Tuesday, 5 April 2011

CSC at The London Chess Classic 2010

Chess in Schools and Communities really kicked off in September 2010 and is now working in 8 areas: Hackney, Barnet, Newham, Hammersmith & Fulham (all in London) and Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and Middlesbrough. We are in over 60 schools and are teaching over 2000 children. The weekly teaching of the specially devised CSC curriculum has been a great success, so we thought we would run a tournament!
The tournament took place during The 2nd London Chess Classic at Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington on Thursday 9th December. 300 children signed up for the event so we were not short of numbers! We had planned to have a simultaneous display before the event with some masters, but when this volume of children signed up, it turned into 9 simultaneous displays!! I was so lucky to have so many masters available. 

GM Chris Ward has a think in his simul against 30 children

The preparation for the tournament was no trivial matter. We had allocated ourselves 30 minutes for each round. This was to include: doing the pairings for 300 children, seating 300 children in the correct places, allowing 150 games to finish being played, collecting the results of all 150 games and getting them all ready for the next round! When trying to work out the logistics of this, we realised that it was necessary to use a computer to do all the pairings, so I manually put all 300 children’s names, schools and age groups into my computer, only for it to crash at 3am, leaving me in a complete state of panic. I spent the entire night fretting and trying to get it back working again. 

So after approximately 30 minutes sleep, I arrive at Olympia Conference centre to set up and borrow another computer to manually input all the names in. Two hours later, things are starting to look up, until, yep you guessed it, the second computer crashed! I felt jinxed – this was surely an omen. After a good 15 minutes of having a good cry and stressing out, I finally admitted that it was time to revert back to old-school playing cards! It was going to be tough, but we were up for the challenge.

Whilst all this was going on, we had children from all over the country rattling their brains to find the moves to outwit our masters. The East Hall of Olympia was lined with children from 5-11 years old who were bursting with enthusiasm to gain a worthy scalp. As the children finished their games, one by one, they were truly gutted to have not been victorious over our country’s best players. 

GM Daniel King puts in maximum effort against Ravenscroft Primary School

Having warmed up against the titled players, the children were ready to play some true competitors! The tournament was split into 3 sections of roughly equal numbers: Years 2-4, Year 5 and Year 6. Each school had entered a number of children who were competing as a team and representing their school. The top 4 scores in each team counted to the team’s score, so it did not matter how many children each school brought along to the event. However, there were some complications when schools entered a couple of people in each age group! Children’s scores from the lower age groups would count towards the higher age groups’ teams. It was clear in our heads!
A school prepares for their games

For a lot of the children, it was their first tournament and they were just excited at the prospect of playing chess against children from other schools. For others, this was another chance at a piece of silverware for their cabinet so range of experience in the hall was extremely vast. Despite this, the ambience was so positive and every child in the room was having the most amazing time. Regardless of the result, there would be a huge smile on the face of each child leaving the tournament hall, eager to come back in for the next round. 

Post-game analysis on the giant chess set.

Six games were played each and the children battled to the end, especially when the prizes were revealed and displayed in the hall. The incentive to win was even bigger! As the long day drew to a close, everyone gathered in the foyer for the prizegiving. It was no ordinary prizegiving as we had a celebrity to present the prizes. We were extremely lucky to be graced with the presence of Alex Zane, Channel 4 TV presenter, comedian and XFM DJ. He was wonderful with the children and it was amazing for him to take the time out to do this for us.

Tournament Director IM Malcolm Pein and celebrity Alex Zane look on at the children's games with interest

In general the day was a great success, everyone leaving with a prize and having a lovely time. To top it off, they followed it up by watching the World Champion play chess live!

The children await for prizegiving

The main prizes were as follows:
Top School
Year 6: Twickenham Prep
Year 5: Twickenham Prep
Year 4: Sir Thomas Abney
Year 3: Wetherby
Year 2: Mulberry House

2nd Placed School
Year 6: St. Bede’s
Year 5: William Patten
Year 4: Barnet Knights
Year 3: Coldfall
Year 2: Jubilee
3rd Placed School
Year 6: William Patten
Year 5: Barham
Year 4: Kempshott
Year 3: Ravenscroft
Year 2: The Hartley Centre
Individual Winners
Year 6: Ria Rambhiya – Barham Primary School
Year 5: Kishen Singh and Ross Milverton – Twickenham Prep,  Jagdeep Dhemrait – Barham Primary School, Matteo Walls – William Patten School
Year 4: Filip Kurzynkski – Sir Thomas Abney School
Year 3: Eric Eedle – Coldfall School, Bhav Rhambhiya – Barham Primary School
Year 2: Theo Krais – Mulberry House Primary School

Alex Zane presents to Year 3 winners - Wetherby School
I would like to thank all the amazing helpers that I had for this tournament as I couldn’t have done it without them. I would also like to thank Malcolm Pein, Daniel King, Chris Ward, John-Paul Wallace, Rajko Vujatovic, Rob Willmoth, James Coleman, Steve James, Rosalind Kieran and Shelby Lohrman for all giving amazing simultaneous displays and remaining unbeaten!
Thank you to Ray Morris-Hill for taking the brilliant photos.
CSC will be back with more tournaments, so watch this space!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Manchester October 1/2 term Chess Camp

by David Hardy

CSC's first half term chess camps in Manchester proved to be a great success. Over the 2 days just over 40 children attended the sessions which involved formal coaching plus lots of competitive play. The level of play improved dramatically over the sessions. 


The children had the chance to use chess clocks for the first time and some were able to write their games down. They really enjoyed playing on Fritz & Chesster and by the end of the each day everyone wanted to know when the next one would be held.

Next chess camp: Date & details to follow soon. 

We are now coaching in 17 schools throughout Tameside and Manchester.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

CISC Teesside October 2010 update

by Sean Marsh

Half of a school term has now flown by. To say it's been a busy one for Chess in Schools and Communities is a massive understatement.

It's been very interesting to see the different rates at which children absorb the new information. Some of my students have needed extra time to master the basics of the first few pieces (especially the Knight), while others have managed to to sail all the way through to delve into the mysterious nature of the King.

Practice games involving armies of pawns against Rooks, Bishops, Knights and Queens have proved to be very successful teaching methods. Some students were disappointed to find out that the King, such a powerful piece in many respects, would lose a battle against just two pawns in most cases.

To assess the children's ability to work as a team, I introduced a few sessions of matches based on the 'capture the flag' exercises. This worked very well, with some  children responding admirably to their chosen roles as captains and all of the responsibilities this entailed.

The captains had to select their players, in turn, from the rest of the group and maintain a very high level of concentration and motivation to be a good example to the rest of their team.

Another idea I used to create a more competitive atmosphere was to have the winning players move up a board and the losers move down accordingly. The challenge was to end up on board one by the end of the session.

A little bit of a competitive edge will be useful when we start to introduce our new players to tournament and matches in 2011. I also think it is important to teach the players not only how to be good losers, but how to be polite winners too.  'When it comes to choosing a school team, I probably won't consider those who wave their arms about and tell their opponent they were rubbish', I tell them. Some will need extra work in this area!

The concepts of 'Check' and 'Checkmate' will feature heavily in our sessions between now and Christmas. Stripped down to the basics, they are fascinating and unique ideas. 

Some children have already been shouting 'checkmate!' whenever they capture a lowly pawn. Their chess journey is going to be longer than they originally thought…

Thursday 7 October 2010

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Pilot School wins Borough Competition!

Chess in Schools and Communities officially starts teaching in September 2010. However, one school, Ravenscroft Primary School in Newham, were lucky enough to be the pilot school in the scheme and started receiving chess lessons in June 2010 by WFM Sabrina Chevannes.

Please read about it in the report below:
The winning team with coach Sabrina Chevannes

The Newham Primary Schools Tournament was established only very recently by Alan Bright – a chess enthusiast who has been encouraging junior chess in the Newham area. He currently teaches in several schools in Newham and brings them together regularly for an interschool competition
Even though Chess in Schools and Communities was scheduled to start in September, we commenced lessons in one school – Ravenscroft Primary School, as a trial run. I began by teaching there once a week although the club had only been running for three weeks I thought it would be nice to get Ravenscroft involved just for fun. I took a team of six players – three children from year 6, two from year 5 and one from year 3. It was their first ever tournament and they were extremely excited.

The format of Newham Primary Schools Tournament was a five round swiss system and where possible, children from the same school avoided playing each other. The top 5 competitors’ scores in each team would count towards their school’s total, so using this system, it did not matter how many children came from each school. The schools competing were:

• St. Luke’s Primary School
• Ravenscroft Primary School
• The Hartley Centre

There were also a couple of individual players – Daniel and Demello who were just representing themselves as they really enjoy chess and wanted to join in.
The tournament took place on the afternoon of Thursday 8th July and was held at St. Luke’s Primary School in Canning Town. It was a hot day and after the walk over from their individual schools, the children were extremely thirsty and were provided with drinks and fruit. It was a nice social event and the children all interacted well.

Due to the late arrivals of Ravenscroft, The Hartley Centre and Demello, St. Luke’s and Daniel were paired off against each other in the first round and the others all received half point byes. In round 2, all players were included in the draw.
The round-by-round results were as follows:

So after 5 rounds, Ravenscroft were the clear winners by 2 points, with a final score of 14.5 points. This was a great achievement for Ravenscroft as it was their first chess tournament both as a school and individuals, and as a result – their first trophy!!
Showing off their trophy and chess wristbands

Demello was the overall individual champion finishing on 4.5/5 points, winning all of his games after his 0.5 point bye in the first round.

Final Standings:

1st place = Ravenscroft Primary School
2nd place = St. Luke’s Primary School
3rd place = The Hartley Centre

Top individual scorer = Demello 4.5/5
2nd top scorer = Daniel 4/5

Top scorer from each school:
St. Luke’s = Kheireddine, Moses & Samuel 3/5
The Hartley Centre = Leon 2.5/5
Ravenscroft = Elijah 3.5/5

Ravenscroft's Top Scorer, Elijah, hoists their trophy

I would like to thank Alan Bright for organising this tournament and St. Luke’s for being such great hosts.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Chess in Schools is now a fully operational charity

CISC is now a fully operational charity with three main objectives:

1) To encourage teaching and playing chess in state schools and inner city communities.
2) To organise and promote world class chess events as a catalyst for mass participation.
3) To raise the profile of chess and highlight its educational and social benefits.

We are setting up chess clubs in about 60 different schools around the UK and are currently looking for chess coaches in the following areas:

 * LONDON – the boroughs of Newham, Barnet, Hackney and Hammersmith
 * MANCHESTER – Tameside

Chess lessons will not just be conducted during lunchtime and after school. We are also seeking curriculum time from participating schools to allow coaches to work around existing commitments.

If you are interested in becoming a coach for Chess in Schools and Communities, please email Sabrina Chevannes