Monday 23 January 2017


All branches of the local press may have completely ignored my press release on our historic London Chess Classic expedition, but Whale Hill Primary School did us proud with a big spread on page one of their January newsletter.

It is too easy to believe nothing positive ever happens on Teesside but we shall continue raising awareness and highlighting our magnificent ambassadors to combat lazy negativity and to celebrate the excellent achievements of our Teesside stars.

Sunday 22 January 2017


I don't need to wear a watch at school. I just carry this around with me all day.

Friday 20 January 2017

The Full Groucho

While preparing children for their first ever chess tournament, I stress the importance of keeping a straight face so opponents cannot read one's thoughts.

The legendary Straight Face Challenge is usually an easy victory for me. (For some reason, merely looking at my face makes people laugh.)

However, Naomi not only passed the initial test with flying colours but also survived what we call The Full Groucho without losing her composure.

Congratulations, Naomi! This was undoubtedly the best performance ever seen in the Straight Face Challenge.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Monday 16 January 2017


Boxes of goodies have started arriving at our schools for the UK Chess Challenge.

If all of our children play as well as my two classes of Brambles did this morning then it is going to be an excellent year.

Saturday 14 January 2017

First Check

You are White. Black is not allowed to move. You can give check to the Black king (not checkmate) in three moves. In how many different ways can it be done?

Thursday 12 January 2017

New Book

My good friend and CSC colleague David Hardy announced today the publication of his chess book.

I am just about to order a copy and suggest you consider doing so too.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Checkmate Practice

You are White in both positions.

Can you checkmate Black in a single move?

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Back to School!

Back to school!

The term has started very well indeed.

I was delighted to be able to visit two of my old schools this week, namely Mill Lane and The Avenue. The chess tutors there are now Dave Edmunds and Richard Harris respectively, but in a new initiative for 2017 I am set on visiting - at least once - all of the schools I don't usually get to see.

As a special bonus I was able to spend all of this morning working with my Avenue classes from last year. They all worked incredibly hard and I didn't want to stop!