Since we first started
running training courses at Olympia in 2010
we have run many events:
20 were for teaching
chess in primary school - no chess
2 were for tutors
only (which teachers attended)
1 was for volunteers
2 were for
Association of Teachers and Lecturers
2 were for chess
tutors and professionals
CSC has trained over 500
people in how to teach chess.
have now taken place:
Liverpool - 30
April 2014 [report]
Sheffield - 29
April 2014 [report]
Easter 2014 [report]
EEF Conf. (Birmingham) -
Feb 2014 [report]
Teesside - October 2013
London (Stratford) - 24 Sep 2013
(Islington) - 25 Sep 2013
Liverpool - 8
- 9 Oct 2013
15 Oct 2013
16 Oct 2013
Leeds - 22
Bristol - 23
(Olympia) - 11/12/13 Dec 2013
Newham (Stratford Lib) - July
Liverpool - July 2013 [report]
Birmingham - June 2013 [report]
London (Islington) - June 2013 [report]
Bristol - June 2013 [report]
London (Newham) - May 2013 [report]
London Course - March 2013 [report]
Manchester - March 2013 [report]
London Classic - December
Leeds Course - 10th Oct 2012
London Course - 26th Sept
Teesside Training Course - 27th June
London Training Course - 23rd March
Bristol Training Course - 14th March
Nottingham Course - 1st
Olympia London Skills Development -
6th Dec 2011
Olympia London Introductory Course - 5th Dec 2011
22nd September 2011 [report]
City Learning Centre on 29th
Introductory Course - 22nd June
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
gathered at the Law School at Sheffield
University for an introductory course on
teaching chess in primary schools.
has been very active in promoting chess
in local schools, both primary and
included local primary school teachers
and no fewer than three PhDs. Chris
Kirkland was master of ceremonies and
has now attended five CSC courses.
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 sessions.
This week brought
another training day at the Teesside
Barclaycard offices, with John Foley preparing two new groups of
volunteers for their challenging times
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
Read more ...
- Sean Marsh
Building on the success of our Daventry
event (October 2013), Chess in Schools and Communities
hosted a second conference for chess tutors. This took place
in Rednal, Birmingham, on Wednesday February 19th, 2014.
The conference had two primary aims:
To discuss Chess in Schools and Communities’
latest developments, and the EEF and Yes2Chess
projects in particular.
To examine ways of enhancing our delivery, by
discussing best practice and ‘improving teaching
Download conference report in full
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
20 March 2013
The largest ever CSC training
course took place on Wednesday 20th March 2013
in Islington, London with 28 people attending
John Foley’s training course. We are grateful to
City Year London for the use of their premises –
CSC have now held three courses there. Tereza
Pribanova from the CSC team managed the course
reception desk. This was the first public course
since the London Chess Classic at Olympia in
December and demand for training had built up.
In the meantime, there was a course at Stratford
Library on 14th March – coinciding with the
launch of the Newham Project - but this was
restricted to local volunteers and was not
specifically targeted to primary school pupils.
The attendees constituted probably the
strongest ever group of people on the course with prior
experience of teaching chess and many were looking to join
the CSC scheme. Malcolm Pein and Nevil Chan were in
attendance in order to discuss with individuals how to take
matters forward. People came not only from London but also
from further afield including Essex, Northamptonshire and
Nottingham. There was a mathematics teacher from a secondary
school who had introduced chess to her school. Lawrence
Trent, International Master, attended the course before
leaving to provide the official live commentary on the World
Chess Championships candidates matches which were being held
In a tightly structured day, we covered a
huge amount of ground from chess teaching principles to
forms of best practice to a range of exercises, minigames
and chess activities. The course continues to evolve and was
enhanced by the introduction of two short videos – one about
CSC which was produced at the London Chess Classic by
Macauley Peterson, the American chess journalist and film
maker and one about the Newham Project.
The high point of the day was when
Malcolm Pein, who is Chief Executive of the Charity,
announced that the charity had been awarded a substantial
sum by the Education Endowment Foundation in order to
investigate the effect of teaching chess on the school
performance of children. The £689,000 grant will encourage
everybody involved with the chess in schools project and
ensure that we properly understand the benefits of chess.
The money will be spent on expanding the CSC reach into
another 100 schools in the research study.
After this good news, everybody felt even
more energised in their mission to bring the wonderful game
of chess to the children.
- John Foley
The course, the second held
in Manchester comprised a dozen participants
most of whom were chess tutors including David
Hardy, the CSC co-ordinator in Manchester.
Malcolm Pein gave an overview of CSC and
explained its expansion plans. Nevil Chan advised
individuals on the potential opportunities within schools.
The event took place in the splendid Italian Restaurant San
Rocco which is converted from a school. The excellent lunch
was appreciated by all.
The emphasis of the course was on
teaching skills rather than chess exercises. Several
interesting topics were covered in the discussions. The way
that chess reaches children of all abilities was emphasised
as a major advantage. Some non-sporting children find that
chess is the only activity in which they feel they can
participate with others on equal terms. It was pointed out
that chess provides the opportunity for a developmental
approach: although it is conventional to pair children of a
similar competitive level, they can develop nurturing skills
if they can teach others whose level is lower.
We showed the
new CSC video which
interviews professional chess players, teachers and children
on the subject of chess in schools. This is an excellent
video which shows the progress that CSC is making in
communicating its message.
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.
Congratulations to David Eggleston, our
tutor at Castleside Primary School and Consett Junior School
in County Durham, for achieving the International Master
He crossed the 2400 rating threshold at
the 17th Bavarian International Open Chess Championship. He
is currently on 4/4, having beaten Grandmaster Aleksandar
Delchev - rated 2643 - in the fourth round.
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
A training day for chess
tutors and teachers took place at Nottingham
University on 1st February 2012. The event arose
as a result of an initiative by the University
chess club to promote chess in local schools.
Club president Eldar Nagijew
and co-ordinator James Byrne organised the
training event and invited local teachers and
head teachers who obtained a good overview of
what is involved in teaching chess in primary
schools. Schools represented included Radford,
Dunkirk, Netherfield and Higham on the Hill.
David Bevan from Nottinghamshire junior chess
was also in attendance.
According to James, everyone
enjoyed their time and found it very
interesting. Nottingham hopes to run the event
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