Wednesday 31 October 2018

ChessPlus: London Chess Conference

December will bring the 10th London Chess Classic, one of the most important and exciting events on the chess calendar.

More blogs about the Classic will follow soon, but today we focus on the 6th edition of the London Chess Conference, which will be on the weekend of 8-9 Decemember and organised by ChessPlus.

The venue this year will be the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith, which is a new one for the conference but a very familiar one for me, as I have delivered several CSC training days there and have always found the staff and facilities perfect.

Theme: The Future of Chess in Education

'Welcome to the sixth edition of the annual London Chess Conference. The theme this year is the future of chess in education. The question arises because there are many developments in the world of chess and also many challenges facing our education systems. In the UK, the head of the schools inspection body, OFSTED, recently announced that they would switch their attention from looking at how children perform in exams to looking at how they learn in the classroom. The new idea, “quality of education”, is a reversion to a time before league tables forced schools to narrow the range of education. The likely consequence of the revived approach is that schools should make time for arts, music, sports and, we may hope, activities such as chess.

A strong argument for chess in schools is that it prepares children for the digital future. Chess is about the manipulation of abstract ideas – the raw material of the digital age. Citizens need to be able to navigate a range of logic-rich scenarios. For example, using a mobile phone or an iPad involves appreciating that there is a logical sequence to performing any task. The chess playing child goes deep into the logical relationship between the elements. At its essence, chess becomes a series of if-then conditions. If you move your bishop, then I will checkmate you. Once you begin to think in this structured way, you can overcome a wider range of problems that one meets in everyday life. Conference speakers will explain how schools will be using chess to develop not only intellectual but also social skills which are vital for future citizens.'

I have been involved in previous conferences - as both chair and presenter - but this time my status has been elevated to that of one of the main team:

Conference Director: John Foley

Conference Deputy Director: Sean Marsh

Programme Director: Stefan Löffler

The conference is sponsored and supported by the following:

Further details, including the online enrolment facility, can be found on the official conference website.

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