Introduction to CSC





Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) is a UK charity whose mission is to improve children’s educational outcomes and social development by introducing them to the game of chess. Founded in 2009, we now teach in over 300 schools and support 400 more nationwide. We also organise a world-class tournament, the London Chess Classic, and Yes2Chess, an international tournament for schools.


Why Chess?

Chess is a universal game, knowing no boundaries of age, gender, faith, ethnicity or disability, that promotes key intellectual skills such as problem solving, logical thinking, pattern recognition and concentration. Playing chess also fosters intellectual character. Its cerebral reputation boosts self-esteem and gives children ‘grit’ – the tenacity to cope with adversity – which helps them grow into rounded and employable individuals. It does this by teaching children how to lose and how to win gracefully, to think ahead and foresee the consequences of their actions.


Academic Benefits

CSC seeks to close the attainment gap, a major challenge of education policy: only 39% of disadvantaged children make expected progress in Key Stage 2 compared to 60% of their peers. 1 According to the OECD, "Socio-economically disadvantaged students not only score lower … than advantaged students, they are less engaged with and at school, have less drive and motivation to learn, and hold negative self-beliefs about their ability to learn". 2  We work entirely in the state sector, prioritising areas of deprivation, to give every child the chance to realise their full potential.


Emerging research suggests a positive link between chess and academic attainment; a recent meta-study concludes that sustained exposure can have a significant impact on mathematics ability.


What We Do

CSC delivers chess via curriculum time lessons or through the traditional extra-curricular chess club. Children are taught by one of our trained tutors, who all have Enhanced DBS clearance, progressing from the rules of the game to foundational tactics and strategy over 30 weeks. They acquire a life-long skill, opening up an affordable and enjoyable game of limitless depth. Schools receive chess sets, teaching and learning resources and entry to school activity days at the London Chess Classic. Staff are offered free places on tutor training courses, enabling them to lead the lessons. Our programme was recognised with the  Sports & Recreation Alliance Innovative Project Award.


Alongside direct teaching, we provide a range of support to schools, including free chess sets, tutor training and use of the CSC curriculum. We also run a growing network of chess clubs in libraries.



An independently designed 2016 survey of CSC schools found that 96% of staff felt pupils enjoyed the lessons, with strong support of its benefits to thinking skills (97%), problem solving (97%), sportsmanship (97%), self-esteem (90%) and concentration (89%).



Since CSC’s inception we have received positive feedback across the country:


“Since our involvement with Chess in Schools as part of School Improvement project, both achievement and progress in maths has risen. Individual tracking of children’s progress has shown that all children make at least good progress and some children with difficulties made more than expected progress.” - Kim McCalmont, Stone with Woodford CoE Primary School


“My son Reuben has loved having the opportunity to learn and play chess at Links Primary School. Their tutor combines an expert level of chess skills with a passion for the game that is contagious for the children. I have seen Reuben’s concentration deepen and extend, his confidence grow and he has learned many skills that he is transferring to other parts of his life. The chess has given him an opportunity to enjoy competition, to take risks and to improve his strategic thinking.”


“Inspectors were extremely impressed by [students at Bradford Central PRU's] attitudes when observing the weekly chess sessions, where all students spend up to an hour learning and playing chess with each other and staff. These are special moments and contribute hugely to students’ social development.” - 'Outstanding' Ofsted report for Bradford Central Pupil


Referral Unit, February 2015

A wider selection can be found here.



CSC brochure
Curriculum sample
London Chess Classic programme
London Chess Classic junior programme


Next Steps

If you want to support chess, then there are lots of ways to get involved:



If you want to know more, get in touch or check our FAQs page.



© SC

Copyright © 2017 | Charity Commission No. 1133120 Company No. 7017640

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