Yes2Chess Grand Finals 2015


Yes2Chess Grand Finals 2015


It was the second edition of an initiative to get children all over the world to play chess. 4,200 competitive games took place in a special Yes2Chess room on Playchess, and in person, and 40 finalists from the UK, Spain, Portugal, the US, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Norway played the final matches of the international tournament in Hyde Park on 24th June to determine the overall winning school.





In June 2015, the Yes2Chess Grand Finals were once again staged at the Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time music festival in Hyde Park. The second edition of the tournament followed the first’s successful formula, as primary school teams from Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the USA were flown to London for a three day programme of events. The schools from Norway and Denmark took part in over the board qualifying tournaments, whilst the schools from Germany, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA qualified via the private Yes2Chess room on Playchess.


William Patten School in Hackney were the UK winners, so only had to take a bus to the luxurious Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch, where the delegations stayed throughout the programme. After a buffet reception, where the teams and parents were welcomed by Payal Jain from Barclaycard and Malcolm Pein, the Chief Executive of Chess in Schools and Communities, the children played their first games of chess as all 40 of them, plus two additional children from the delegation, took on British Chess Champion David Howell in a simultaneous display.



GM Howell posing with school staff at the Yes2Chess final [photo Ray Morris-Hill]


David nearly swept the boards but a couple of wins slipped away. He lost to Kevin Pan (Mission Elementary, USA) and conceded a draw to Afras Mansoor (Sorasbygda Skole, Norway):




On 23rd June the eight delegations were welcomed at the House of Lords, the upper house of the UK Parliament, by Baroness Frances D’Souza, Lord Lyndon Harrison, Yasmin Qureshi MP and Dave Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Europe. All four spoke of the benefits of learning chess in school. Baroness Angela Smith, Lord Willy Bach, Jesse Norman MP and David Mowat MP were also in attendance. After the speeches, there was a friendly game between Lord Harrison and Dave Chan, who were partnered with twins from the Spanish team, Yaiza and Paula Ruperez. Here are the moves of what turned out to be a very correctly played game!



Lord Lyndon Harrison, flanked by Dave Chan, Yasmin Qureshi MP and the Ruperez twins




It should be pointed out that Lord Harrison recently drew with Garry Kasparov in a simultaneous display at the House of Lords, and held Paul Keres in another simultaneous back in 1962!


After the House of Lords the delegations crossed the road to the House of Commons for a guided tour, which was followed by lunch and a visit to the Tower of London. At the end of a tiring day it was time to relax at the hotel and prepare for the battles ahead.


And so to finals day! The Cumberland is a short walk away from Hyde Park and we made an early start to allow time for some photographs. The parents were treated to some fine hospitality in the festival grandstand, courtesy of Barclaycard, as the players did battle. Schools in the CSC programme were also invited to Hyde Park to participate in a human chess game, played with 32 actors in full costume. It was a wonderful spectacle as the players paraded around the park before taking their places on the giant board.



The human chess players greet their spectators



A view of the human chess game from the Better View platform










Kevin Pan maintained his form with a tremendous performance at the finals, winning all four of his games. In the championship match between Mission Elementary and Escola Filipa de Lencastre, from Portugal, he uncorked a clever piece sacrifice:




The final standings


Mission San Jose Elementary School (USA)

Escola Filipa de Lencastre (Portugal)

Sorasbygda Skole (Norway)

Koge Private Realskole (Denmark)

Hokasens Skola (Sweden)

 Kaethe Kollwitz Gymnasium (Germany)

CEIP Diego Lainez (Spain)

William Patten Primary School (UK)


After prize giving there was time to play chess on the Better View platform:



Photo Casey Gutteridge (all others Ray Morris-Hill)



What is Yes2Chess?


Yes2Chess is a project developed by Chess in Schools and Communities and Barclaycard which combines mentoring in schools, where Barclaycard employees volunteer to assist in chess in schools projects, and a competition held mostly online in eight countries.


The Yes2Chess International Challenge


Each of the eight teams that came to London had won their national competition played on the Yes2Chess server or, in the case of the Danish and Norwegian teams, a face to face competition. Teams are made up of five players from the same school, with each team containing at least one female player. The eligible countries are: Denmark, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, the UK and USA.


Thanks and Facts


A huge thank you to tournament director Alex Holowczak, who was often up into the early hours of the morning supervising the games between the American teams online! Thanks also to Andrew Blantz, the project manager from Barclaycard, and CSC’s Tereza Pribanova, who ensured everything, went smoothly. The event was also supported by volunteers from Barclays and Barclaycard. In all, 372 Barclaycard employees volunteered to support Yes2Chess, either through school mentoring or at tournaments in the eight countries. There was great emphasis this year on increasing the number of girls, and that rose to 31%. Yes2Chess impacted over 40,000 children, nearly double the number in 2014. To find out more about Yes2Chess, and to enter next year, please visit the official Yes2Chess web site.



Photo Casey Gutteridge (all others Ray Morris-Hill)




Previous Chessbase reports


Joys of chess: "Rechtes gegen Linkes Alsterufer"

4/15/2015 – Every year the town of Hamburg, Germany, supported by ChessBase, Barclaycard, and Yes2Chess, celebrates one of the biggest chess events of the world: "Rechtes gegen Linkes Alsterufer". Schools west of the river "Alster" play against schools from east of the "Alster". More than 2.500 students turned this event into a lively, funny, and very loud celebration of the joys of chess.


Barclaycard Yes2Chess tournament 2015

3/13/2015 – Like to play in an international chess tournament, via the Internet, as a school team? If you do you can win a fun-filled trip to London in June, to take part in Finals Weekend. The tournament is open to primary/ elementary school teams from eight countries. Participation is free. In this report we are going to tell you how to register and play. It's really quite simple!


Barclaycard Yes2Chess tournament 2015

3/2/2015 – How would you like to play in an international chess tournament, via the Internet, as a school team. You will be competing for an extraordinary prize: each national tournament winner will receive a fun-filled trip to London in June 2015 to take part in Finals. The tournament is open to primary/ elementary school teams from eight countries, registry and participation is free. Don't miss it!


Yes2Chess: team finals in London

7/8/2014 – It is one of the most inspiring events we have attended in years: eight teams of elementary schoolchildren from eight different countries, who qualified in a massive Playchess tournament, are now in London for a face-to-face showdown. The hosts, Barclaycard, have put in a tremendous effort to make it a memorable stay for the visitors, all of who are now sure to say Yes2Chess.


Scholastic chess making headlines

24/3/2014 – In the middle of the last century a group of teachers in Hamburg, Germany, started a tournament with 160 students. Today, 66 years later, the annual event has over 2500 participants, and includes play against remote opponents via The event was supported on the English side by Barclaycard, which is also spearheading another scholastic chess initiative, Yes2Chess.


Yes2Chess ... with Felix Magath

3/10/2014 – Two weeks ago, as part of the "Yes2Chess" scholastic chess initiative, patron Felix Magath attended a discussion panel evening at a prominent location in Hamburg. Representatives from the fields of sports, education, politics and business talked about the further development of chess in schools in Hamburg. Afterwards, Felix Magath explained why he had chosen not to go to Hamburger SV.


Yes2Chess: A Clever Move by Barclaycard

15/1/2014 – Chess is good for children. It teaches them logical thinking, social interaction, perseverance, and above all concentration. Barclaycard, Europe's leading issuer of credit cards, has partnered with Chess in Schools and Communities and to create a new Internet home for schools across Europe and the USA. Students can play each other online and win an amazing prize.



Games from the LIVE boards






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