In the Press






Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Letters to the Editor    




Coldfall Primary School chess team into finals of national competition

Bruce Thain | 16 Feb 2013  


A headteacher says she is delighted her school's chess team has made it to the semi-finals of a national competition.


Pupils from Coldfall Primary School in Muswell Hill played in the 2013 English Primary Schools Chess Championships last week and have made it to the semi final round which will take place in June.


Teams from Year Four and Year Six took part in the contest, battling it out against other schools from across London.



School chess team into finals of national competition


Evelyn Davis, headteacher of the Coldfall Avenue school, said: “We are extremely proud of all our chess teams and their successes in recent months.


“We've seen what a positive effect it can have on pupils and are thrilled to have recently introduced chess as part of the curriculum for all our Year 3 pupils.


“Not only has it improved pupils' concentration and problem-solving skills but in many children the success they have in chess has hugely boosted their confidence and self-esteem, which has been transferred to all aspects of school life."


Read more ...







It's check mate for bad behaviour with pupils' chess lessons

Sally Clifford | 23 May 2013  

Quietly and patiently, they ponder their next move.


To see these boys so focused shows the power that the black and white board and its playing pieces has over them.



Entranced, they slide chess pieces along the board in silence. It isn’t the kind of atmosphere you would expect at a place for young people with “behavioural issues”.


Considered at risk of being excluded from school, the boys are at Aireview Pupil Referral Unit in Saltaire on a short-term placement, and while their behaviour may at times be challenging, a chess board has had a remarkable effect.


Winston Williams plays chess with pupils Chris Windle, Callum Sloan and Adam Benson at Aireview Pupil Referral Unit in Saltaire


Read more here ...





Chess: the perfect game for kids




Chess is becoming increasingly popular in schools; nine out of 10 private schools promote it in some way, and state schools are slowly catching up.


‘Chess helps to develop children’s critical thinking and reasoning, encourages them to plan ahead, and teaches them that their actions have consequences,’ says Malcolm Pein, chief executive of Chess in Schools and Communities.



Chess has slightly different benefits for boys and girls. ‘Boys tend to be good decision-makers but don’t always think their decisions through first, and chess teaches them to do that,’ explains Mike Basman, founder of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge. ‘Girls are typically more cautious in making decisions, and chess gives them more confidence in that.’


Research backs up the educational benefits of chess: an American study of 3,000 students showed that playing chess led to higher grades in English and Maths. It also encourages problem-solving, sportsmanship and self-esteem, often allowing quieter children to shine. ‘It’s great for children’s concentration and patience: it’s the antidote to computer games,’ adds Malcolm.


Read more ...

Chess makes a dramatic comeback in primary schools


Richard Garner | 10 Nov 2012

Chess is making a dramatic comeback in primary schools – thirty years after it all but disappeared completely from the state school scene.


In the past two years, a total of 175 schools – including those serving some of the most deprived areas of the country – have reintroduced the game to the curriculum.


Now the charity behind its revival, Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC), is optimistic the take-up will spread to 1,000 state schools within the next three years.


Academics are agreed the game is a major stimulant for improving pupils’ concentration and believe it can also be used in other subject areas – such as maths – to improve skills. [Read more].

Chess returns to the timetable


By Laura Clark | 12 November 2012


Schools are reintroducing chess lessons in an attempt to boost children’s brainpower. Three decades after it was virtually wiped out in state schools, the game is making a dramatic comeback.


In just two years, 175 primary schools across England and Wales have introduced formal teaching in chess. It follows research suggesting the ‘game of kings’ brings a range of educational benefits including improved concentration and memory. The charity spearheading the revival, Chess in Schools and Communities CSC, said its aim was to expose as many children as possible to the benefits of the game. [Read more].

Introducing learners to chess at an early age will help boost matric results


By: Kelvin Kemm

9th November 2012

Dr Kemm is a nuclear physicist and is the CEO of Stratek Business Strategy Consultants


Newspapers recently announced the start of the annual matric exam trek for thousands of school learners. One could virtually hear the drum roll as the country waits, with bated breath, to see what the results will be. It is not only the matric pass rate that is of interest, but also the subjects that learners take. Maths and science are always the big-ticket subjects.


To drive our industrial economy, the nation needs people who can actually ‘do’ things; we need people who can think, people who can analyse and come to conclusions.


When some company employs an individual, that company will be investing in what that individual will do for the company in the future – it will not simply be buying what the person knows.


A person who is a walking encyclopaedia but cannot put any of that information to good use is not of much use to the company. It is output that makes money. At times, the public asks why the matric pass rate is not higher. Teachers tell me that, frequently, they can see, in the first couple of weeks of the school year, which learners in the class will not pass. It is rather immoral to allow a person to study all year, knowing that he or she is virtually certain to fail. But what can a teacher do? [Full article at Engineering News].

Students take the chess route to sharpen their skills


TNN | Nov 5, 2012, 06.27AM IST

This November, thousands of school students in Belgaum are set to sharpen their thinking and improve their IQ.


Chess is the new mantra the education department is chanting to enhance students' concentration. All the 1,400 schools in Belgaum have been directed to observe November as 'Chess Month'. Deputy director of public instruction Diwakar Shetty has instructed block education officers (BEOs) and school heads to purchase at least two chessboards, and ensure that children are taught chess during the time allotted for games. [Read more].

First EU municipality introduces chess as school subject

The ECU President, Silvio Danailov, opens the first school chess year in Slivnitsa.


The ECU President, Silvio Danailov,

opens the first school chess year in Slivnitsa.

31.10.12 - Bulgaria has become the first European Union country to introduce chess as part of the formal school curriculum, the European Chess Union has announced. ECU and national federation president Silvio Danailov and local education officials were in the Bulgarian municipality of Slivitsa on 26 October for the formal opening of a new term which will feature chess on the curriculum for the first time, in accordance with the continental chess federation’s Chess in Schools initiative.


Eighty of the 240 children at the St Cyril and Methodius School in Slivitsa have chosen chess as a subject, which means that they will be the first students from the European Union to be formally assessed in chess in this academic year.


See complete story and more photos.




Photo - ECU

Leeds MP takes on primary school youngsters

11th October 2012


MP Rachel Reeves takes on Annabelle Waterhouse at St Peters School Bramley, Leeds.


She’s used to thinking one step ahead in Parliament but Leeds MP Rachel Reeves swapped politics for pawns for the day.


The former junior chess champion tested her wits against youngsters from St Peter’s Primary School, in Bramley, during eight games of simultaneous chess.



Pupils at the school have been learning how to play the game since the start of term as part of an initiative to help boost their education.


The scheme is run by charity Chess in Schools and the Community which aims to teach youngsters about the game for one hour each week as part of the curriculum.


Full Yorkshire Evening Post report ...



Photo: Simon Hulme


Why chess deserves a place in schools


7 February 2012 - In Armenia all six-year-olds study chess; in UK schools it 'fell off a cliff' in the 1980s. But its educational benefits are plentiful.


Guardian online commentator calls for chess to be in schools. [read more] 




My big match with the chess-champion MP


Why our chess-playing reporter couldn't resist playing Labour MP Rachel Reeves – and how he came unstuck thanks to the great Garry Kasparov


  Stephen Moss

Tuesday 18 October 2011 20.30 BST



Labour MP Rachel Reeves – a former under-14 UK girls champion – plays

chess with Stephen Moss. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian


Labour MP Rachel Reeves was in earnest conversation with Garry Kasparov, the highest-rated chess player of all time, and Nigel Short, the best ever British player. Well might she be. She will shortly be facing me across the board.


The 32-year-old Reeves is a rising star in the Labour party, and was recently promoted to shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. She is even being touted as a possible future leader. Far more interesting, however, is that she was also once under-14 UK girls chess champion, and has today yesterday gathered together a galaxy of top chess talent in a crowded room at the House of Commons to promote Chess in Schools and Communities, a charity that aims to get children playing chess in the belief that it will foster self-discipline and teach problem-solving skills.


Reeves tells the assembled audience of kids, grandmothers and grandmasters that chess was the perfect preparation for politics, teaching you to stay one step ahead of your opponents. She says she has played very little since school, but has gamely agreed to play me, a decidedly average club-strength player but one who, unlike her, does play regularly.


We play a so-called "blitz" game – 10 minutes each for all the moves. Reeves is a little rusty, and within 15 moves I have a won position. We trundle on a little longer, but the game is done and I am swelling visibly. I have beaten the former under-14 UK girls chess champion!


We shake hands and prepare to leave the board. Just before we do, however, who should drift over but Kasparov. He quickly sizes up the situation – that Reeves, his host for the day and the new standard-bearer of chess in schools – has been walloped, and suggests a rematch. He will, he says, intervene on her behalf just three times.


We play again. The position becomes complex, messy. At first, Kasparov keeps his counsel, but as the game gets more interesting he can't help lending Reeves a hand. "I'm just offering general advice," he insists as her position improves while mine deteriorates. We are both horribly short of time, but there is no doubt she is on top. "Now final, final, final shot," says Kasparov as my position becomes dire. He has seen a way to win my queen, and Reeves eventually sees it too. Amid much laughter and applause I resign. "Good moves can easily be explained," says Kasparov. "They are just natural."


"I think that's one of the best games I've ever played," says Reeves with neat self-deprecation.


The Guardian has lost, but it is defeat with honour, and after shaking hands with the immortal Kasparov at the end of the game, it will not be washing for a month.


The moves from both games are shown at


Article source:




Swansea pupils join schools chess drive


  There is a UK-wide campaign to establish chess

as a subject in schools

Pupils from schools in Wales are amongst school children who are visiting Westminster to campaign for chess to be taught in all schools.


The youngsters are already taking part in an initiative that sees the game taught in curricular time.

They will join others from across the UK to challenge MPs to a game.


The Welsh government says it provides annual funding to the Welsh Chess Union to promote the game through clubs and competitions, particularly in schools.


Ten-year-old Wallis Thomas, a pupil at Craig y Felin Primary School in Clydach in the Swansea Valley is one of those travelling to London.


She has been playing since the start of the year and it is one of those being taught chess in school by the Swansea-based Chess Academy Wales.


"I just like the way you play it," she told BBC Radio Wales.




Nigel Short

Chess grandmaster


Deborah Evans, director of Chess Academy Wales, said many pupils like Wallis benefited.


"I teach in schools in curriculum time and the enthusiasm from children is lovely," she said.


"They are learning skills without realising because it's such fun to play.


"They are also able to socialise on a very human level because they are not facing a computer. It's one to one with a human being and it's great in this cyber-age to have this opportunity."


The event in London is part of a campaign headed by the group Chess in Schools & Communities.


It has the backing of chess grandmaster Nigel Short.


He told BBC Wales: "There have been numerous academic studies showing that chess is beneficial in various ways - concentration, calculation, planning and strategic thinking."


The Welsh government says it appreciates the benefits of youngsters playing the game.


A spokesperson said: "The Welsh government provides annual funding to the Welsh Chess Union to promote opportunities for participation by young people through the creation of clubs and competitions, particularly in schools".


Article source:




Compulsory chess lessons in every school – now that's radical

By Katharine Birbalsingh | Education | Last updated: May 10th, 2011



Checkmate: it's not a geek's game, it's a battle on a board (Photo: Getty)



Malcolm Pein in Birmingham runs a charity that promotes the teaching of chess in schools. He has managed to get chess lessons started in 70 primary schools – 1 hour per week. Children being interviewed about their chess lessons insist that, in comparison, computer games are “silly” and a “waste of time”. But chess makes them play better with their friends, and improves their maths! These are the kids talking ...


Are they right? Is chess really what it is cracked up to be?


Believe it or not, Armenia has recently made chess compulsory in all of its primary schools. Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week. Arman Aivazian, an official at the Ministry of education, says that chess lessons will “foster schoolchildren’s intellectual development” and teach them to “think flexibly and wisely”. President Serzh Sarkisian has been so inspired that he has committed around £1.5 million (a large sum for an impoverished country) to the scheme. His intention is that Armenia should rule the world of chess.


This is not just a pipe dream. In 1963, Armenian Tigran Petrosian defeated Russian Mikhail Botvinnik to take the world chess title. Armenia’s national team won gold at the biennial International Chess Olympiad in both 2006 and 2008, and the country’s top player, Levon Aronian, is currently ranked number three in the world.


But should chess really take the place of other national curriculum subjects? I doubt Malcolm Pein thinks so. He simply believes that young children should be taught the game and given the chance to enjoy it. Teachers involved in his scheme notice its immediate impact on children. They say the children are more aware of their peers, better at problem solving, more forward-thinking and better at building strategy: quite an extraordinary array of skills from just a little game of chess!


It is said that the great chess masters have hundreds of different chess boards memorised which they simply pull out of their head as they play. Without super sharp powers of memory and concentration, one cannot hope to win at a game of chess. So perhaps there is some truth in it.


No one wants to deny a child the opportunity of learning the game of chess. Contention only arises if one suggests that chess is more important than something else. Is it more important than music or art? What about maths or history?


Once I sat in the theatre in New York and next to me was a woman with her 8-year-old little boy who wore funny glasses and shorts. He was glued to his electronic chess board during the entire performance, obsessed with winning against the computer. It was a sight to behold. All I could think was, there is something different about that boy… something I wish I could bottle up and give to all my kids back home.


Whatever one’s feelings on chess, what I find most endearing is the comment of an ordinary Armenian man when interviewed about chess. “Chess offers us hope – the chance of salvation. For in chess, every pawn can become a queen.”


If chess does that, then compulsory it should be.


Tags: Armenia, chess, Malcolm Pein



Should every child be made to play chess?




Armenia is making chess compulsory in schools, but could mandatory study of a board game really help children's academic performance and behaviour?


Every child aged six or over in Armenia is now destined to learn chess. The authorities there believe compulsory lessons will "foster schoolchildren's intellectual development" and improve critical thinking skills.


The country has plenty of reasons to believe in chess. It treats grandmasters like sports stars, championships are displayed on giant boards in cities and victories celebrated with the kind of frenzy most countries reserve for football.


It may only have a population of 3.2 million, but Armenia regularly beats powerhouses such as Russia, China and the US and its national team won gold at the International Chess Olympiad in 2006 and 2008.


Added to that, the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has just been re-elected as chair of the Armenian Chess Federation. [Read more]




Armenia makes chess compulsory in schools


AFP Sunday, 17 April 2011


Armenia is to make chess a compulsory subject in primary schools in an attempt to turn itself into a global force in the game, the education ministry said on Friday.


"Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the country to become a chess superpower," an official at the ministry, Arman Aivazian, told AFP.


The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around $1.5 million (one million euros) to the scheme - a large sum in the impoverished but chess-mad country.


Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.


Aivazian said the lessons which start later this year would "foster schoolchildren's intellectual development" and teach them to "think flexibly and wisely".


The game is hugely popular in Armenia, where grandmasters are stars and important match results make headline news.


The country of 3.2 million people has already established itself as a serious competitor in global tournaments.


The national team won gold at the biennial International Chess Olympiad in both 2006 and 2008, and the country's top player Levon Aronian is currently ranked number three in the world, according to the World Chess Federation.







Pupils are pawns in nation’s bid to be chess superpower



Tony Halpin

April 19 2011 12:01AM


All Armenian children will learn chess at school



Kings and queens will not be confined to history classes for children in Armenia, where chess is being added as a compulsory subject in primary schools.


The former Soviet republic aims to boost its reputation as one of the world’s leading chess-playing nations by teaching the game to every young child for two hours a week alongside a normal curriculum.


The Armenian Education Ministry plans to spend about $1.5 million (£920,000) to introduce the scheme from September. The country’s chess academy, where many of Armenia’s top players learnt to play the game, will be recruited to help to train teachers.


“Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the country to become a chess superpower,” Arman Aivazian, a ministry spokesman, said. He added that chess lessons would also strengthen children’s intellectual development by helping them to “think flexibly and wisely”.


The plan, part of reforms to boost the quality of education, has been enthusiastically endorsed by President Sargsyan, who is an avid chess fan. The game enjoys huge popularity in Armenia, where grandmasters are treated in the same way as star footballers in other countries and the results of important tournaments are broadcast on television news.


Despite having a population of only 3.2 million, Armenia currently ranks fourth in the world league produced by Fide, the sport’s governing body, behind Russia, Ukraine and China. It counts 33 grandmasters among its current top 100 players, six more than China.


Armenia’s top player, Levon Aronian, 28, is ranked No 3 in the world and is the current world champion in blitz chess, played at rapid speed. He led the Armenian national team to the gold medal at the International Chess Olympiad in 2006 and 2008.


Armenia also has a long tradition of success in chess as part of the Soviet Union, when the sport was turned into an intellectual battleground with the West during the Cold War. Tigran Petrosian was world champion from 1963 to 1969 and won the Soviet championship four times. Garry Kasparov, widely regarded as the greatest chess player of all time, is half-Armenian. Born in neighbouring Azerbaijan, he adopted a Russified variant of his mother’s surname, Kasparian.


Armenia is not alone in deciding to make chess compulsory in schools. Pupils in the southern Russian republic of Kalmykia, whose former President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, is the head of Fide, already learn to play the game. Israel announced in December that it planned to add chess to the school curriculum.









Armenia makes school chess compulsory

Updated: 07:48, Saturday April 16, 2011



Armenia is to make chess a compulsory subject in primary schools in a bid to turn itself into a global force in the game, the education ministry said on Friday.


'Teaching chess in schools will create a solid basis for the country to become a chess superpower,' said an official at the ministry, Arman Aivazian.


The authorities led by President Serzh Sarkisian, an enthusiastic supporter of the game, have committed around $US1.5 million ($A1.43 million) to the scheme - a large sum in the impoverished but chess-mad country.


Children from the age of six will learn chess as a separate subject on the curriculum for two hours a week.


Aivazian said the lessons, which start later this year, would 'foster schoolchildren's intellectual development' and teach them to 'think flexibly and wisely'.


The game is hugely popular in Armenia, where grandmasters are stars and important match results make headline news.


The country of 3.2 million people has already established itself as a serious competitor in global tournaments.

The national team won gold at the biennial International Chess Olympiad in both 2006 and 2008, and the country's top player, Levon Aronian, is currently ranked No.3 in the world, according to the World Chess Federation.



Uganda's chess champions from the slums





Phiona Mutesi says playing chess has

helped her to learn how to plan ahead

When Phiona Mutesi saw a chess board for the first time, five years ago, all she wanted to do was touch the pieces.


Then 10 years old, she was taught chess by a six-year-old girl, like her visiting a charity project for children in the slums of Uganda's capital, Kampala. "When I play my former teacher now, I always win," Phiona says and chuckles.


Those first improvised lessons set Phiona on the path to become a chess prodigy: At 15, she is her country's No 2 and the top woman player in the under-20 category - a title she has held for three consecutive years.


Last year, she travelled to Siberia to compete in the World Chess Olympiad.


And she has helped change the public's perception of chess and who in Uganda should play it.


Having grown up in Kampala's Katwe slum, Phiona never expected to succeed in anything, let alone travel abroad.


Her family's poverty forced her to leave school and sell food in the streets.


[Click to read full BBC article online]












Smart move for new chess schools (requires subscription to


Alison Sharp (Headteacher Ravenscroft Primary School)

This initiative is tremendously powerful in terms of raising our pupils' confidence and aspirations. We are very grateful to CSC for including us in their programme. I am proud of our pupils - they are so enthusiastic and dedicated. It is a privilege to be able to see the impact it is having on them.


Anabela Monteiro

As a mother of one of these marvellous kids I can assure you that they really do love it. I am tremendously proud of my son being one of the selected to be part of the 'chess in schools' programme and representing this amazing school.





Sir Thomas Abney chess team,

left to right: (Adults) Ivan Owen

(Coach), Lorin D'Costa (International

Master), Aubrey Ellington (Learning

Mentor). S.T.A. team: Mirjeta, Filip,

Romario, Kacper, Rohjat, Nikodem,

Mikolaj, Ruben, Juwon, Zakir, Jarnais,

Cleo, Sam.


Whizzkids from two Stoke Newington primary schools have emerged triumphant in a Londonwide chess championship.


Pupils from William Patten in Stoke Newington Church Street won the under 10s category at the London Chess Classic Junior tournament held in Kensington’s Olympia.


Sir Thomas Abney school, in Bethune Road, won the under 9s section and their ‘Grand Master’ Filip Kurzynski won the top player trophy.


The school built on its recent success at the Hackney Chess Championships last month, when it secured top place.


Pupils from Jubilee School in Filey Avenue also competed against more than 30 primary schools at the tournament held on December 9.


Hackney Gazette 24 link






Thursday 7 October 2010



Further details can also be seen at





© SC


Chess in Schools and Communities © | CSC is not responsible for the content of external sites

 top ^