Global STEAM Collaboration Meets Chess

Kai’s Clan, in collaboration with EDGEucating, Heidi Williams, MS Robotics, and RoboNation are taking part in the organization of a brand new competition launching in the fall of 2021!  We are excited to tell you about the 2021-2022 Global Chess Challenge!

Join us for the world’s FIRST-EVER physical and virtual international chess challenge.  In this amazing challenge, students not only have to play chess but they also design and code virtual chess characters.

The game is played on a three-foot by three-foot mat within a 30-minute time limit. Teams will battle across continents right from their current location. Apart from playing chess, your team of up to four players will design their virtual 3D characters and code their strategies. Students play the game on a physical mat with physical chess pieces while simultaneously engaging their chess characters and their opponents in a life-like, virtual chess battle. This is not a one-player game, collaboration is the key element on how to win this chess game.

Prizes will be awarded in each category for the most creative design, most inventive use of code, and best overall chess strategy.

What is The Global Chess Challenge?

The Global Chess Challenge will take place via the internet.  It features Kai’s Clan’s virtual platform and their create mat.  Kai’s Clan uses an innovative approach to playing Chess over the internet and blends both physical and virtual worlds together. It is a totally immersive and collaborative coding experience, where students compete in teams against each other.

Perhaps most importantly chess is a fun way to teach children how to think and solve an ever-changing and diverse array of difficult problems. With millions of possibilities in every game, players must continually face new positions and new problems.

They cannot solve these using a simple formula nor rely on memorized answers. Instead, they must analyze and calculate, relying on general principles and patterns along with a dose of creativity and originality – a skill that increasingly mirrors what students must confront in their everyday schoolwork. Chess is computational thinking at its best!

The Competition Specifics…

The first Global Chess Challenge is aimed at public & private schools, homeschool groups, STEM/STEAM after-school programs, and chess clubs, for students ages 7 – 18 years old.  Teams (with 2-4 players) in 3 different categories ranging from Elementary, Middle School, and High School can enter with one coach per team. For more information, visit the Chess Competition Rules.

Kai’s Clan has now introduced chess on their ‘Create Mat’. Students can play chess on a physical mat (8×8 squares) and also experience their chess pieces come to life in a virtual world. The chess mat is a unique version of their Create Mat, specially designed to resemble a chessboard.

A unique feature is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can challenge an international player. With Kai’s Chess, you can be sitting around and playing on one mat, or you can be on 2 different chess boards/mats versing your friends in the next room or you can challenge another school anywhere in the world.

Virtual Chess AvatarUsually, chess is a two-player game, but with Kai’s Chess you can collaborate and all play together. There’s so much you can do that you otherwise can’t in a normal game! You can create your own game/project and code your chess moves, add animations, effects, sound, speech bubbles, etc. Go further and design your own avatar chess pieces. Apart from teaching math and coding, we unlock the child’s creativity with The Global Chess Challenge.

You can read more about the competition here.

The Founding Team

At EDGEucating, we believe that education and cultural change requires a village to foster true learning and to achieve change. Today’s students must be prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape.

We are behind this Global Chess Challenge because it requires students to use a variety of technology skills to develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems.

In addition, students will broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams, both locally and globally.  These are all skills that prepare students for college and/or future careers.

Heidi Williams is a passionate coding and computational thinking advocate.  She is a retired public-school educator with 30+ years of experience in education. She has served her community as a language, science, and mathematics teacher for grades 6-8, as well as roles as a differentiation specialist, technology integration specialist, instructional coach, gifted and talented coordinator, elementary principal, and K-8 director of curriculum.

Heidi has shared her passion for integrating coding into the curriculum at local, state, regional, and national conferences, and many have leveraged her expertise for conference presentations, coding coaching, professional development, and K-12 scope and sequence alignment of computer science skills throughout the curriculum.  She is also the author of ISTE’s No Fear Coding – Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum.

STEM Advancement/MS Robotics which is a STEM educational organization reaching disadvantaged and low-income rural students.  They host classroom training, teacher training, afterschool programs, summer camps, competitions, teacher conferences. Subjects emphasized include robotics, underwater ROV’s, drones, 3D printing, virtual reality, and prosthetics.

Their STEM Affiliate School program gives them a close working relationship with the public, private, and home schools. Their on-line STEM Academy allows for distance learning.

RoboNation is a U.S. based, 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to provide a pathway of hands-on educational experiences that empower students to find innovative solutions to global challenges. Working together with the industry, research and educators, we have grown to include over nine robotic competitions and programs and engage more than 250,000 students per year.

Build a Bot. Change the World.

Six simple words that hold the power of young minds, the strength of STEM and imagination to use technology to make the impossible possible. A 12 year old is manning a submarine. University students are building boats that sail themselves. High schoolers are 3D printing 3D printers (no seriously, someone really did that).

Registration, Necessary Materials, and Sponsorship Information

Although the Global Chess Challenge will not begin until February 2022, registration just opened on April 7, 2021 and will close on August 30, 2021.  These early registration dates allow for the proper planning and preparation, such as kit shipments, team training and preparation.

Teams will need a few things to participate in The Global Chess Challenge.

  • Kai’s Chess Pack (includes Chess Mat 3’x3′ / 1mx1m & camera tripod, downloadable content, registration fee) ($250)
  • Set of standard size chess pieces – see instructions on how to add QR codes
  • Dowels or popsicle sticks to attach QR codes to chess pieces – these are simply links to make it easy for you to purchase.  These exact ones are not necessary.  The dowels linked here do not have to be cut.  They can be used as is – making them very easy to work with.
  • Scorecard
  • Android or iOS phone for the Kai’s Eye Robot Tracker (free to download and use)
  • Computer for coding and viewing the 3D Virtual World

We understand the hardships that schools may encounter relating to funding and budgets.  This is why we are seeking and accepting sponsorships.  If you are interested in being a sponsor or know a business that is interested in sponsoring please check out the sponsorship package information and complete the sponsorship form.

To discover more about The Global Chess Challenge and take part CLICK HERE!

This article was co-authored by

Alicia Verweij is an educator that is passionate about teaching children to think critically, problem solve, and function in an ever-changing digital world so that they will be prepared for future careers.  After years as a successful business owner, her passion for learning and children led her into the field of education. 

As a teaching veteran of more than 12 years, she holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Management, an Alternate Route Education Certification, and an endorsement in Gifted Education.  She currently works as an educational influencer and consultant with EDGEucating LLC.

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