CSC courses are aimed
at teachers, teaching assistants, parents and anyone
involved in school chess.
teaching or chess playing experience is required to attend.
Details of new CSC courses will be posted on
The Charity reserves the right to refuse an
application or entry to a course without
stating a reason.
Thur 29 June
Wed 21 June | Report here
Wed 24 May |
Thur 4 May
Thur 27 April
Thur 6 April
(Classic 2) Sat 17 December
(Classic 1) Fri 16 December
Tues 22 November
Tues 19 July
Wed 15 June
Thur 14 January
Thur 10 December
Tues 8 December
Thur 5 November
(Stratford Library) Wed 30 September
Wed Wed 13 May
Tues 12 May
London (Stratford Library) Wed 29 April
London (Islington) Tue 10 February
London (Olympia) 2
Fri 12 December
London (Olympia) 1
Thurs 11 December
Birmingham Mon 10 November
Cardiff Wed 5 November
Newham (London) Thurs 2
Dereham (Norfolk) Wed 17 September
* Benefits of chess
* A brief history of chess &
* Overview of Junior chess in
* Primary school CSC chess
syllabus - an overview
* Cross-curricular links
* Techniques for teaching
* Chess sub-games and
* Running a school chess club
* Resources and materials
* Pieces, moves, captures,
checks and checkmates – practical
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
The three most recent CSC training
days have taken me to London, Newcastle and Leeds. Today
brought the tour back to Teesside and the excellent CLC
Building at Middlesbrough's Acklam Grange School site.
We had 13 delegates for the day,
which is an increase on our standard number of 10.
Indeed, we have broken our attendance records in all of
our Teesside events this year.
The delegates proved to an excellent
mix of parents, teachers, TAs and chess players. They
worked very hard all day long and can certainly be proud
of their efforts.
Thank, you everyone! The fabulous
qualities you all brought to the day made it a very
Read more in Sean Marsh's large pictorial report.
Thursday, 24 May 2017
Following on from the Newcastle
Training Day of last month, today we travelled to Leeds
continue our tour.
The delegates were an excellent blend
of seasoned chess players (including England
International Jim Burnett) and lesser-experienced
Among other subjects, we discussed
the CSC in general, how we teach chess in schools, the
benefits of chess and the use of chess mini-games and
If you would like to take part in a
CSC Training Day then please keep an eye on the list of
Read more and see many more images
in Sean Marsh's report.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Planning ahead, logical thinking and concentration
are basic life-skills all schools want to teach. To help them, the
charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) provides funding to train
volunteer tutors to teach in primary schools.
John Foley, the charity’s Director of Educational
Development and Training, presented a session to a group of
Worcestershire volunteers. John showed them how mathematical skills, all
the way from counting through geometry to abstract thinking, can be
developed using the moves of chess pieces.
training session was staged
at The King’s School
Worcester who kindly
provided top class
facilities free of charge
and organised by local Chess
Tutor, club player and CSC
Regional Coordinator for
Worcestershire, John Wrench.
Chess in Schools CEO and International Master Malcolm
Pein attended and offered valuable advice to trainees. The charity
appreciates the support from Worcester Chess Club's Ray Collett and and
Andrew Farthing, the latter visiting in his capacity of Chess in Schools
and Communities Chair of Trustees!
John Foley very sportingly stayed on at the end for a
5 minute game against Pavel Besedin graded 204!, one of the course
attendants. Pavel won a very close game. In a fantastic venue in very
hot conditions the course was enjoyed and well received by all
- John Wrench
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
The 2016 CSC Teesside Training Day took place today
at the Middlesbrough City Learning Centre, Acklam Grange School.
The students were a fabulous collection of teachers,
TA's, parents and chess players.
Claire Nixon, assistant for the course, very
skilfully facilitated everything required to ensure the day would run
very smoothly and highly efficiently. Claire also took most of the
photographs in this report.
Thank you to everyone who came along today. We really
enjoyed working with you.
Read more in Sean Marsh's pictorial report
Monday, 15 February 2016
Sixteen people attended the training course held at the Hull
Central Library. The Librarian Isaac Acheampong ensured all the
facilities were in place. The library has started hosting a regular
It was the first time that
CSC has held a training
course in Hull and there was
considerable local interest.
Attendees also came from as
far afield as Leeds,
Bradford and Doncaster and
there were representatives
from Leeds and Hull
Universities. The course was
held in a splendid room with
bookshelves devoted to
Napoleon who was a
grandmaster of war as well
as a chess player. Unusually
all the attendees were chess
As a result, we were able to jump straight into the concepts
such as Checks, Captures and Threats without having to refresh the
elementary elements. The discussions were animated and plenty of ideas
Given the enthusiasm shown on the day, it is only a matter
of time before chess spreads into Hull schools. Hull will be the UK City
of Culture in 2017. It would be great to see chess included as part of
our cultural heritage.
- John Foley
Monday, 6 July 2015
This year's CSC Teesside Training Day once again
utilised the fabulous venue of the City Learning Centre based at Acklam
The day attracted delegates not only from our
Teesside Schools but from much further afield too, with Andrew Green's
journey from Edinburgh being a record travelling distance for one of our
Working alongside my trusty assistant Rachel Trotter
(recent star of Radio Tees) we delivered a day of material based on our
school lessons and CSC curriculum, with plenty of mini-games,
discussions on the merits of chess in schools, the expansion of junior
chess on Teesside and many other subjects. We even indulged in a little
bit of role play along the way.
Monday 13 April 2015
Two months on from our
previous training day, we were ready for a return visit
to Teesside Barclaycard to prepare a whole host of new
volunteers for action.
s usual, the morning sessions with the
new volunteers included lots of mini-games, designed to test
out chess pieces one at a time, just as we would do in
10 children from two of
CSC Teesside's schools - Ings Farm and
Brambles Primary Academy - arrived for the
afternoon sessions and they started off by
taking on all-comers from the Teesside
Mark Singleton organised the day - and
was not afraid of playing the eager juniors either although
he chose a very tough pair of challengers, who can be seen
here in the last stages of administering a checkmate after
chasing Mark's king from one side of the board to the other.
Read more and see many more images
Middlesbrough Community Learning Centre,
7 July 2014
ohn Foley - the chief
trainer of Chess in Schools and Communities
returned to Teesside yesterday to deliver
another day of top quality instruction and
highly entertaining chess challenges.
As usual, we were
very pleased with the facilities offered
by the Community Learning Centre,
which is a fantastic venue, ideally
suited for such an event.
See full pictorial report by Sean Marsh
Of all the great primary schools in Liverpool, the Sacred
Heart Catholic Primary School stands out for its dedication
to chess. As one walks through the corridors there are
posters about chess and a tremendous enthusiasm for the game
from the headteacher Charles Daniels.
Malcolm Pein and John Foley visited the school to deliver
the training course. There were half a dozen participants.
Half were from Liverpool and the other half, from
Julian Clissold, a member of the English Chess
Federation Board and a stalwart of junior chess, attended
and we benefited from his wisdom. Stephen Kee is a music
teacher who is also now a CSC chess tutor. We discussed the
parallels between learning chess and music.
Steve Connor, the CSC webmaster also
attended at the beginning to take some
One participant explained that he had been diagnosed as
having a learning difficulty and had been advised that he
may never be able to find a job. However, he had discovered
chess at primary school and liked it. Although not a strong
chess player, he is now a chess assistant. We often say that
chess can provide something extra for children with special
educational needs and here is a concrete example which
extends into the working age.
- John Foley
Twelve participants gathered at the Law
School at Sheffield University for an introductory course on
teaching chess in primary schools.
Sheffield University has been very active
in promoting chess in local schools, both primary and
The delegates included local primary
school teachers and no fewer than three PhDs. Chris Kirkland
was master of ceremonies and has now attended five CSC
He justifies this loyal commitment by the
observation that no two courses are the same. Unusually
there was only one woman present at the course. The course
was enjoyed by all according to subsequent comments.
Director John Foley (centre) with the course
The previous update
covered the start of our new working
relationship with Barclaycard.
The volunteer scheme,
which sees Barclaycard volunteers helping
with the curriculum sessions at our Teesside
schools, has got off to a flying start. The
children are enjoying meeting - and
challenging! - the volunteers and the
project has added an extra dimension to our
This week brought another training day at
the Teesside Barclaycard offices, with John Foley preparing two new groups of volunteers for their
challenging times ahead.
Chess has never tastier!
Our schools have signed up for the online
Yes2Chess community and the children are looking forward to
competing against junior players from a number of different
Meanwhile, it seems that the Teesside
Barclaycard offices have gone chess crazy. The CSC sent them
some extra chess sets and games have been breaking out all
over the place. There was even a chess cake on the go (long
gone by the time we got there, of course...)
Read more ...
- Sean Marsh
We were delighted to
welcome back John Foley for the third CSC
Teesside training day.
The venue was the
Middlesbrough Community Learning centre, who
provided wonderful facilities and as much
tea and coffee as we could drink.
12 people enrolled on the
course, including teachers, TAs and strong
chess players. We split them into four
groups and then it was over to John to
reveal some of the secrets of teaching
chess. John highlighted several key areas of
the CSC curriculum and invited input from
the four groups at various junctures. This
generated several sessions of valuable group
discussion and a fruitful exchange of ideas.
Following a break for
lunch, we resumed refreshed and ready for an
afternoon of challenges. John impressed and
amused us all with his fine selection of
problems (not just chess, but encompassing
the art of logical thinking also).
A good time was had by
all. We even caught two teachers indulging
in a game of chess at one point, which gave
me the idea of organising a Teesside
Teachers' Championship. Maybe one day...
Thank you to everyone who
made the day such a success and especially
to John for delivering another excellent and
instructive day of CSC training.
- Sean Marsh
11 July 2013
Newham is a flagship London borough for
Chess is Schools and Communities; this was the third
training course in the borough and the second in Stratford
Library. We had a dozen participants which is an ideal
number for training: three tables of four. As usual there
was a wide mix of backgrounds.
Some teachers attended who are going to
be involved in the Educational Endowment Federation project
from September and wanted to better understand how the chess
in schools scheme works in the classroom. Several
participants were parents who either run or assist in the
running of school chess clubs. We had a woman master
originally from Lithuania who had been trained by the strict
Soviet method in a specialist sports school. We also had
some established chess tutors and a chess writer and
The course included the “corner attack
puzzle” for the first time, which proved to be successful
with the participants. One topic discussed was the scope of
the touch-move rule. It is not unusual in children’s chess
to touch a piece with another piece in one’s hand rather
than with a finger. The matter will be followed up.
Malcolm Pein and Matt Lunn attended from
the office and, amongst other things, arranged a very
pleasant lunch at the small café next door where we were
able to sit outside during the hot weather. The day also
coincided with the first Ashes Test match in which the
Australian last man set a world record.
At the end of the course, Alan Bright and
John Foley stayed behind to support local volunteer John
Illingworth in giving some training at the chess club which
meets in the library every Thursday evening from 5pm. When
the club started in March, CSC ran a training course for the
volunteers. The club has grown impressively in numbers to
around 40 people attending, of all ages, ethnicities and
walks of life. It is fantastic to see how a library has
become the centre of chess activities in a neighbourhood.
- John Foley
3 July 2013
This was the first CSC
training course held in Liverpool and overdue
given the intense level of chess activity on
The course was held at the Sacred Heart
Catholic Primary School for which we are very grateful to
the headteacher Charles Daniels.
There was a full house again with 24
people attending, most of whom were teachers and so this
course focused on how to convey chess concepts rather than
the processes of teaching. In addition, visitors to the
course included Steve Connor, CSC webmaster, and Luke
Boumphrey and Natasha May who teach Merseyside Juniors at
Sacred Heart as an after-school club. Also in attendance was
John Smallthwaite, a local chess player, who has started to
teach chess in schools.
No two courses are the same. This one
benefited from the opportunity to observe John Gorman, the
inspirational CSC tutor, give a lesson to an advanced group
of Year 6 pupils on the Pelikan variation of the Sicilian
Defence. Everybody who saw it was impressed with how John
conveyed the principles of the opening and how the children
loved to learn.
The presentation material on the course
included some animation of chess techniques – e.g. how to
checkmate with a king and rook against a lone king and how
to complete a knights tour. In spite of the hard work
required to do the chess exercises, the attendees derived
considerable satisfaction from the insights gained.
Liverpool is going to be one of the cities included in the
major forthcoming study into chess in schools conducted by
the Institute of Education and funded by the Educational
- John Foley
26 June 2013
This was the first time that the CSC
training roadshow had rolled into Birmingham and was duly
welcomed by chess enthusiasts in our second city. A dozen
participants (plus visitors) gathered at the Research Park
at the University.
We thank the local Birmingham
chess organiser for finding the excellent venue. Attendees also came from other
cities around the Midlands including Worcester,
Leicester and Coventry. They included teachers,
teaching assistants and chess tutors.
One attendee was a junior Vietnamese
chess international. Another was a consultant rheumatologist
who wished to introduce chess to his child’s school. Martina
Flint, based in York, a qualified chess coach from Germany,
described some activities adopted used in German schools
which we will consider carefully. One attendee was planning
to use chess with people with learning difficulties. Michele
Clack runs a chess club for young children. The respected
chess coach Malcolm Hunt also dropped by.
The course was well received, as measured
by our latest innovation – an online feedback form. One
subject that engaged the group was the role of draughts as a
precursor to chess and as an alternative game for children
who are not ready to take on chess activity.
- John Foley
19 June 2013
We are grateful to City Year
London from providing us with the venue for the
fourth time. They are a charity which promotes
education through providing dynamic young
graduates into schools.
The standard of the course
was very high befitting the level of expertise
of the participants. It was probably the first
training course where the discussants who
presented their summaries were applauded for the
quality of their analysis. Even the trainer, who
is not usually short of things to say, did not
feel the need to supplement the responses.
new mini-game was tried out on the course “Forks
and Skewers” which was enjoyed by the
participants. This involves a match between two
rooks and two bishops – a suggestion from Tim Kett of Cardiff.
Overall the feedback on the course was
extremely positive. Nevil Chan, the CSC national
co-ordinator, went into adjective overdrive describing the
course implementation as “probably the best ever”. As usual,
there was a wide range of abilities within the 26 attendees
ranging from a parent who knew only the basic moves to an
International Master from Hungary. Tim Woolgar who runs the
Chessboxing charity was there. Longer distance attendees
were from Durham and the Isle of Wight. Also present were
two observers from the University of London Institute of
Education who are involved in the research into the effect
of chess on education.
The CSC courses are more frequent and
have never been so full. This was the 14th course this
academic year. The cap on participation has been raised and
more courses are being planned to respond to the demand.
- John Foley
This was the second time that
the Teaching Chess in Primary Schools was held
in Bristol. It was the most well attended
training course ever with 26 participants.
People came not only from Bristol and surrounds
but also from Chepstow, Cardiff and Cornwall.
For the first time, a community group for the
homeless attended. Many homeless people are good
chess players. One reason for this is that many
of them spent time in prison where they learned
The event was organised locally by Robert
Chandler who is CSC’s co-ordinator in Bristol. Robert was
fresh from the Bristol ChessFest which brought together many
of the junior chess players in the area.
As usual there was a wide mix of chess
playing ability ranging from those who barely knew the moves
to the Polish women’s blitz champion.
Given that the programme has been running
for a couple of years now in Bristol, we are beginning to
see a new reason for attending the course – pester power.
It seems that many parents are being
asked by their children if they could play chess at school.
Consequently, the course contained many parents who wanted
to help out in schools.
Andrew Farthing, the new CSC trustee, was
an active participant. He was formerly the CEO of the
English Chess Federation.
John Foley, the course trainer, runs the
presentation from an iPad using Keynote with external
mini-speakers for the video sound. The course presentation
looked fresh with a new design template for the slides.
The CSC course has become more a roadshow
with Malcolm Pein and Nevil Chan also in attendance busily
signing up chess tutors for the local primary schools.
First photo: Katarzyna Jurkiewicz
tells them how its done.
Second photo: Andrew Farthing
(yellow shirt) paying close attention
- John Foley
This was the first
over-subscribed course and we had to turn down
some applicants. Even though some people dropped
out on the day there were still 23 people who
attended the event at Newham Dockside. The venue
was provided courtesy of the London Borough of
Newham which has decided to integrate chess into
the curriculum of all 64 primary schools in the
The venue was right in the heart of the
Council headquarters in their splendid modern building on
the dockside. It is very close to London City Airport - and
could even be mistaken for the terminal building - although
most people came via the Docklands Light Railway.
Those attending were very focused on how
to deliver chess and in understanding the benefits it can
bring. As usual, there was some new material on the course
the most important of which was a discussion about the
recent trial in Italy in which chess at school was found to
improve performance in mathematics. This was the most
scientific study so far and an inspiration for the
forthcoming research into the impact of chess in English
schools which is being funded by the Education Endowment
There were two videos shown at the
course. One of these had been recorded for the Newham
Project and depicted interviews with local school children,
head teachers and chess tutors. There is an air of
expectation surrounding the project and a determination that
it should succeed.
Those attending the course possessed
considerable experience from having been teaching chess in
school, after school clubs or in the community. One attended
from Lithuania had graduated from the chess in schools
teaching programme in his own country. It was pointed out
that the CSC course and syllabus is unique in having been
developed on the basis of experience gained in English
junior and school chess clubs. The aim has always been to
make the material relevant in the British educational
context with the emphasis being on the development of
thinking skills rather than to produce grandmasters.
- John Foley
10th Oct 2012
On 10th October a Chess in
Schools training course took place at Bramley St
Peters primary school in Leeds. This was the
first time the course had taken place in Leeds
and the first time in a primary school. The
facilities were excellent with a specially
dedicated training room with a projector onto a
whiteboard. Whilst some of those attending were
local, others travelled from further afield
including Durham, Sheffield and Batley.
There was the usual wide mix of attendees
from expert chess players to those who had only just learned
the moves. However, everybody was able to participate fully
in the course. Judging by the laughter throughout the day,
it appears to have been an enjoyable event.
Some of the participants worked at a
Pupil Referral Unit where we heard that chess is beginning
to make a positive impact.
A notable occurrence during the day was
the arrival of the local Member of Parliament for Leeds
West, Rachel Reeves. Rachel listened in to John Foley’s talk
on etiquette in chess and how to apply the controversial
“touch-move” rule. She then went on to give a chess lesson
to a group of enthusiastic children followed by a
simultaneous display. Those present noticed the natural
warmth with which she dealt with children. She recently
announced she is to be a mother for the first time. Rachel
Reeves is a big supporter of chess in schools and we were
grateful for her attendance at this event. The Yorkshire
Post also covered the story.
26 Sept 2012
We held two courses at the premises of
City Year London in
Islington. The first course was for 28 of their
volunteers and the other was for CSC teachers and tutors.
City Year London comprises young people
between 18 and 25 on a gap year who go into inner city
schools to lead activities which stretch the minds and
ambitions of the children. It is encouraging that they see
chess as a suitable activity to include within their
volunteer training programme.
The second course was for 20 teachers and
chess tutors. We had primary school as well as secondary
school teachers. There is now more interest from secondary
schools in introducing chess programmes. We also had
participants from private schools. The attendees represented
the full range of chess abilities from those who had never
played at all to an international master from Turkey.
There was a Hackney
borough councillor who is an enthusiastic
proponent of the benefits of chess. Other
attendees included people reaching
retirement who wanted to volunteer to teach
in schools. There was a lively debate on the
advantages of teaching chess as part of the
weekly curriculum and contrasting that with
teaching in a lunchtime or pre- or
after-school chess club.
It was agreed that the ideal arrangement
is to have a school chess club following on from a chess
lesson so that those who were keen could continue to
practice. As usual, the courses were presented with
customary wit and erudition by John Foley, with Nevil Chan
ensuring that everything ran smoothly.
27 June 2012
John Foley came up from
London to run another excellent training day
at the Middlesbrough City Learning Centre.
The venue was perfect for
such a day with very friendly and highly
efficient staff plus an excellent buffet lunch
(during which the laws of 'touch move' and
'touch take' were strictly observed).
We had a fabulous blend of
people on the course. Teachers and TAs mixed in
with strong (in some cases, titled) chess
players for a day of instruction and fun. The
role-playing re-enactments of castling, pinning
and back-rank checkmate were particular
- Sean Marsh
14 March 2012
A training course for teaching chess in
primary schools was given at Bristol by John
Foley. The 17 attendees had an enjoyable day
in the fine premises of the Bristol
Conference Centre in Shirehampton. The
attendees comprised teachers, classroom
assistants, a special needs instructor, a
parent and a chess tutor attending for the
second time. There was also a teacher of the
deaf accompanied by his sign language
translators. Amongst the comments from the
“Informative session on why chess is
very important to the school
“Pacey delivery with humour.”
“Plenty of ideas.”
“Networking with other schools was
“Role-play” helps understanding
things like pins, skewer and
Malcolm Pein, the Chief Executive of CSC,
along with Robert Chandler, the CSC Bristol
project organiser, had a full programme of
activities on the same day including
meetings with Bristol Council who are very
supportive, an interview on BBC Radio
Bristol, simultaneous displays in two
schools and a visit to Clifton College, a
centre of excellence for junior chess. Chess
is alive and well in Bristol.
King, bishop and
Robert Chandler has
22 Sept 11 -
There was a big turnout for the
course for school teachers and teaching
assistants at Hyde in Manchester on 22
September given by John Foley, the CSC
course director. David Hardy, the local CSC
chess tutor organised the event and welcomed
over twenty participants. We spent an
intensive day learning how chess can be made
exciting for primary school children.
The course started by
confirming the benefits of chess for
developing thinking skills such as
concentration and analysis. Links to the
school curriculum were identified. The 15%
improvement in academic performance
associated with playing chess in schools was
noted. The structured course then proceeded
at a fast pace with an emphasis on practical
classroom exercises. The basic principles of
teaching chess were communicated in a lively
way using a chess demonstration board, a
flipchart and a projector.
The attendees tried out
instructional chess variants such as
mini-games which gradually lead children up
to the orthodox form of chess and beyond.
They learned the distinction between
material and spatial concepts in child
development psychology. They explored the
use of coloured blocks to illustrate which
squares are attacked and also to depict the
fascinating geometrical contours generated
by individual pieces. Much fun was had
acting out fundamental concepts such as
checkmate – an exercise always popular with
children. The CSC primary school curriculum
was explained. The social aspects of chess
were emphasised with sessions on the touch
move rule and chess etiquette. By the end of
the course, some participants were avidly
playing exchange chess which is popular in
junior chess. Course handouts included the
curriculum and the teacher’s guide.
The participating schools
included: St. George's CE Primary School,
Holden Clough Primary School, St. Francis
Xavier's College, St. George's CE Primary
School, Millbrook School, Greenside Primary
School, Holy Trinity CE Dobcross, Waterloo
Primary School, Hey with Zion Primary,
Stalyhill Junior School and St Peters RC HS.
We hope more schools can
attend next time for this well-received
Click to see
details of other completed courses