Chess in Schools and Communities

Year 5 and year 6 classes at Stoke Park School in Lockleaze have been learning how to play the ancient game of chess in school with CSC (Chess in Schools and Communities) for over a year now. Last term some lucky chess players went all the way to London to play in a competition against other schools. We saw some chess grandmasters like Wesley So, Veselin Topalov and more!

We have been having chess lessons with a great tutor called Paul who has been playing chess for years. Chess lessons at school are quite interesting because Paul teaches us things like how to check mate, stale mate, check and how the pieces move. When we first started, only 6 students knew how to play chess properly and now we all do – and we all know some cunning strategies that we can use to beat our opponents!

As we’ve been improving more and more and doing so well in local competitions, we thought that we were ready to test our skills on the rest of the country. We travelled to London by coach and were full of excitement and ready to compete! Whilst we were thinking about what moves to play in the tournament, we arrived in the impressive capital city. We waited impatiently to see what school we would be going up against first.

When we finally got to play we were told how the scoring worked. How it worked was: a win (which had to be by 4 points or by checkmate) = 3 points; a tie gave 2 points; a loss just 1 point. To make the entire tournament fair, we had to face people who had the same amount of points as we were on. The people working there would hold up a number which would match the amount of points that we had. The highest you could get was 15 since you had to play 5 matches altogether. Some people nearly got full marks, which was 15 points! When the prizes were handed out, our school sadly didn’t get any prizes but we had a brilliant experience and overall, it was a great day.

Many people made friends through the matches because sometimes you’d make a move and feel deeply sorry after it for certain ones (like taking a queen), and you would have a laugh when the game ended. We loved having fun with a crazy friendly match when all the pieces could move everywhere and it got insane. At one moment Ahmed had a game where he felt deep regret, ‘I almost felt like not doing a move that would end the game but I had to so I could get the win.’

This terrific trip inspired all of the children who participated and tried their best and we hope it will inspire more people to play chess as it’s such a great game where you really have to think. We were so lucky to be taught by an expert and everyone is very grateful. Without him and the belief of our teachers we would not have experienced this joyful trip. One of the students, Beth said that ‘this trip inspired me to play more chess as it was incredibly fun!’


Written my Ahmed, Ellie, Beth, Noah and Matthew