South Glamorgan - Cardiff




Participating Schools

Hawthorn (Sarah Kett)

Lakeside (Frank Norman)

Peterlea (Frank Norman)

Roath Park (Tim Kett)

St Paul's CiW (Tim Kett)

Ton Yr Ywen (Sarah Kett)

Trelai (Frank Norman)

Whitchurch (Sarah Kett)

Ysgol Gwaelod-y-Garth (Tim Kett)

Ysgol Y Wern (Tim Kett)


Previous Projects

Bryn Hafod


Mount Stuart

Peterston Super Ely



Ysgol Pwll Coch



CSC Tutors shown in brackets

Community Projects

Autism Puzzles





















Ex-CSC pupil Glorney Cup success


20.7.16 - Anlan Qiu (who learned his chess at Lakeside Primary in Cardiff) has just finished played for Wales in the annual Robinson (u14) match v the other home nations - plus France this year.


He even made one of the highest scores .... 3½/5!


- Tim & Sarah Kett

Welsh Champion 2016

01.4.16 - Congratulations to Tim Kett, who has just won the Welsh Chess Championship for the third time. Tim scored 6/7 to add to his successes in 2012 and 2014. Tim, along with his wife Sarah, co-ordinates the charity's activities in Wales; together they teach for CSC in 12 schools across Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil.


Well done too to CSC pupils Anlan Qui and Neil Stephenson, who scored creditably in the Open and Minor respectively.


Tim has kindly annotated his decisive encounter with the top seed for us:


The Dell clinches a major team trophy by Richard Stevenson


01.12.14 - Several Chess in Schools and Communities schools excelled at a recent teams-of-ten event involving over 40 teams from the state and private sector.


At this competition held on 25 November at Cardiff City Stadium, The Dell, Chepstow, clinched first place in division one. Just five places behind came another CSC school from this town, St Mary’s.



Caption: Neil Stevenson, board 1 for The Dell, collects the trophy

from the Lord Major of Cardiff, Cllr Margaret Jones.


More CSC success occurred in division two, with the runner’s up spot taken by Peter Lea, a school from a deprived neighbourhood within Cardiff.



While all three schools are to be congratulated, plaudits should also be directed to the organisers of the day, Tim and Sarah Kett, and those that supported them in running a competition involving nearly 500 children. Those players, many from CSC schools, voiced their praise when interviewed for a news item shown on TV in the early evening by Welsh broadcaster SC4.


Malcolm Pein, chief exec of CSC, is hugely encouraged by the progress of many CSC schools. In particular, he is delighted to hear of The Dell’s triumph: “In just four years they have gone from having no chess at the school to winning a prestigious tournament.”


Agreeing with Pein is the organiser of the event, Welsh champion Tim Kett, who believes that The Dell are worthy winners. “They played many of the top teams, including The Grange that came second, third-placed Birchgrove, and last year’s winners, Howell’s. The Dell were unlucky not to win last year, missing out by a solitary point.”


The Dell has made a rapid ascent to the top of Welsh school chess since the founding of a club in 2010. This came about due to a pupil at the school, Neil Stevenson, showing great interest in a chess set found on holiday, and his dad, Richard, volunteering to start a club.


Initially, at the advice of the former head, Mr Evans, children from just years 5 and 6 could attend, but a blind eye was turned when some year 4s sneaked in. And after the Head gave permission to play in the UK Land Challenge, an event with age categories down to under 7s, chess fever started to grip the school, with children from years 1 through to 6 getting their first taste of competition within and outside school.




Caption: Neil Stevenson holds British Under 10 champion Chirag Guha to a draw, helping The

Dell to win the match 15-5. Chess-playing readers may recognise the Traxler variation in the

Two Knights Defence.


Those that got through to their first megafinal found it an eye-opener. They had no experience of clocks, or of the tactics of chess and its principles. That didn’t appear to be the case for the opposition, so it was no surprise that wins were few and far between for players from The Dell.


At this point the leader of the chess club, who was no more than a beginner himself, started to read-up on the game. He also made contact with Tim Kett, and took a couple of the more promising pupils to training days held in Cardiff schools during the holidays.


With children a little better prepared for the next megafinal, hopes were running high that some might scrape as many as three wins from six. However, the day went far better than that, with The Dell taking first, second and third in the under 7s, and getting a total of four children through to the Northern gigafinal.



The Dell took two teams to the Cardiff City Stadium event. Both

played in division one, with Dell A coming first and Dell B fifteenth.

CSC provided trophies for the competition.


This gave those in the club confidence that they could compete in local events. However, Richard Stevenson felt that if they were to make good progress, they would need to start looking at chess puzzles, so he added a Chess Puzzles Club, drawing on the books by Jeff Coakley. Allowing children to immerse themselves in chess twice a week spawned further success, with the highlight of the following year being Neil Stevenson’s win of the Under 8 section of the Northern gigafinal.


Another key improvement to the club during that academic year was the help of other parents. Thanks to greater support, teaching of the game to boys and girls now occurred separately, driving demise of male-domination. This swelled numbers, while uncovering some very promising female players.


Around this time Julie McIntosh, a parent at St Mary’s who is a Woman FIDE chess master and former British Girls Champion, got in touch with Stevenson in the hope of organising some local friendlies. She was aware of CSC, and putting the team at The Dell in touch with them led to four parents from the school attending a course for chess tutors. There they learnt of the multiple benefits that children can derive from learning chess, such as increased concentration, improved behaviour, and higher attainment in a variety of subjects.




One of the highlights of the 2013/2014 season was a fourth place for the under 9s in the EPSCA

semi-finals. Just one more win in the final round would have seen them through to an

all-play-all national final involving eight teams.

McIntosh had a vision for a junior town club, and after sharing this with Stevenson, the pair of them founded one in the local library at the beginning of 2014. This would not have happened without the support of CSC, which has provided sets, lanyards and advice; and the library, which provides a great space, drinks for the children, and sets up tables and chairs so the children can start playing once they have arrived. To run a club involving 30 or more children takes more than two people, and these founders are very grateful to a band of loyal supporters, including parents from The Dell and St Mary’s and chess players and coaches, such as Russell Dodington and Peter Smith.


Holding a club in the library provides great exposure for children’s chess. This initiative has prompted David Greenhalgh, a parent at another local school, Shirenewton, to go on the CSC course and start a school club. A team from Shirenewton made their debut at the Cardiff City Stadium event, finishing a very creditable 13th in division two.


Those attending the Chepstow town library club are getting regular coaching and plenty of practice, and this is helping them to do very well in local competitions. For example, many have qualified for the forthcoming Welsh Junior Championships.


Kett, who now knows many of these young players, due to their attendance at his training days, describes them as a very pleasant, cooperative and easy bunch to work with. “I get the impression they enjoy lots of things besides chess and are all-round achievers, certainly not one-sided geek types!”


With the town club propelling the standard of junior chess in Chepstow to a new level, new stars are emerging, such as Anna Boyle, who represented Wales in the World Youth Chess Championships in Durban, South Africa, in September 2014.


Boyle and her teammates are already looking forward to the next Cardiff City teams-of-ten event. With participation growing every year, maybe it can involve 50 teams in 2015.


Tim Kett is 2014 Welsh Chess Champion


Chess in Schools and Communities would like to congratulate Tim Kett on winning the 2014 Welsh Chess Championships. Tim’s score of 6½/7 not only secured him outright first, but left him 1½ points clear of the rest of the field.


This is Tim’s second Welsh title, after sharing first with IM Richard Jones at the 2012 Championships.


Full results can be found here: 


Tim co-coordinates CSC’s activities in Wales with his wife, Sarah. Collectively they teach in 15 CSC schools across Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil.





Picture | Welsh Chess Gallery


The Dell excels in Cardiff tournament by Richard Stevenson



Steffan Griffiths from The Dell won all of his matches.


A little-known school in Welsh chess circles, The Dell of Chepstow, caused an almighty upset at the teams-of-ten tournament held in Cardiff, coming second out of 36 teams.


Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of Chess in Schools and Communities, believes that The Dell did “astonishingly well”, considering that chess only started in the school a few years ago.


Former Welsh champion and organiser of the day, Tim Kett, agrees, pointing out that The Dell could have done even better. “The Dell were desperately unlucky not to win the whole event having been the only team to win all five matches”. Victories included an 11-9 win over the winning team, Howell’s of Cardiff.


By improving from 12th in 2012 to second this year, the Dell is helping to destroy the dominance that private schools have enjoyed in junior chess in Wales.


Further evidence of a rise in chess strength in state schools came from the excellent performances from Birchgrove and Ysgol Gymraeg Caerffili (equal fourth), and Lakeside, Whitchurch and St Mary's (also from Chepstow) also finished in the top ten.




The Dell beat Howell’s 11-9, but came second to them in the

Cardiff tournament.

“There is every reason now to believe that the playing field has been levelled and children from the state-sector will be able to throw off their historic feeling of inevitability about such results,” says Kett.



Chess at The Dell is led by a parent, Richard Stevenson, and is supported by three others: Tanya Sutton, Rhianne Stewart and Lorraine Bangoo. None play competitive chess, suggesting that strong club players are not a pre-requisite for junior school chess success.


Stevenson puts the recent result down to hard work: “Many of our team participate in our chess ladder, which attracts over 30 children, and also take part in our chess puzzles club. They are playing chess twice a week.”


In January 2014, Stevenson will co-found a free chess club for juniors in Chepstow along with Julie McIntosh, former England junior international and head of the chess club at St Mary’s.


“It looks clear that Chepstow is Wales's new junior chess hotspot,” remarks Kett. “They are probably already overtaking Swansea and Monmouth and will be ready for head-to-head challenges with Cardiff, Bristol and the like when it comes to 2014's Inter-Town Competitions.”


Cardiff Qualifier of the Welsh Chess Junior Grand Prix



l to r: James Baker, Blake Fisher and Rhydian Downing


Tim and I are very pleased to report that pupils from the following CSC Schools entered the Cardiff Qualifier of the Welsh Chess Junior Grand Prix held on Saturday 20 October.


St Paul's had 10 entrants - Outstanding win for Blake who was a joint winner of the B Section. First tournament for Conor who came joint 2nd in the D Section.


Lakeside had about 6 entrants - first tournament for all of them - Joshua came joint 2nd in the D Section.


Ton Yr Ywen had 1 entrant - first tournament for Dan who missed the first 2 rounds due to a football match and still scored 3½ out of 6!


Hawthorn had 3 entrants - Francis was the outright winner of the D Section with 6 out of 6.


Peterston Super Ely had 2 entrants.







Joint winners of the B Section - Restricted to Players Graded 1450 or Below.


Blake Fisher aged 8 in Year 4 at St Paul's with two older boys from Monmouth School in Years 8 and 10.



Section D Winner and Runners-up from CSC schools


Francis Howells-Price (green top) of Hawthorne (Year 5) - outright winner with 6 out of 6 Joshua Jones (tallest - just) of Lakeside (Year 5) - joint runner-up with 4½ out of 6 Conor O'Leary (shortest - just) of St Paul's (Year 3) - joint runner-up with 4½ out of 6.



Sarah Kett,

24 Oct 2012













St Paul's at the British Championships!



St Paul's Primary School in the Grangetown area of inner-city Cardiff has been an amazing part of the CSC success story. As their official Tutores, Sarah and I, along with their inspirational Year 6 teacher Adrian Jones, simply got them started and have since watched with delight as the whole school has taken to the game in a way no-one here could have believed possible.


They have absorbed chess into the school's 'bloodstream' and a huge number of pupils play it at every opportunity and they continue to reap ever-bigger rewards .... in all sorts of ways.


Quite apart from the chess prizes (Welsh Primary School Team Champions, several 2nds and 3rds in Welsh Individual Age-Level Championships and 6 or 7 children training with the national squad) the school is also benefitting from improved behaviour, concentration skills and focus on classroom activities. The Welsh Education Inspection team (IESTYN) which visited recently commented very favourably on the chess they saw being taught as well as giving overall ratings well above the average for this part of the city.



Blake Fisher (8) of Year 3




Although many, many children play and are doing well - 86 out of a total of 150 entered the school championship, and up to 20 play in local external tournaments ! - there is one particular boy who is showing exceptional promise. After only about 12 months of playing, Blake Fisher (8) of Year 3 finished 2nd in his age-group at the Welsh Championships and has started to play and beat decent adult players (1500-1700 rating) in competition at the Cardiff Chess Club. When the time came for the British Championships at the start of the summer holidays we felt it was an opportunity he just couldn't miss.


His parents are still in complete amazement at his achievements and know nothing of the chess scene or these events so I took a last-minute decision to just drive him, his mother and two other very promising Cardiff boys (from other schools) up myself. Newcastle is a long way from Cardiff (!) but 7 hours later we made it and dropped by at the Championships to give the boys a quick view and then checked in to our hotel.


Next day was the U8 Championship and apart from our 3 among the 45 competitors there was also Venetia Sivarajasingham, the current Welsh U8 Champion. Blake got off to a sensational start and after 3 rounds was on 3/3 and playing the No.1 seed. The game was an absolute humdinger with the other boy's Tutor after the game whistling through his teeth in pure relief - he knew just how lucky his lad had been to survive Blake's attack!



I really do think that if Blake had won that one he could have gone on to something seriously sensational. As it was he was a bit deflated and lost rd 5 too before coming back to win Rd 6 and finish with 4 out of 6. This was the top score of all the Welsh players including Venetia who had seemed invincible and way above all other Welsh players a few months back.


Over the next two days the boys played the U9 championships as well and Blake again did brilliantly - seeming almost to improve game-by-game. He finished with 4/7 amongst again about 45 contenders. This time there were 8 Welsh players (all private schools apart from our 3) and he was the second best after a Year 4 boy from North Wales who scored 4.5/7.


His finishing positions for the record were =9th in the U8's and =14th in the U9's. These were the official British Championships, and despite the distance most of the really strong kids from all over England were there.


Blake's temperament for chess is ideal - he is concentrated and intensely focused during every game, his eyes never leave the board. His attitude and approach are phenomenal too, many kids his age have to be made to practice and study after the games but most of the time away from competition he was just begging to be taught more opening variations, get out the boards even during meals or failing that to play against anybody's mobile phone app!


Chess at St Pauls is doing lots of good in lots of ways for lots of children .... and we hope that even more will be inspired to take up the game as Blake goes on to even greater heights in his final 3 years at the school. Next year he's targetting being British Champion and we would love to take him on from there to European or World age-group championships !


Tim & Sarah Kett

14th Sept 2012



Cardiff Schools – Easter 2012 report


CSC in Cardiff has just completed its second term and already scored an amazing success. One of our schools – who have only been playing the game for 5 terms have just become the Welsh Primary School Chess Champions!


We currently have four schools signed up and receiving a weekly lesson; they are:


Kitchener Primary School in the Riverside area

Mount Stuart Primary in Butetown

St Paul’s Primary School in Grangetown

Hawthorn Primary School in Llandaff North.


Most of the children had never played any chess before but now that we’ve completed two terms the over 200 pupils in the chosen classes all now know the moves, some basic openings, tactics (forks etc) and checkmates and, most of all – “to take the other guys pieces when you can!”



The enthusiasm of the children continues to delight and motivate us. We are always greeted with a cheer when we arrive in the morning. At first some of the teachers might have doubted how long the thrill would last – but now they’ve got past being surprised at how well the children focus on the game!


We’re also learning all the time and refining and improving the way we teach. Every week we try to mix up the format between Individual and Team exercises, written work and group demonstrations, over-the-board play and computer chess etc etc. We always look for ways to link with other educational areas e.g. maths (calculating values of pieces captured ) or by writing down their moves etc etc.


We’d be very happy to discuss all this with other CSC teachers and share our experiences further.


What many love most of all, of course, is pure competition and the joy of winning – and apart from regular Class v Class matches within schools we encourage our Schools to play matches against each other and for pupils to take part in local competition.


Tournament News


Cardiff & Vale. The number of children participating in this popular event had always been fairly steady around the 200 mark, this year thanks in large part to CSC and a general recent increase in chess teaching in the city, the numbers almost topped 300!




At all our CSC schools there has been some participation now in external chess activity and, although its still fairly limited in most of them, one of the Cardiff CSC Schools has achieved phenomenal success already.


At St Paul’s Church-In-Wales Primary School chess has become, not just a part of everyday life, but one of its primary activities and a driving force behind the schools success. There are fewer than 200 pupils at the school and yet 50-60 regularly attend chess club and 30+ have competed in tournaments so far this year.


Matthew Richards (U11)

Euan Richards (U11)

Iestyn James (U11)

Eve Farrow (U11 Girls)

Blake Fisher (U9) and

Kane Summerhayes-Bainbridge (U9)


have all been selected for the Welsh national Age-Group squads and last weekend a fabulous season was capped by the school finishing joint first at the Welsh Primary School Teams Championship!


If one part of CSC’s mission is to show how chess can bring mainstream success within the grasp of inner-city schools, this is an amazing ‘bullseye’ for a first season on the programme ! The Welsh School Team title has always been the preserve of the elite until now - no state school had ever won it before!


Tim & Sarah Kett

19th April 2012

Cardiff Schools First Half Term report

CSC is up-and-running with four schools signed up to the programme in Cardiff. In this Autumn term we have started teaching at two of them:


Kitchener Primary School in the Riverside area and Mount Stuart Primary in Butetown.



In both schools we have been welcomed by helpful teachers and hugely enthusiastic pupils – their excitement is so rewarding and delightful.


They’re probably just naturally polite but they make us feel like the morning or afternoon we spend with them is the highlight of their school week.


The mixture of Year 3 and Year 4 children, almost without exception, had not played any chess in their lives before. Although they had heard some of the names of the pieces only a couple had any idea how any of them moved.


Over the next few weeks therefore we took them slowly and steadily through (in order) the Pawns, the Rooks, the Kings, the Bishops, the Knights and the Queens.


In each case we would learn how they moved then play mini-games using just those pieces or those pieces plus pawns so that they gradually came to master them.


Now at last they are able to play “proper chess” and once we return from half-term we’ll be getting engrossed in the mysteries of opening (develop those bishops and knights) and middlegame tactics (watch out for forks and pins). We can’t wait and neither can they!





Future developments

We are building up towards a Junior Team Tournament taking place in Cardiff on the 3rd December and will have teams there representing each of the four CSC schools. Our next report will be all about that – a first taste of tournament chess for most of the children. In January we will be adding two more schools to the weekly teaching rota:


St Paul’s Primary School in Grangetown and Hawthorn Primary School in Llandaff North.


We have started supporting these schools already and established chess clubs there, but we look forward to giving all Year 3 / Year 4 pupils the opportunity to learn the game.


Trip to the House of Parliament

On October the 18th we took some pupils from St Paul’s up to Westminster for the CSC First Birthday event at the House of Commons. Here is a shot of the children lining up for Garry’s signature




A fantastic day was had by all and the four children; Euan and Matthew Richards, Eve Farrow and Owen Stanley all gave great account of themselves in the simultaneous display by Nigel Short.


Finally here are the four St Paul’s children posing with their MP Alun Michael (Lab, Cardiff South and Penarth). All in all a great start, and we look forward to helping take CSC from strength to strength here in Cardiff.


Tim & Sarah Kett

26th Oct 2011


Click to see this report on our News page




Mr Cresswell, Hawthorne Primary School, Cardiff

"I am delighted at the impact the chess sessions are having on the children’s learning. The learning and playing of chess has so many positive features ..." [read more]



Lesley Leckie, Headteacher, Trelai Primary School, Cardiff - We introduced chess to our two year 4 classes at the beginning of Spring term for one hour a week during timetabled maths sessions. It immediately captured the children’s interest especially the boys -39 of them compared to only 14 girls in the cohort ..." [read more]



Jane Evans, Headteacher, Kitchener Primary School, Cardiff - "We are delighted that CSC introduced chess into our school in September and the first term has gone exceptionally well. The children have really enjoyed it and learned a lot ..." [read more]



Mr Volk, Birchgrove Primary School, Cardiff - "Our chess club has recently expanded to 2 classrooms each Tuesday lunchtime and includes a variety of children of all levels of academic ability, differing backgrounds and ethnicity ..." [read more]



Sue Jones, Headteacher, St. Paul's Church in Wales Primary School - "It is a pleasure to let you know the difference learning to play chess has made at St Paul's C/W Primary School ..." [read more]



© SC

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

 top ^