Certificate of Excellence

The Certificate of Excellence has been designed by chess professionals, and is a progessive chess course for everyone starting chess or interested in improving their expertise in chess

Who is the Certificate of Excellence suitable for?
The Certificate of Excellence is ideal for everyone – schools, clubs, parents and juniors.

How do I enter the Certificate of Excellence scheme?
There are three different levels – Bronze is £5.00, Silver is £5.00 and Gold is £10.00.

The majority of players start with the Bronze Certificate. When you have mastered the quizzes, you can apply to take the exam via the button at the foot of the page. When you pass the exam you receive a Certificate of Achievement by email. The Bronze and Silver exams are each made up of fifteen multiple choice questions, which should take no more than 45 minutes to complete; the Gold exam is more involved and requires explanations of your moves and your reasoning. Please contact the ECF Office Email: office@englishchess.org.uk with any questions that you have about the CoE.

Chess Booklets
Chess Booklet One | Chess Booklet Two
These booklets, which you are able to download as PDFs or read online in your browser, are suitable for players and potential players rated up to 1200 Elo) and provide helpful background for the bronze and silver exams. They were designed for children, but there is no reason at all why adults wishing to learn the basics of chess may not use them. The booklets were first published in 2009, and the second edition has benefitted from a complete redesign. This has been a joint project between the ECF and St Catherine’s School in Bramley, sponsor of the ECF National Schools Competitions and a strong advocate of chess among children. We do hope that you enjoy these booklets and find them useful.
— Andrew Martin, FIDE Senior Trainer, ECF Manager of Coaches

Bronze Certificate of Excellence
The bronze level is ideal for those who are just starting chess and also those who wish to learn more about the most beautiful of games. The puzzles cover –

  • How the pieces move
  • Position evaluation
  • Captures and checks
  • Basic checkmates
  • Stalemate

The Bronze certificate comes with a large number of puzzle sheets, which test your basic chess knowledge in preparation for your Bronze exam. These puzzle sheets are excellent practice and are available here for you to print off and complete.

Bronze puzzle sheets and answer sheets

These puzzle sheets cover basic chess knowledge – when you can answer ALL of these questions correctly, you are ready for the Bronze Certificate of Excellence exam.

1 – Are we ready to start? Answers 1
2 – Where can these pieces go? Answers 2
3 – Can you take the black pawn? Answers 3
4 – Where do the pieces work best? Answers 4
5 – Getting out of check Answers 5
6 – Can white castle? Answers 6
7 – Take a piece for free Answers 7
8 – Spotting captures Answers 8
9 – Who is ahead? Answers 9
10 – Is it checkmate? Answers 10
11 – Will it be checkmate? Answers 11
12 – Queen checkmates Answers 12
13 – Rook checkmates Answers 13
14 – Bishop checkmates Answers 14
15 – Knight checkmates Answers 15
16 – Pawn checkmates Answers 16
17 – White checkmates in one move Answers 17
18 – Black checkmates in one move Answers 18
Download all the Puzzle sheets and Answer sheets here (zipped)  

Silver Certificate of Excellence
The silver level is the perfect follow-on from the bronze. It includes skills such as –

  • Notation and writing your moves down
  • Special pawn moves: under-promotion and en-passant
  • Development and basic openings
  • Checkmate in one and two move puzzles
  • Some essential checkmates
  • Discovered and double checks
  • Forks, Pins and Skewers
  • Outposts

The Silver Certificate comes with associated skill sheets, which can also be downloaded here

Silver Skill Sheets

1 – Language
2 – Forks
3 – Double Attacks
4 – Skewers
5 – Pin
6 – Discovered Attacks
7 – Removing the Guard
8 – Rook & Queen checkmates

If you’re happy that you’ve completed the Bronze or Silver puzzle/skill sheets and would like to take the Bronze, Silver or Gold exam, you can enter below and pay online. When filling in the form please note the choice of formats – you can take the exam completely online, or you can have the exam sent as a PDF for you to print out, fill in the answers, scan or photograph and send back as an attachment to the office.

CoE online entry

Coaches/teachers – if you have a large group of students please contact the office in the first instance, as there may be discounts available depending on the size of the group