Kasparov: 'Chess in schools is cool'

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0 | Chess Event Coverage

The charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) celebrated its first birthday on Tuesday, October 18th in the House of Commons in London. Among the guests were Garry Kasparov, who supports chess in schools through his Kasparov Chess Foundation, an also GMs Nigel Short, Jonathan Rowson and Jonathan Speelman.

Photo: Ray Morris-Hill

The reception was hosted by Rachel Reeves, Member of Parliament for Leeds West, in the Jubilee Room at Westminster. She is one of 23 MPs to have signed an early day motion submitted by Yasmin Qureshi MP, backing the campaign to give every primary school child in the country the chance to learn how to play chess.

A decent chess player herself, a few days earlier Reeves visited the Valley View School Chess Club in Leeds, where she gave a simul (!) to twelve children. She said:

It's great to see young people engaging in chess, which helps to build their problem-solving and logic skills, as well as being great fun. I'm looking forward to next week, when I'll be able to host some of my local schoolchildren in the Parliamentary event.

This event took place on October 18th. Children from Teesside, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, Barnet, Hackney, Newham and Hammersmith and Fulham were accompanied by their teachers and parents. Every child got the chance to take on Nigel Short in a simultaneous display.

Rachel Reeves spoke about how learning chess at an early age had helped her. 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov came to London as well: he spoke at the event and made many media appearances. Nigel Short played the children and a few MPs without losing a game. Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson and CSC Field Worker England international Sabrina Chevannes also made some moves.

Reeves' colleagues in the Labour Shadow Cabinet Angela and Maria Eagle also attended the event. They were strong junior players in the city of Liverpool.

Rachel Reeves MP gets some advice from Garry Kasparov in her match against Stephen Moss of the Guardian

Since its establishment 12 months ago, CSC has introduced over 3,000 children to the game in over 80 primary schools across England and Wales. The positive returns means the charity is making good progress towards its target of introducing chess back into 1000 primary schools nationwide. CSC argues that introducing pupils to chess at Year 2 or 3 would offer them a host of benefits that are not engendered by other team and individual sports. 

Kasparov with children from William Patten Primary School, Hackney

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