New Teams & Coaches

Welcome to the Illinois Chess Coaches Association!

What is the ICCA?

The Illinois Chess Coaches Association is a collection of chess coaches from across the state. We have organized together to help promote scholastic chess in Illinois, help other chess coaches, and organize tournaments, competitions, and conferences in the State. The ICCA was instrumental in bringing chess into the schools in Illinois. Today, we organize tournaments, run this website, and provide supplementary awards at the IHSA State Chess Team Tournament.

How can the ICCA help me?

This page has been organized for the express purpose of helping new or prospective chess teams and coaches the help they need to create and build a lasting, strong chess program. The ICCA Team Startup Report is a great overview of what a chess team is, how it functions, and what is required in order to operate a scholastic chess team. Below, you will find some materials designed specifically for new teams and coaches. You will also find links to other pages on this site that experienced coaches use to help their team.

ICCA Team Startup Report.pdf

Who do I ask for help?

Any experienced chess coach is usually willing to help. Chess Conferences are a great place to connect with other coaches who can help you with whatever problem you're having. Also, head over to the ICCA Officers page to find contact information for the ICCA Officers and Heads of Conferences who are usually strong resources for getting answers.

If you need any help or don’t know what to do next, contact a local chess coach or contact the ICCA for help! The ICCA is here to help all Illinois Chess coaches with every aspect of running a chess team.

Below is a list of tips, thoughts, ideas, and links to help you get started:

Speak with your school administrators about requirements (permission slips, scheduling transportation, purchasing equipment & shirts, tournament fees, etc.)

    • The ICCA Team Startup Report is a great overview of what a chess team is, how it functions, and what is required in order to operate a scholastic chess team. This can be a valuable tool for articulating with school admin and school boards!
    • Read about some of the benefits of chess from Benjamin Franklin in his "On the Morals of Chess"

Get a team going!

    • Make announcements
    • Put up flyers
    • Distribute chess sets to willing teachers
    • Play in the cafeteria, commons, before and after school

Contact a local chess conference official and ask about…

    • Joining the ICCA (may be accomplished through the conference)
    • joining the conference
    • scheduling conference games
    • participating in conference tournaments
    • any fees associated with the above activities

Gather materials and resources to help your team learn and grow

    • Check out the Documents page for downloadable versions of necessary forms such as the IHSA Rules packet, notation sheets, match score sheets, notation tip sheets (helpful for player just learning to notate), communication cards, etc.
    • Check out the Teaching Chess page for some valuable resources for teaching beginning and intermediate chess players the basics of the game
    • Check out the Links and Resources page for valuable links to online resources that you can use and that your team can use to study the game, purchase equipment (info about clocks here), and practice their skills

Make sure you and your team are familiar with the rules of chess

    • Familiarize yourself with the IHSA gameplay rules so that you and your team can learn and follow standard procedures
    • The Rules Review Document can be used as a review or as a guide to help students find and learn the rules that are most important and most commonly used
    • Familiarize yourself with the Swiss Tournament style so that you understand how tournaments are run and how participants are paired. This knowledge will come in handy sooner than you think!

Schedule regular practices

    • Develop a routine for practices…
    • If you’re unsure how to run a strong practice that will build a strong team, ask your chess coach colleagues!

Make a team placard!

    • At the IHSA State Chess Team Tournament, teams are required to have a sign, object, or placard that identifies their team
    • Team placards are one way that teams display their personality to the rest of the field