TMW Book Reviews

Classroom Chess:
The Primary Teacher's Handbook

by Leah Martin-Dagher

Chess is one of the oldest games in history, dating back almost 1,500 years. As a game with a rich cultural heritage and iconic figures, the sport has continuously evolved and has continued to do so. It has even been included in popular culture like “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” to name a few.

People often mistake chess for something only a few prodigies can play. Another misconception is that it is an “outdated” form of entertainment. In reality, both notions are utterly false as chess continues to be a helpful learning tool and a fun game for all ages.

Leah Martin-Dagher has been a chess instructor for kindergarteners to eight grade students since 2005. Her book, “Classroom Chess: The Primary Teacher’s Handbook,” offers a convenient scholastic lesson plan for teachers considering instructing their elementary students on the basics of playing chess.

From gauging their knowledge of the pieces to naming their points on a chessboard, she offers a no-fuss instructional manual that helps teachers monitor their class progress as the lessons continue.

Learning the value of chess is not just about games. The effects of its mechanics also bring about many benefits for avid players, like improved focus, increased attention span, and an ability to recognize patterns and create strategies. These skills can quickly transfer to other concepts the learner is interested in, significantly improving their cognitive processing. Once students master bridging these skills into practical tasks, teachers will find that their students feel proud of their acquired skills and have great fun doing so.


This book is an excellent guide for the younger generation, although people in the older demographic can benefit from it too. Nevertheless, teachers can make the most of the author’s lessons by regularly monitoring their student’s progress and providing extra lessons as reinforcement. You’ll be surprised how many children can enjoy this classic game!

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 2, 2023

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