'Urban Chess' Program In London Schools
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PRESS RELEASE: Chess in Schools and the Communities (CSC), a UK registered charity and Newham Borough Council are working together with East Village in an innovative project to deliver chess to all 64 primary schools in Newham and teach 20,000 children to play the world's most enduring game.
The 'Urban Chess' program was launched on 13th March, just 2 days ahead of the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London - which will see 8 of the world's greatest players including world number one Magnus Carlsen compete for a €500,000 prize fund - East Village will celebrate its sponsorship of CSC, by welcoming local schools to Stratford Library for a fun and educational morning of chess games and classes on a giant board - led by British Champion Grandmaster Gawain Jones.
The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales shakes hands with British Champion Gawain Jones
Spurred by celebrity advocates such as Jay Z, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jude Law, Lily Cole and even fashion brand Prada, who used chess within their autumn/winter 2012 campaign, recent research has found the game to be played by over half a billion people worldwide. However, this popularity has most importantly been amplified by its proven educational benefits - encouraging greater one-on-one interaction and the ability to think strategically – hence why East Village, Newham BC and CSC are so determined to bring chess to the younger generations.
CSC’s ‘Newham Chess Project’ began in the London Borough of Newham in June 2010 when England women’s international Sabrina Chevannes began teaching at Ravenscroft Primary School. The innovative approach of teaching the game to an entire class in school time led to her work being featured on Breakfast Television.
As a result, 5 Newham schools and over 500 children have already enjoyed the arrival of chess into their classrooms, a programme of weekly chess lessons, and entry into national tournaments – such as the Delancey UK School’s Chess Challenge.
English GM Luke McShane enjoys the company of Stephanie Harmon and Kim Addison
The additional support from East Village will allow CSC and Newham Council to extend this innovative programme to a further 10 schools, reaching thousands more children across the local area participating schools are:
Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “Chess is a great way for our young people to build their confidence, concentration and problem-solving skills. I hope as many children as possible take up the opportunity to play this wonderful game. This is a great example of how Newham Council works with other organisations to innovate. Every child in Newham matters and they should have the same chances as youngsters in wealthier parts of the country.”
As well as promoting chess in schools, the partnership will develop chess clubs and lessons in libraries, look at hosting a chess festival and provide giant chess sets in the borough’s parks if there is a significant take up of the scheme.
Photos by Ray Morris-Hill.