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(adding note about req3 (per Frank Ramirez, Program Specialist) - went to a clinic where Scouts were teaching skills to each other and counting it. Eek!)
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{{Merit Badge header|Chemistry|Cinematography|{{PAGENAME}} is a '''''new''''' merit badge!}}
{{Merit Badge header|Chemistry|Cinematography|{{PAGENAME}} is a '''''new''''' merit badge!}}
{{Otheruses|''This is the '''Boy Scout {{PAGENAME}} merit badge'''.<br>Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts can earn the [[Cub Scout {{PAGENAME}}]] belt loop and pin.''}}
{{Otheruses|''This is the Boy Scout '''{{PAGENAME}} merit badge'''.<br>Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts can earn the [[Cub Scout {{PAGENAME}}]] belt loop and pin.''}}

Revision as of 22:23, October 19, 2012

Resources include the Chess merit badge worksheet Adobe Acrobat PDF, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.  Prev  -  Next  

This is the Boy Scout Chess merit badge.
Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts can earn the Cub Scout Chess belt loop and pin.

Chess merit badge
Status: Elective
Created:  2011 
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 147
Requirements revision: New
Latest pamphlet revision: New


The USCF (United States Chess Federation) provided the primary contributing writers for the Merit Badge pamphlet. They will be helping to promote the badge through communications with the Chess delegate teams (similar to BSA’s National Committees and Boards) and e-mail blasts, plus website and “tournament news” announcements.
— BSA Supply Line, July 2011
Boy Scouts of America to Introduce New Chess Merit Badge...

Contact your local council if you are interested in becoming a merit badge counselor.

— BSA Innovations and Research, August 2011

Chess requirements

  1. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the history of the game of chess. Explain why it is considered a game of planning and strategy.
  2. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the following:
    a. The benefits of playing chess, including developing critical thinking skills, concentration skills, and decision-making skills, and how these skills can help you in other areas of your life
    b. Sportsmanship and chess etiquette
  3. Demonstrate to your counselor that you know each of the following. Then, using Scouting’s Teaching EDGE*, teach someone (preferably another Scout) who does not know how to play chess:
    a. The name of each chess piece
    b. How to set up a chessboard
    c. How each chess piece moves, including castling and en passant captures
  4. Do the following:
    a. Demonstrate scorekeeping using the algebraic system of chess notation.
    b. Discuss the differences between the opening, the middle game, and the endgame.
    c. Explain four opening principles.
    d. Explain the four rules for castling.
    e. On a chessboard, demonstrate a "scholar's mate" and a "fool's mate."
    f. Demonstrate on a chessboard four ways a chess game can end in a draw.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Explain four of the following elements of chess strategy: exploiting weaknesses, force, king safety, pawn structure, space, tempo, time.
    b. Explain any five of these chess tactics: clearance sacrifice, decoy, discovered attack, double attack, fork, interposing, overloading, overprotecting, pin, remove the defender, skewer, zwischenzug.
    c. Set up a chessboard with the white king on e1, the white rooks on a1 and h1, and the black king on e5. With White to move first, demonstrate how to force checkmate on the black king.
    d. Set up and solve five direct-mate problems provided by your merit badge counselor.
  6. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Play at least three games of chess with other Scouts and/or your merit badge counselor. Replay the games from your score sheets and discuss with your counselor how you might have played each game differently.
    b. Play in a scholastic (youth) chess tournament and use your score sheets from that tournament to replay your games with your merit badge counselor. Discuss with your counselor how you might have played each game differently.
    c. Organize and run a chess tournament with at least four players, plus you. Have each competitor play at least two games.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Chess merit badge pamphlet, 2011 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #637685)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Chess is available here! Adobe Acrobat PDF
with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need!
Or click here to print just the Chess requirements. has PDF and DOC versions of
Boy Scout merit badge workbooks, Webelos workbooks,
Cub Scout workbooks, and Nova Award workbooks.

3. Clarification of requirement #3, per BSA National: “Scout” refers to a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout only. "...does not know how to play..." means a Scout who is unfamiliar with the game. It does not mean teaching an existing player a new skill or strategy.

Requirement resources

1. The History of Chess
2. The Benefits of Chess Statistical research that supports the benefit of playing chess.
3a and 3b How to Set Up the Board and the Names of the Pieces
3c. How Each Piece Moves; Castling; En Passant Capture
4a. Chess Notation and Keeping Score
4c. Opening Chess Strategy
4d. Rules of Castling
4e. Fool's Mate and Scholar's Mate
4f. When Does a Game End in a Draw?
5a. Glossary of Chess Terms
5b. Chess Tactics
5d. Mate in One A collection of one- and two- move checkmate puzzles.

Note: The following resources cover learning (and teaching) chess, and the specific requirements for the Chess merit badge.

Powerpoint presentations:

1 - Benefits of Chess and Chess Etiquette (22 Slides)
2 - The History of Chess (31 Slides)
3 - Setting Up the Chess Board and Basic Rules of the Game (30 Slides)
4 - Algebraic Notation for Recording Chess Games (22 Slides)
5 - Some Quick Checkmates (7 Slides)
6 - Chess Strategy and Tactics (34 Slides)
7 - Chess Opening Principles (16 Slides)
Video - Opening Principles - Morphy vs. Consultants (a.k.a "The Opera Game") (08m:48s)
Video - Chess Openings - London System (15m:20s)
8 - Chess Endgames (6 Slides)
Video - Endgame Vol 1 (02m:35s)
Video - Endgame Vol 2 (03m:17s)
Video - Endgame Vol 3 (02m:27s)
Video - Endgame Vol 4 (02m:44s)
Video - Endgame Vol 5 (03m:13s)
9 - Chess Problems (52 Slides)
10- Chess Tournaments (19 Slides)



  • If you (the merit badge counselor) are likely to be beaten in Chess by 10 percent of the scouts (scholastic players), why not let a better player teach? (Review your rating vs. Cumulative Percentiles by USCF Chess Ratings, above.)
  • Districts should consider proven ability to play -and- teach Chess before approving counselors.
  • Recommendations for Chess merit badge counselors
  • Trainer's EDGE – Extremely useful method in teaching Chess — highly recommended for Chess merit badge counselors.

Related awards

Hobby-related awards

See also

Boy Scout portal
Venturing portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

CAUTION: "" is NOT the URL for the US Chess Federation website; the correct URL is "".
"" contains malware; so, stay away. — Last scanned: September 14, 2011

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