches 10) – so replaces 10 with one General token in left column and the extra 2 soldiers he re-starts the soldier column with them (total 2 soldiers with 8 soldier spaces vacant, and 1 general with 9 general spaces vacant)
  • and so on till he gets 10 generals and crowns his king!

My kingdom- capture most squares – numbers, quantity, addition, and subtraction etc – 1-4 players on the same board.

  • Board is numbered either 1-64 (1-100 for a 10×10 board) or each row is numbered as the tens row (0,1,2 … to 9)

Each child has a token of a different color – or they can make many small slips with their name (and maybe sequential numbers) written on them.

Now the idea is to capture any square and claim it by placing one’s token/slip on it.

There can be many variations for rules of capturing – depending on what you want the children to learn and age of children.

  • Counting (1st version) – some beans fall from the bag – how many – count and capture that square. Throw some beans on a large cardboard lid with a circle in the center – count the number fallen inside the circle – capture that square.
  • Counting 2nd version – Use a book and first child claims – say a number of times” letter comes on a page, or a number of things with red color in any illustration – then opens the books and counts and then if that square on the board is free – claims that square.
  • Tens and Units: Have two packs of cards – one for units and one for tens. The units card have numbers 0-9 printed. The tens packs are double the width of units card and have tens written (00, 10, 20, 30 etc). The two cards put together make the number (with the units card being placed on top and aligned to the right edge of the tens card – covering the zero of the tens card). Example – I draw 40 as tens card and 3 as units card – so I will place the 3 units card on top of ‘zero of 40’ – hence making the cards together 43. Now I can capture 43 on the board, if its free.
  • Another interesting way is to make a number line (using beads or a paper scale). Now you can roll a marble and whichever number touches – you capture that number.
  • Children learning multiplication (tables) can be given two stacks of playing cards (1-9) numbers and they capture the multiplication of the two cards they draw.

Word Chains- any number of players – each with their chess board or common board.

You try to find words having the same beginning and ending sounds (in a given chapter or book or room etc) and chain them on the chess board to occupy as many rows as you can. Each row can start with a fresh word or try to chain the whole board.
Word Chains can be based on ending sound (phoneme), ending letter (spelling), or synonyms, etc.

Number Chess
Two Players make (secretly) 16 slips of numbers (each on diff color paper), (between say 1-20) and keep them on the two rows – like how chess board is prepared.
Now each player moves one slip at a time and can capture each other number based on rules decided by them. Example rules:
Movement rules: Even numbers move straight forward two steps. Odd numbers move one step forward. Prime numbers can also move diagonally. Multiples of 3 can also move sideways on one step.
Capture Rules: Multiples can capture each other (2 can eat 8 and 8 can eat 2; 3 can eat9 and vice versa). Any number exactly five more/less can capture the other.
Above are sample rules – children can make their own rules and play as many variations. One who captures all or captures more of opponents wins.

Word Chess
Two variations – either two players play with the tokens of alphabets (A-Z) or make (secretly) 30 slips of Alphabets (they can repeat any alphabet). Scrabble coins can also be used.
Now white player keeps one slip/ letter anywhere on any white box of the board. The next player using only the black boxes and tries to make a word (of size 4 or more letters). If successful he captures the word and removes the letters – words can be made vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Instead of black or white you can have an open board – keep anywhere.

Here are somemore examplesof the use of chess board:

·Make bar charts

·Play opposites

·Use as a scorecard

·Make movement patterns (similar to different chess pieces)

·Play droughts, with loads of variations

·Play any other strategic thinking games with their own rules

·Make geometric patterns with each square as one node (vertex)

·Count the number of squares on a chess board

There are many more games one can play – they are just waiting for your imagination.