One of the challenges of teaching chess to a group of Scouts is that you will probably have different proficiency levels in the group. Some of them will already know how to play the game and others will not.
Bughouse (sometimes called Bunkhouse) is a game which helps even the playing field. Basically, there are two teams which simultaneously play chess together. Each player has a direct opponent, but when he captures a piece, he passes it to one of his teammates to play on the board. The key is to have the direct opponents as evenly matched as possible and then to have the teams fairly well balanced in skill level.
We played this recently at a den meeting for ZM’s den. We were working on the Chess belt loop as part of the Scholar activity badge. It would also be a fun activity for Boy Scouts working on the Chess merit badge.
When we play this at home, we play 3 vs 3 since there are six of us. You can also play this game with as few as four players or with more players. You just need one complete chess set for every two players.
- Divide the players into two teams. Each team must have the same number of players.
- Have opponents sit opposite each other at a table, with one team along one side and the other team on the other side.
- Each player should be sitting exactly opposite his opponent and there should be one chess set between them.
- The chess sets must be set up so that the players colors alternate along the team. For example, the first player on one side of the table is white. His teammate next to him must play black. The next teammate in the row must be white. Etc.
- Each pair of opponents play a normal game of chess. The twist is that when someone captures a piece from his opponent, he gives it to his teammate on his immediate left or right. (If he is on the end of the row of teammates, he only has one teammate he can hand the piece to.)
- On any turn, instead of making a move a player may place a piece which he has received from his teammate in any unoccupied space on the first row on his side of the board. He only places the piece. He cannot move it until his next turn.
- The first person to achieve checkmate wins for his entire team.