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Newham's chess youngsters make all the right moves

8 April 2014 in Education and Mayor and Young people
Mayor Sir Robin Wales joined more than 160 children from 13 schools across the borough to launch the Newham Primary Schools’ Team Chess Tournament at the Old Town Hall in Stratford.
Newham's chess youngsters make all the right moves
The tournament was arranged as part of Newham Council’s partnership with the Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) programme. For many of the under-11s taking part it was their first event.

The Mayor made the first ceremonial move of the tournament and told youngsters about his involvement in his school chess team. Young players Yola Stephenson, seven, from Canning Town’s Ravenscroft School, and Samuel Gulipilli, ten, from St Winefride's School in Manor Park, showed him a few moves.

Sir Robin said: “Chess is another skill that young people can learn. It improves their concentration and we believe it improves their cognitive skills. Giving children opportunities to find the things they enjoy builds their resilience, and that’s what we’re about.”

Ravenscroft School shared first place with St Joachim's from Custom House. Other schools involved were Calverton, Ellen Wilkinson, Carpenters, Dersingham, Godwin, Gallions, Hartley, Lathom, St Winefride's, Vicarage and West Ham Church Primary School.

CSC now teaches chess in 23 schools in Newham. More than 4,000 pupils have been involved with the project since it started a year ago. There is a successful chess club at Stratford Library which attracts players of all ages and another is soon to start at East Ham Library.

The council-supported programme has also seen the formation of a 20-strong Newham under-11 chess team, which entered the English Primary Schools Chess Association competition. It also runs regular training courses at Stratford Library on teaching chess. Many of the attendees have gone on to become successful tutors.

Malcolm Pein, director of CSC, said: “The sheer number of children playing chess today is a testament to the work being done in schools, which has been supported by the council.”