Saturday 12 September 2020

CSC: 'Covid Secure Chess'

Nobody could have predicted how strangely my 32nd year of teaching chess in schools would end.

By the time the news of the potential worldwide spread of Covid-19 became a reality, we were already making plans to stop our school visits until the coast was clear.

Nearly six months later and the virus is still a major problem.

We have, however, been able to return to the art of delivering chess lessons in our schools, albeit via a variety of methods.

The loyalty of the 15 CSC Teesside schools who signed up for the year 2020-21 - prior to the spread of the virus - is impressive. They clearly value what we are doing. 

Every one of our schools still wants to be part of CSC Teesside for the year ahead and I am very grateful for their support, especially as they have so many other things to deal with at the moment.


A small number of our schools preferred to wait a little while longer before resuming their chess lessons but the majority wanted an instant return to action.

International Master Malcolm Pein, our Chief Executive, realised that CSC doesn't just mean 'Chess in Schools and Communities' but it can also stand for 'Covid Secure Chess.' Now there's serendipity for you.

It was so good to see the children enjoying the new chess lessons. They have been through a lot and even though people tend to underestimate the resilience of children none of them would have found it easy to get back into the school way of life after half a year away.

My halo is still intact

We are also delivering online lessons, an innovation made possible only by our extensive planning and training sessions which kept us busy throughout the Summer months.

I strongly suspect we will be delivering even more online sessions over the course of the next month out so.

I enjoyed catching up with our CSC Teesside tutors: Richard Harris, Dave Edmunds and Sean Cassidy. They had all been looking forward to the big return and, believe me, they are all on top form and teaching as well as anyone.

Only a fool would think the current emergency is drawing to a close.

I am under no illusions about the enormity of the challenges ahead. I do, however, believe we have prepared as well as we could to ensure that when we can deliver lessons the quality will be of the highest standard possible.

He had waited patiently for our return and we
 refreshed his knowledge of the bare bones.

We are determined to meet all of the challenges ahead with our famous Teesside positivity.

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