Chess in Schools and Communities' Empower Girls Chess Tournament 

The first Empower Girls Chess Tournament welcomed 40 girls from eight schools from around Merseyside on Monday 10th June at Our Lady and St Edward’s RC Primary School in Birkenhead. Organised by Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC), the event was run to inspire girls through chess and combined motivational talks with competition.


Malcolm Pein and Merseyside coordinator Bob Clark standing next to the day's silver medalists. 

Chess is a game usually dominated by boys but not so much on Merseyside where CSC teaches the game in the classroom of over 20 schools during curriculum time, ensuring equal participation. The girls were lucky enough to hear from Maria Eagle MP, a former top junior chess player; as well as other women chess players from Liverpool talking about how playing chess at a young age helped them at school and in later life.


Maria Eagle kept a keen eye over the girls' games

The girls participated in a tournament

Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood, commented,

“As I found myself as a young chess player, the game can teach concentration, confidence and strategic and tactical planning of a kind that is invaluable to many careers and situations in life. It also teaches a person to respect the potential and abilities of others...Girls often lack confidence and society can place expectations on girls that do not accord with their own wishes or potential. I found that chess can teach skills to enable girls to do what they want in life instead of just what is expected of them.”

The girls hearing how chess helped Maria in her career

Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of Chess in Schools and Communities, said, “Liverpool has a fine chess tradition. We hope we can produce another British Women’s Champion like Grandmaster Sheila Jackson, who attended Broad Square Primary School. We are delighted to stage the Empower Girls Chess Tournament, the first event of its kind in the UK, in Liverpool and look forward to seeing many girls amongst the prize winners at St Georges Hall later this month.”

 Elaine McGunigall, Head Teacher of Our Lady and St Edward’s RC Primary School, added, “We have been working with Chess in Schools and Communities for the past year and the impact of learning how to play chess on the children's' confidence and their attitude to learning has been far beyond our expectations. Not only have the children embraced learning the skills required to play chess, but also a range of life-skills, includingresilience, logical thinking, the consequences of their choices and the tools for reflecting on their actions. It has resulted in the Governors agreeing to roll out chess, next year, from Year 5 across the whole of the Key Stage.

 All the girls participating received a chess set and the book Checkmate by Garry Kasparov renowned for being the greatest player in the history of the game.

The Headteacher of St Edwards went the extra mile with her chess themed baking! 

Girls attended from 8 Merseyside schools:

Our Lady and St Edwards R C Primary School

St Bridget’s Primary School

William of York Primary School

New Brighton Primary School

Monksdown Primary School

Our Lady of Pity RC Primary School

Dawpool Primary School

Greasby Junior School 

Holy Trinity Primary School 

The final Gold Medal winners were.

Ava Prior of St Bridget's Primary School, Maisie Liddicoat of Our Lady and St Edwards & Jessica Rose Preston of Dawpool Primary School 

The event even appeared in the local Liverpool Echo with you can read here.