Effective and Easy to Implement!

Since many teachers do not play chess; we made it easy to implement. Because teachers are pressed for time, we made First Move an effective and valuable use of classroom time. Oh, and don’t forget fun, for both teachers and students!

Boy Moving Royal Piece

Research and Standards Based

The majority of research agrees “chess helps kids perform better academically.” Research on the First Move program stated, “First Move increases math and reading aptitude, across all sub-groups.” (Woo, 2009) That means chess is a powerful tool to use, especially in our increasingly diverse classrooms.

There are no chess standards, but through chess, kids can meet math standards. Second grade Common Core math standard 2.G.A.1- Recognize, define and demonstrate knowledge of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. First Move meets that standard in our first lesson!

Thumbnail_boy at board

First Move in the Classroom

The only way to reach ALL kids is by being part of the school day. It is vital that ALL our children learn to think critically, so First Move is taught in the classroom, once a week. The Chess Lady teaches, classroom teachers facilitate the activities, and the students are fully engaged. We also offer an academic after school option for schools with an extended day.

Unsure of what First Move really looks like? Watch a clip of a lesson in progress and download samples of the curriculum.

Sample Lesson 1 Sample Lesson 17 Video Download

Kids Love First Move

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is First Move?

    First Move is an academic enrichment curriculum using the game of chess to teach critical and creative thinking skills to elementary students in grades 2, 3 and 4. We have an in-class curriculum and after-school program. The lessons are sequential and academics are the primary focus. Cross curricular ties with math, reading, social studies and STEM subjects are woven into each lesson.

  • Is chess experience needed to teach the program?

    Nope! You can learn right along with your students as you follow The Chess Lady and simply facilitate the reinforcing classroom activities. You will be a smashing success!

  • How do I get an Invitation Code?

    An “Invitation Code” is given to our current subscribers and allows access to our online streaming video lessons. If you are new to our site and not yet a customer, please contact info@firstmovechess.org to register your school.

    If you are already registered for the First Move chess program, log in information including the invitation code is located in the welcome packet/email you received after your school was registered. If you do not have the welcome packet/email, please contact info@firstmovechess.org

  • Is this a chess club?

    First Move was designed to be an academic program, not a chess club. We focus more on inspiring students to think critically and be great problem solvers, then on chess. We do encourage students to be chess players and join clubs. First Move is a great tool for academic in-class and after-school programs.

  • What other skills are taught in the First Move program?

    Social Emotional Learning and the skills taught in the First Move program go hand in hand. We teach good sportsmanship, positive behavior, and help student to slow down and concentrate for greater periods of time. Impulse control and the development of intellectual self-esteem are also taught through First Move.

  • Who can use the First Move chess program?

    First Move is designed for a classroom or after-school academic setting and can also be utilized in a home-school group. It was not designed for use in chess clubs. First Move meets standards for 2nd and 3rd grade students and easily translates into the 4th grade as well.

  • How do I sign up for the First Move chess program?

    Contact us! We will work with you to determine which First Move program is best for your school’s needs. Simply reach out and we’ll help you navigate the details. Contact info@firstmovechess.org or call/text us at 425-629-4000.

  • How much does First Move cost?

    The cost ranges from $100 to $650 a year per classroom. The cost is determined by the number of years your campus has participated as well as materials needed for each classroom. As a non-profit, we offer grant funding to campuses that qualify; funding is issued on a first come/first served basis.

  • Is there research on First Move?

    Yes! In 2009 a report was completed by NWREL. Dr. Annie Woo concluded “First Move’s research and standards based curriculum increases math and reading aptitude across all sub-groups”. Beyond that, we have tons of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of First Move.

  • How can I support First Move chess?

    We are a non-profit and the majority of our schools are in need of financial support. If helping students develop the building blocks to think critically is important to you, we would love your help. Check out our DONATE page. For more information about making a donation, please contact us. info@firstmovechess.org or call 425-629-4000.

Teacher Testimonials

Just want you to know how great this program is. The students and teachers are truly into it…..in one teacher’s words….it really makes a difference in the ways students react to one another, much less the critical thinking it employs.

Dr. Judy Shelton, Curriculum Director, Ariel Community Academy

Teacher Testimonials

I teach in a Title 1 school and have children with special needs, learning delays, and complex trauma they are dealing with. I have six bilingual learners. Chess was the equalizer this year. My highest, most gifted students played chess with my Fetal Alcohol Syndrome student and everyone was a winner.

Trina Lanegan, 2nd grade teacher, Mt. Stuart Elementary School, Ellensburg, WA

Teacher Testimonials

My students love chess, and I have seen them grow as critical thinkers by learning to play the game. I love that I can connect what they learn in chess to other subjects that I teach particularly math.

Casey Watts, 3rd grade teacher, Nora Davis Magnet School, Laurel, MS

Teacher Testimonials

I have seen many benefits from this program in my classroom from social aspects to academic improvement.

Robin McSestheis, 2nd grade teacher, Austin Elementary, Grand Prairie, TX

Teacher Testimonials

I LOVE this program. IT is designed very well. It is systematically strong, provides ample practice for students to learn each piece of knowledge, and I am learning more right along with my class. I also love how it supports the language and skills I am teaching them in math. We have even initiated a class versus class game using our large display boards. Thank you so much for sharing this program.

Kurt Brandner, 3rd grade teacher, Stanley Elementary, Tacoma, WA