Thursday 30 March 2017


We have spent some time this week giving out chess badges, fluffy mascots, trophies and other prizes as our UK Chess Challenge tournaments are coming to an end.

The mascots come in a whole range of animals: cats, sheep, penguins, caterpillars, tigers and others.

One boy spent a long time trying to choose one and ended up bemoaning the fact he couldn't find a sloth!

I must alert the organisers to this surprising omission from the range.

Meanwhile, we now have 41 entries for the Teesside Megafinal as we head rapidly to our capacity of 150.

Don't leave it too late to enter!

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Teesside Megafinal: One Fifth Full

Despite only being 'open for business' for a week or so, we already have 30 entries for the Teesside Megafinal.

Entries will cut off when we reach 150.

I would advise all qualifiers to enter as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

Don't forget, players from Secondary Schools no longer need to qualify but can enter directly.

Sunday 26 March 2017

CSC Teesside Training Day

The CSC Teesside Training Day is now open for bookings.

Our training days are an important part of the school year, enabling us to strengthen the roots of chess in our schools by helping teachers and TAs to understand more about our mission and the ways in which we teach chess. They are especially useful for schools thinking about coming on board for the new school year.

This Introductory Chess Course will take place on Wednesday 21 June, 201.

Venue: Farndale Suite, CLC Building, Acklam Grange School, Lodore Grove, Middlesbrough, TS5 8PB

Time: 10.00 - 16.00.

Please enrol here:

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Training Day Tour

Our CSC Training Day Tour will soon be upon us.

Online registration is now open for the courses in Newcastle (27 April):


...and Leeds (24 May):


Online registration for the Teesside day (21 June) will be going 'live' very soon.

CSC courses are aimed at teachers, teaching assistants, parents and anyone involved in school chess.

No teaching or chess playing experience is required to attend.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Delancey UK Chess Challenge Megafinals: Online Entry Now *Live*

The online entry facility for the UK Chess Challenge Megafinals is now open for business.

Click here: Megafinal Entry

Children in Primary Schools must qualify through their school tournament (our Teesside schools have either just finished or are about to finish their events). Qualifiers will receive a Golden Ticket from their schools.

If anyone missed out on qualifying through their own school or is at school that does not run the UK Chess Challenge they can still try and enter through one of the Last Chance Saloons, details of which can be found here.

Children in Secondary Schools do not need to qualify (an innovation this year).

In all cases please follow the links and read the instructions carefully.

Places at the Teesside Megafinal are limited to 150.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

CSC Training Courses: Newcastle and Leeds

The online enrolment facility for our training courses in both Newcastle and Leeds is now open.

The facility to enrol for the Teesside course will be up next.

Please click here for the full details.

Monday 13 March 2017


Schools continue to feel a tough financial squeeze and many are forced to cut away more and more enrichment activities from their schedules.

Some of our schools are now faced with deficits of £80,000 upwards for the year ahead and are forced to pay into schemes from which they will never derive any benefit whatsoever.

Quite frankly I have never seen schools suffer such cutbacks in almost three decades.

Any individuals or businesses coming forward to help would receive plenty of publicity plus the possibility of enrichment chess sessions in their own workplace.

We are currently teaching weekly in 17 Teesside schools and are also supporting other schools on a more occasional basis. Yet the enforced cutbacks will mean we will lose some of our schools for 2017-8.

If there are any individuals or businesses out there who would like to become involved with CSC Teesside to help schools (financially) to continue their very valuable chess lessons and activities then please get in touch with me directly (a private message via our Facebook page is the easiest route). Genuine enquiries only, please.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Chess Parents in Action!

Last year Park End Primary School invited me to run a special series of Training Days for the staff.

This year we have started reaching out to the parents of the children who currently enjoy CSC curriculum sessions at the school.

The first - very brave! - set of parents were understandably a little nervous to start with. However, barriers and nerves were conquered during the very first round of pawn mini-games.

A mug of tea and a game of chess. What more could one possibly want...? 

Chess is a very serious game, of course.
I was not short of volunteers when it came to moving around the room like chess pieces.

The start of the Bishop's remarkable journey...
...and the conclusion to the diagonal-only perambulation. 
A helping hand.
A volunteer Rook, keeping on the straight and narrow.
'You should have worn my Fitbit for me while you did that', remarked one impressed observer.
Another helping hand.
The brave parents are eager for more!

The brave parents are now very keen to attend more sessions and are almost ready to challenge their children!

Thank you everyone, it was a very memorable afternoon.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

CSC Training Days Tour 2017

CSC courses are aimed at teachers, teaching assistants, parents and anyone involved in school chess. No teaching or chess playing experience is required to attend.

We have a tour of Training Days coming up very soon.

Thursday 27th April: Newcastle

Thursday 4th May: Cardiff

Wednesday 24th May: Leeds

Wednesday 21st June: Teesside

Thursday 6th July: London

For further information - and reports on previous events - please please stay tuned to this page and also head for the Training Day page.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Cognitive and Academic Skills

My good friend and colleague John Foley has just published a paper on The Effects of Chess Instruction on Pupils' Cognitive and Academic Skills: State of the Art and Theoretical Challenges.

The paper in question can be found here.

Monday 6 March 2017

UK Chess Challenge: Last Chance Saloons

Further to yesterday's update on the UK Chess Challenge, readers may like to know about the Last Chance Saloons.

These events are for anyone seeking an opportunity to qualify for the Megafinal stage, whether they missed the magic tally of 17 points in their own school or even if their school did not run the UKCC this year.

To see the list of currently available Last Chance Saloons, please head for this page of the UKCC forum. More dates will be added in due course.

Sunday 5 March 2017

UK Chess Challenge: Important Dates

As the initial phase of the 2017 UK Chess Challenge draws to a close, we can now look ahead to the stages featuring the Megafinal and beyond.

Teesside qualifiers will play at the Megafinal at Yarm Senior School on Saturday 6 May. We will be at the prestigious Princess Alexandra Auditorium.

Places are strictly limited, so when online entries go 'live' it is best to sign up as soon as possible. We cannot exceed our capacity of 150. No entries will be allowed on the day.

The relevant member of staff in each school has already been sent the special code required to enter the Teesside Megafinal. They will now liaise with the school chess tutor to ensure all Megafinal qualifiers receive the code.

In a new initiative designed to boost the number of Secondary School children in chess action, anyone from such a school can enter the Megafinal without having played in a qualifying tournament. They still need to enter online, of course. Primary School children still need to qualify through their school or club tournament.

The Gigafinal stage will be at the Wright Robinson College (Manchester; the same venue as in previous years) on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July 2017.

The Terafinal stage - the big finale! - will be on 12 and 13 August.

Further updates will follow.

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Year 1

This morning, before seeing my two regular classes of Year 3s, I had a bonus session at Sacred Heart featuring...a big class of Year 1s!

Bearing in mind most of them are only aged five I expected they might last about half an hour.

However, after a full hour they were all still fully engaged and very eager for more. I believe we could easily have gone on all day.

Nothing seemed beyond them. They coped with words such as 'coordinates' and knew the eight times table well enough to work out the correct number of squares on the chessboard.

I wonder just how good they will be when I work with them properly as Year 3s in two years' time!