A+ Chess Puzzle (Pilot)
- The UIL Legislative Council has authorized a pilot event in Chess Puzzle solving for the A+ Academic program.
- The Chess Puzzle Solving pilot will be offered for grades 2-8 in three divisions: grades 2-3, grades 4-5 and grades 6-8. As with other A+ events, districts may choose to structure with these as combined divisions or may choose to offer a separate division for each indvidual grade level. Each division will take a 30-minute objective test plus a separate 10-minute tiebreaker section.
- Download the current contest rules for 2012-2013.
News and Updates
- In October, the UIL Legislative Council voted unanimously to approve the adoption of Chess Puzzle as an official A+ Academic event. Pilot status will continue through 2012-3013, and Chess Puzzle will become an official event beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.
- Texas Tech Chess has partnered with UIL to provide study and practice material for A+ Chess Puzzle. See the link below under Study and Practice Resources.
- All Chess Puzzle test questions are now multiple-choice format, to allow for a broader scope of questions and increase the educational value of the contest (and make grading even easier).
- A+ Chess Puzzle competition now includes a separate tiebreaker section, replacing the previous system of breaking ties based on time. This encourages contestants to take their time and give every question their best effort.
- Scoring is simple. For the main test section, contestants receive one point for each correct answer. There are no deductions for incorrect or unanswered questions. For the tiebreaker section, there is a 1.25 point deduction for each incorrect answer to facilitate breaking ties (still no deductions for unanswered questions). All grade levels will take the same tiebreaker section. Tiebreakers need only be graded for contestants actually involved in a tie.
How to participate
- District meet directors simply check the box and specify grade levels when completing the online District Meet Information and Materials Order Form. Pilot materials will be sent as digital copies that districts can duplicate as needed.
- The pilot currently includes district meets only; invitational meet contest materials are NOT currently available from UIL for the pilot event.
Study and practice resources
- Resources provided by Texas Tech Chess
- Kid Chess
- Chess.com and ChessKid.com
Additional resource links and practice tests will be posted soon!
There are thousands of other chess web sites available online, many that include chess puzzles, and many that are designed for kids.
Meet information will be added as available.
What is a pilot event?
Pilot status allows a new event to be adopted essentially on a trial basis. Contest rules for pilot events are NOT included in the Constitution & Contest Rules, so they may be adjusted on an ongoing basis during the pilot period. The current A+ Social Studies event spent three years in pilot status before the Council voted to adopt it as an official UIL event. Pilot events may or may not ultimately become official events.
What is Chess Puzzle Solving?
The benefits of chess are well documented for players of all ages, and especially for young people. Chess teaches problem solving, hones concentration and encourages analytical and strategic thinking. Chess can be a lifelong pursuit.
Chess puzzle competition is very different from tournament chess play. Contestants in a chess puzzle contest receive a paper-and-pencil test that includes a series of chess boards with pieces in particular positions. The contestant must then determine the fewest moves to checkmate given that particular board layout. Time is also a factor - contestants are scored based on the most puzzles solved in the least amount of time. See below for a sample test.
A chess puzzle event provides an avenue for chess participation that does not require the time and resources of actual tournament play. The fixed time limit makes it practical to include in a district meet schedule, and the availability of free resources allows any school (including those that do not currently have chess programs) to include chess puzzle in their slate of A+ events at minimal cost.