Friday 29 April 2016

Return of the Mentor

Caitlin Anderson was back to her chess mentoring ways today when she once again gave up part of her afternoon to help with the Westgarth Primary School Y4s.

Last time, Caitlin challenged the classes to a game of Maharajah Chess.

This time, Caitlin helped to deliver a lesson on chess tactics, with the focus on the pin.

Caitlin set up examples of the pin on the demonstration board, took questions from the class and explained the main tactical ideas in each position.

Caitlin then very kindly agreed to perform a simultaneous display, in which she played four players at the same time on separate boards!
Even strong senior players can find simultaneous displays difficult. It is not easy to concentrate on four games at once and have to play one's moves more or less instantly while pacing up and down across the boards.

Nevertheless, Caitlin eventually won all four games! A remarkable achievement, especially considering this was her very first simultaneous display.

Hopefully, Caitlin will be able to visit the Y4s again before the end of the term. What will she have in store for her pupils next time, I wonder?

Thursday 28 April 2016

6th CSC Teesside Team Tournament

Brambles Primary Academy hosted the 6th CSC Teesside Team Tournament today.

15 teams (of four players) were in action for the duration of the afternoon as they battled it out over two tough rounds of chess on the Jamboree format. This is easily the most teams we have ever had in this particular event.

Some schools were playing in their first-ever tournament. ALL players did their schools proud.

Ings Farm and Sacred Heart shared the lead after the first round, with perfect scores, but Sacred Heart scored heavily in the second round too to dramatically take the title.


1st: Sacred Heart 7 points

= 2nd: Ings Farm, Whale Hill, Throston all 6 points

5.5: Hemlington Hall

5: Eskdale Academy

4: Billingham South, Mill lane

3: Park End, Dormanstown, Brambles A

2.5: Brambles C, Pennyman

2: The Avenue

1.5: Brambles B

All teams received certificates. 

Sacred Heart received an extra certificate to commemorate their first place plus medals and the trophy which they will be keen to defend in 2017.

Many thanks to Mr Mayle and the rest of the Brambles staff for hosting the event in such exemplary fashion.

Thanks also to all of the staff and children from every school who gave up their time to support the event.

The triumphant Sacred Heart squad with manager (and long-term supporter of CSC activities) Miss Trotter.

What a great day!

Roll of Honour

2011: Ings Farm & Throston
2012: Ings Farm & Bilingham South
2013: Throston
2014: Errington
2015: Throston
2016: Sacred Heart

2017: ??

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Barclaycard Training Day

The first Teesside Barclaycard Training Day of 2016 took place today at Barclaycard House.

Tereza Pribanova, CSC National Coordinator for the Yes2Chess project, travelled down from London to make her first-ever visit to Teesside - to be met by....snow!

Weird weather aside, it was soon business as usual as we spent the day training new volunteers to work in our schools and providing a refresher course for last year's volunteers. 
The Ultimate Checkmate Challenge featured a lone king against an entire army of white pieces. Who can checkmate fastest...?

 Then it was down to solving some serious checkmate problems.
Mini-games are excellent for teaching newcomers to the world of chess. Here we see games of pawns vs. pawns in action.

White, to play (and going from left to right), can force a decisive breakthrough. Can you see it?

We went on to investigate most of the rest of the pieces, including the powerful queen.

Of course, any talk about the queen is incomplete without a little role-play.

According to Shakespeare, ''Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.'' The queens here don't look particularly uneasy. They must have strong Will power.

Bishop vs. three pawns is another valuable mini-game. Here we see David Mohan, the new Teesside Barclaycard chess organiser, making an early capture of a vital pawn.
The volunteers are ready! Watch out, schools!

Sunday 24 April 2016

From the Archive (11)

Another one from the archive, this time from the fairly recent past.

It's from the Yarm Team Championship of 2011. 

Lots of players; lots of fun!

Wednesday 20 April 2016

The Return of the Barclaycard Volunteers

Today saw a welcome return to action by the Barclaycard chess volunteers, who boldly give up their time to come into our schools and assist with our chess curriculum sessions.

Mr McCabe was the first volunteer of 2016 and he had a very good morning working with the Y3s at Sacred Heart Primary.

 Mr McCabe helped the children with their workbooks...

 ...and then accepted challenges from the children to games of chess.

 The games had their tough moments but Mr McCabe always emerged victorious.

The experience was repeated with our second class of Y3s.

Mr McCabe remained unbeaten!

The children are looking forward to working with Mr McCabe again later in the term and to meeting new volunteers over the course of the next few weeks.

Monday 18 April 2016

First Class Staff

The communications officer downstairs at Marsh Towers always alerts me when we receive more entries for the forthcoming Teesside Megafinal.

''Yes, sir! We received four more today!'' he told me, after I arrived home from school today. And we are still a couple of weeks away from the closing date! Looking good...

Friday 15 April 2016

The Mentor and the Maharajah

We had a wonderful afternoon of chess at Westgarth Primary School today.

Caitlin Anderson very kindly gave up her afternoon of Y6 activities to come along to help out at my two Y4 chess curriculum sessions.

Caitlin, a reigning Teesside junior champion and captain of December’s CSC Teesside London expedition, arrived in the classroom to a warm round of applause and immediately entered into a special challenge match against the first class of children.

Maharajah Chess features an entire white army against one black queen. However, the black queen has a special power - it can move like a knight in addition to its normal moves. White has to capture the Maharajah Queen; Black has to capture the white king or place it in checkmate.

Caitlin was in charge of the Maharajah Queen and the class of Y4s commanded the white pieces as a team.

It was a close game but Caitlin emerged victorious.

Caitlin then went around the class to help the children with their CSC chess workbooks...

 ...before we put away the books and asked the players to split into twos for a game of chess. Caitlin immediately found herself surrounded by challengers!

Then it was all-change as went into the second Y4 classroom. Caitlin once again played against the whole class...

 ...and once again, she won.

The battles for and against the Maharajah Queen continued until the end of the session - this time on a one-to-one basis.

Well done, Caitlin! We are hoping to repeat the experience later in the term.