Sunday 28 January 2018

London Classic Expedition Reunion

Photo © Mike Sturman
It was a real pleasure to reunite with the children and parents of our London Chess Classic Expeditionary Force this evening.

Details of our London chess exploits can be found here but tonight it was all about bowling, pizzas and lots of fun.

We started of in Hollywood Bowl, where the challenge was for the adults to beat the scores of the juniors. Naturally, we didn't point out to the juniors that we had six people and they had only five.

Adults vs...
...the Teesside juniors who rocked London back in December.

Well, sorry juniors, but the combined scores of the adults was higher than yours. And you had bumpers!

Bowling concluded, we then headed off to Pizza Express to see if they had remembered our booking. They hadn't, but it would have taken a brave person to deny us access to 11 chairs and a suitable number of tables.

Of course, all our juniors wanted to do was play chess.

Meanwhile, Alice found herself having to practice the art of defying gravity when the trophy we won in London suddenly - and mysteriously - started to fall apart.

While some of us were fixing the trophy, the juniors were proving themselves to be true chess players as they spotted the forks.

Who says all chess players need glasses?

More chess...

It was a shade on the dark side in Pizza Express but look carefully and it should be possible to spot all 11 people.

A clearer shot, © Mike Sturman
More chess...and by this time the parents were joining in too.

Even towards the end of the evening, as some juniors were getting their just desserts, others were still playing chess. Well, that's food for thought, I suppose.

There are times when I can have my cake and eat it! Photo © Mike Sturman
Thank you everyone for a very memorable evening! We must do it all again some time very soon.

Thursday 25 January 2018

UKCC - All Systems Go

It's all systems go here on Teesside as this week we started the Delancey UK Chess Challenge in all of our chess schools.

All of our pupils - from Year 2s to Year 6s - will now go through seven rounds of tough tournament action as they battle away against each other to try and become the champions of their class. 

Some will even qualify for the Teesside Megafinal and perhaps will go all the way to Manchester Gigafinal. Can anyone from Teesside make it to the Terafinal (the final phase of the event) this year...!?

This is the 23rd UK Chess Challenge, which is recognised as the world's largest chess competition. 40,000 children participated last year.

If your school has yet to enter the competition there is still time to do so, but head over to the official website without delay or risk missing out on this fantastic opportunity.

Saturday 20 January 2018

CSC at the Gateshead Education Conference

Yesterday, together with Tyneside's Regional Organiser Tim Wall, I attended the Gateshead Education Conference at the Dryden Centre.

There were approximately 90 delegates at the conference and we infiltrated their ranks and tables in a bold attempt to introduce them to the undeniable delights the CSC has to offer.

The conference was very well organised by Susan Burn and her team. The facilities were excellent and one of the CSC team on duty there was already speculating about the venue's suitability for a junior chess event.

It is hoped that some of the delegates will be able to attend our forthcoming CSC Newcastle Training Day and, if not, then perhaps to catch one of the other dates on our extensive tour.

Monday 15 January 2018

2017-8 CSC Training Day Tour - New Dates Announced

Just in case you think we are getting lazy, we have just arranged and announced three more dates for the 2017-8 CSC Training Day Tour.

Details can be found here.

Mark your diaries; bookings will open soon.

Sunday 14 January 2018

30 Years on 64 Squares

Bookings are now OPEN for this special Project 30 event at Stockton Central Library.

It would be wonderful to see some of this blog's followers there on the night.

Places are free but booking is still essential because the places are limited.

If you can make it then please come along and help me celebrate 30 years of teaching chess in schools.

Oh yes, and stay tuned for more Project 30 announcements in the near future!

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Third Library

Yes, let's have some more chess!

Thornaby Central Library will be starting their sessions very soon.

They will become our third chess library, after Stockton Central and Middlesbrough Central.

The person in charge will be Cleveland Chess Association Chairperson Brian Whitaker, who is also a long-standing member of Thornaby Chess Club.

Monday 8 January 2018

Chess in Stockton-on-Tees

The opportunities to play chess just keep on coming.

Here are three options in Stockton-on-Tees.

Note: The Sean mentioned here is Sean Cassidy.

Sunday 7 January 2018

Billingham Synthonia Junior Chess Club

The Billingham Synthonia Chess Club now has a special junior section, details of which can be found in the picture.

Here are some club rules, quoted from the Billingham Synthonia Chess Club Facebook page:

''Some rules!

1. All parents must accompany and stay at the Chess Club, at all times!

2. Chess Boards must be reset after play.

3. All Players must shake hands before any Chess game starts and shake hands at the end of play

4. No name calling of any player. No matter how badly they have lost their game. We all make bad mistakes while playing. A simple, “Thank you for the game”, is much better.

5. Always be helpful by saying, “Can I show you where you went wrong”. As your opponent might just learn something from you.

Billingham Synthonia Chess Club have decided to run this Junior Chess Club after a lot of people asked if we had one. So here it is! We want to see what response we will get from Billingham and see if this will take off as a regular part of the Chess Club.

Learning to play Chess is like learning how to read. A little bit at a time! So, all are welcome to come and learn, children and adults. You just might find a new hobby playing Chess.''

A full list of Cleveland Chess Association clubs can be found here.

Saturday 6 January 2018

Just the Ticket

It has been a very busy time since our first two chess libraries launched their sessions back in August 2017.

Today I caught up with everyone at Middlesbrough and Stockton to see how things were going...

First up was Middlesbrough Central Library, where the sessions are run by David Smith and his trusty deputy, Paul Weightman.

There were some great games going on while I was there, including this one (Alice 1, Her Dad 0).

I took on the challenge of playing a simultaneous display against the club members.

You can probably tell from my expression that I was in a little bit of trouble against Alfie! He managed to create a very dangerous passed pawn that I had to monitor very closely. This ended up as the last game to finish after a rare mistake by Alfie allowed me turn the tables and reach a winning endgame.

David then demonstrated a devious puzzle, which brought some very good analysis from the students.

In play against Alice, who was, of course, one of the stars of the show at the recent London Chess Classic.

Following a very enjoyable morning, it was soon time to head off for the afternoon session at Stockton Central Library.

It would have been perfectly natural to see a reduced turnout at Stockton due to a clash with the Middlesbrough vs. Sunderland FA Cup match that was being played at exactly the same and also because the schools don't return until Monday, meaning most people would still be on holiday mode.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised to see 32(!) chess students in action.

A packed room!

 Sean Cassidy in full teaching flow.

Brian Whitaker will be the man in charge of the forthcoming sessions at Thornaby Central Library.

I don't need to add many more comments to this report. Just take a look at the photographs and judge for yourselves if you think people were enjoying themselves or not.

Harry Potter chess! That reminds me; don't forget our forthcoming Harry Potter evening.

This photo sums up the all-inclusive nature of chess. Alan Stockley (right) is Sean Cassidy's deputy and without giving too much away the age difference between these two opponents is a staggering 79 years.

The combined efforts of many people have made this project a big success and once we have the Thornaby sessions up and running we will look to expand yet again.

It is not enough to look at certain aspects of the world and then shrug your shoulders and add to the negativity and apathy. NO. There are plenty of people creating and supporting things - and not just in the world of chess. Ignore the negative side of life and join our positive revolution.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Library Update

The sessions at Middlesbrough Central Library and Stockton Central Library both resume this Saturday (6 January).

Timings etc can be found here.

*Special announcement*: Thornaby Central Library will become our third chess library and sessions will start in February.

Brian Whitaker - Chairperson of the Cleveland Chess Association and stalwart of Thornaby Chess Club - will be in charge of the sessions, which will be supported by Chess in Schools and Communities.

Further details to follow...