Having started 2020 is fine style with a very successful training day in Hull, there was only a short time back on Teesside before my tour resumed.
Regular readers may recall our particularly ambitious expedition to deliver a training day on the Isle of Arran back in 2018 and this new venture to Isle of Man brought back many memories of that fine day.
Five schools on the Isle of Man already enjoy regular chess sessions. This training day was to help start phase two of the project, in order to help the setting up of regular chess lessons in five more schools. There are 32 state-run primary schools on the island and CSC will now be impacting on almost one third of them.
It had already been a busy week (tough, late chess match on Monday night; late gig on Tuesday night) and then I had a full day at school before immediately starting the journey from Teesside. Trains, a plane and a taxi were all utilised.
'What's in the tube, sir?'
'A chess board.'
'A chess board...!?!'
It was at that moment the man with gloves arrived and asked me step to one side...
|This week's near-collapse of Flybe was averted just in time to keep the expedition going|
|'A room with a view...'|
I met up with the island's new CSC tutor, Natasha, and we took time on the evening to discuss the day ahead over chips and rhubarb crème brûlée.
Time flew by and it was already Thursday when we checked the time...
Howard Dobson, the key man behind the whole plan of introducing chess into more primary schools on the Isle of Man, took us to the venue The Professional Development Centre (Santon Old School).
It was a very pleasant journey, giving us the first glimpse of the island in (almost) daylight.
|Santon Old School (we are 'old school' too)|
|Wherever we go, we will find tea|
|'We are here!'|
|Memories of a bygone age still echo from the walls|
|Howard making the opening remarks|
It was soon time to put the eight brave delegates to work. If they had been expecting a dry day of slides and note-taking they soon had to change their expectations, as before they knew it they were testing their thinking skills over a range of mini-games and other activities.
|The course of a game can often be determined by a glance at the demeanour of the players...|
|Natasha addressing her future chess colleagues|
|Howard, a no-nonsense person who knows how to get things done, |
was happy to present some of his favourite chess problems too.
All too soon it was time to leave the Isle of Man and start the journey back to Teesside. This turned out to be more complicated than it should have been, as a whole load of trains going North from Manchester were cancelled, leaving me to patch together an unlikely-looking last-chance four-train patchwork of a plan which only just worked and finally got me home a shade before 1.00 a.m. (almost time to get up for school the next day).
I want to return to the Isle of Man for more training days.
Thank you to Howard, Natasha, the excellent delegates and everyone else who helped to make the day such an enjoyable success. The new school sessions are starting very soon and I am sure Natasha will make them inspirational.
Meanwhile, the CSC Training Day Tour continues to expand and the forthcoming dates can be found here.