Taking problems from Bruce Pandolfini, Chessercizes, 1991, New York: Fireside and Bruce Pandolfini, Beginning Chess, 1993, New York: Fireside, I developed tactics worksheets for small groups (2-4 students) in my Strickland Middle School classes and my summer chess camps. I group problems by type of tactic. For example, one page of 10 problems might be all forks.

At the beginning of class, I define and give one or two examples of that tactic. Then the class tackles one 10-problem worksheet during a 45-minute class. Each of the ten problems is written in notation rather than using chess diagrams. That is, following Pandolfini, I typed the notation of which white and which black pieces should be set up for each problem. On a practical level, this saves paper as diagrams would take up more room. On an educational level, students must interpret notation to a 3-D board. At the end of each class, I check each group’s answers. Note that each student writes an answer to each problem, but then the group discusses the problem. At that point, group members change their written answers as desired to agree with the group consensus.

OBJECTIVES: Reading and writing notation; individual problem solving; group discussion and problem solving.

MATERIALS: Each group has one chess set and board and one 10-problem page. Each student has a pencil and notebook. I print the following directions on the top of each 10-problem page.

DIRECTIONS: Number your notebook paper from 1-10. Write your answer in notation (i.e. 1. Ne4+) to each problem. Problems may take more than one move to solve. ONLY AFTER EACH PERSON IN YOUR GROUP HAS WRITTEN AN ANSWER should you discuss your answers as a group. When all the problems are solved, turn in your notebook paper, making sure your names are on it, to the teacher.