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Online Scouts BSA Chess Merit Badge

The Chess Merit Badge has quickly become one of the most popular badges in the Scouts BSA merit badge catalog, with more than 250,000 Scouts earning the badge since it was introduced in September 2011. Out of the 130+ badges available, the Chess Merit Badge is undoubtedly one of the most popular non-required badges. Check out the Scouts BSA website for more information!


Over the course of multiple online sessions, students will have the opportunity to earn their Chess Merit Badge.


Upcoming Merit Badge Start Dates: (Click on a link below to register for that workshop)



Photos may be taken at these workshops by a Chess Club photographer and used for marketing purposes. 

boy scout chess merit badge


The Scouts BSA strives to instill in young people the principles of integrity, character, responsibility and leadership - preparing them to make ethical and moral choices throughout their lifetimes. The Saint Louis Chess Club prides on its mission to provide a quality, dynamic program of learning and adventure that builds critical thinking, forward thinking, and proper sportsmanship in young people.


  • Meet other scouts interested in chess.
  • Learn from the best, at an internationally recognized chess facility.
  • Learn about the scope of chess in the world today, find resources to improve your game, and find out about how you can participate in chess competitions, classes and activities.
  • Earn your Scouts BSA Chess Merit Badge!


The workshop is free of cost to any scouts looking to fulfill the merit badge requirement. Not open to Scouts who have already earned the badge. Basic knowledge of chess rules is strongly recommended. Transportation and lunch not provided. Snack will be provided by the STLCC; parents are advised to report possible allergens.


If you're unable to attend this camp in person, you can locate a certified Merit Badge instructor by visiting the Scouts BSA website. Simply click this link and search for "chess" in the Merit Badge Counselor directory. There are a number of instructors in the greater Saint Louis area that will help you fulfill your requirements.


Merit Badge Requirements:

1. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the history of the game of chess. Explain why it is considered a game of planning and strategy.

2. Discuss with your merit badge counselor the following:

a. The benefits of playing chess, including developing critical thinking skills, concentration skills, and decision-making skills, and how these skills can help you in other areas of your life

b. Sportsmanship and chess etiquette

3. Demonstrate to your counselor that you know each of the following. Then, using Scouting’s Teaching EDGE, teach the following to a Scout who does not know how to play chess:

a. The name of each chess piece

b. How to set up a chessboard

c. How each chess piece moves, including castling and en passant captures

4. Do the following:

a. Demonstrate scorekeeping using the algebraic system of chess notation.

b. Discuss the differences between the opening, the middle game, and the endgame.

c. Explain four opening principles.

d. Explain the four rules for castling.

e. On a chessboard, demonstrate a “scholar’s mate” and a “fool’s mate.”

f. Demonstrate on a chessboard four ways a chess game can end in a draw.

5. Do the following:

a. Explain four of the following elements of chess strategy: exploiting weaknesses, force, king safety, pawn structure, space, tempo, time.

b. Explain any five of these chess tactics: clearance sacrifice, decoy, discovered attack, double attack, fork, interposing, overloading, overprotecting, pin, remove the defender, skewer, zwischenzug.

c. Set up a chessboard with the white king on e1, the white rooks on a1 and h1, and the black king on e5. With White to move first, demonstrate how to force checkmate on the black king.

d. Set up and solve five direct-mate problems provided by your merit badge counselor.

6. Do ONE of the following:

a. Play at least three games of chess with other Scouts and/or your merit badge counselor. Replay the games from your score sheets and discuss with your counselor how you might have played each game differently.

b. Play in a scholastic (youth) chess tournament and use your score sheets from that tournament to replay your games with your merit badge counselor. Discuss with your counselor how you might have played each game differently.

c. Organize and run a chess tournament with at least four players, plus you. Have each competitor play at least two games.