In May 2019 England was invited to take place in the International Online Word Chess prison Championships. The event was a collaboration between the efforts of Carl Portman (English Chess Federation and the author of the book Chess Behind Bars) and our charity led by Peter Sullivan. 

The event took place in the prison’s library. Andrew Smith, the chess volunteer on the day, tells us about the match: ''The library, although quite small and space restrictive, had a small meeting area with 6 computers surrounding the perimeter of the room. We set up our boards and our computers to play. The matches were a four board match with 15 minutes for each player (no increment). Unfortunately for our inmates, the prisoners were not allowed to access the internet at all. This was due to safety concerns around prisoners potentially contacting their victims over a social media platform. Each player had their own account, special accounts where all chat functions had been disabled. Unlike other prisons, it was us, the volunteers, who had to manually input all their moves.’’ Read more from Andrew here.

Carl Portman, the Manager for Chess in Prisons of the English Chess Federation: ''The prisoners were part of a world first and that can never be taken away from them. The experience was rewarding, interesting and super productive. The team ethic and camaraderie between prisoners, facilitators and the prison staff were second to none.'' (...) ''Whilst it might be true that we never won a match, the experience was absolutely priceless and it was music to my hears to hear staff say comments like ‘This is the first time I have seen ‘him’ smile in long time, he never smiles’, or ‘Watching them work together was absolutely amazing’. There was no Braggadocio and no insults. Indeed, everyone was desperate for a win against one of the teams.'' Read more from Carl here.