Chess comes to East Village London

3/14/2013 – The UK registered charity Chess in Schools and Communities has announced a project to deliver chess to all 64 primary schools in Newham and teach 20,000 children how to play the game. This was celebrated with an educational morning of chess in a library in East Village – and then with a glamorous launch party at Morton's Club in Mayfair. Take a look at who was there.

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Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC), a UK registered charity, and Newham Borough Council are working together with East Village in an innovative project to deliver chess to all 64 primary schools in Newham and teach 20,000 children to play the world's most enduring game. The 'Urban Chess' program was launched on 13th March, just two days ahead of the World Chess Candidates Tournament in London. East Village celebrated by welcoming local schools to Stratford Library for a fun and educational morning of chess games and classes on a giant board – led by British Champion Grandmaster Gawain Jones.

The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, with British Champion Gawain Jones...

... and poses with chess kids in Stratford Library (right: CSC director Malcolm Pein)

Spurred by celebrity advocates such as Jay Z, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jude Law, Lily Cole and even fashion brand Prada, who used chess within their autumn/winter 2012 campaign, recent research has found the game to be played by over half a billion people worldwide. However, this popularity has most importantly been amplified by its proven educational benefits - encouraging greater one-on-one interaction and the ability to think strategically – hence why East Village, Newham BC and CSC are so determined to bring chess to the younger generations.

CSC’s ‘Newham Chess Project’ began in the London Borough of Newham in June 2010 when England women’s international Sabrina Chevannes began teaching at Ravenscroft Primary School. The innovative approach of teaching the game to an entire class in school time led to her work being featured on Breakfast Television. As a result, five Newham schools and over 500 children have already enjoyed the arrival of chess into their classrooms, a programme of weekly chess lessons, and entry into national tournaments – such as the Delancey UK School’s Chess Challenge. The additional support from East Village will allow CSC and Newham Council to extend this innovative programme to a further 10 schools, reaching thousands more children across the local area.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “Chess is a great way for our young people to build their confidence, concentration and problem-solving skills. I hope as many children as possible take up the opportunity to play this wonderful game. This is a great example of how Newham Council works with other organisations to innovate. Every child in Newham matters and they should have the same chances as youngsters in wealthier parts of the country.”

As well as promoting chess in schools, the partnership will develop chess clubs and lessons in libraries, look at hosting a chess festival and provide giant chess sets in the borough’s parks if there is a significant take up of the scheme.

Morton's Club

In the evening a glamorous launch party was held at Morton's Club in Mayfair. Olympians Beth Tweddle and Dame Kelly Holmes (flanking GM Gawain Jones in the picture above), along with footballer Edgar Davids and a host of models and actors came to this exclusive event.

Gawain plays a blindfold game against CSC coach Robert Chandler...

... and against English actor, writer, producer and director Nick Moran,
who played Scabior in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Dutch professional footballer Edgar Davids plays for and coaches Barnet

The most serious game of the evening: against former candidate for the
World Championship Jonathan Speelman

"You have to gain space" – CSC director Malcolm Pein explains chess strategy to...

... singer Shingai Shoniwa of the UK indie rock band Noisettes

Laura Whitmore, Irish presenter on British television for MTV Europe

All pictures by Ray Morris-Hill

Chess in Schools and Communities

Chess in Schools and Communities is a charity established two years ago with the aim of introducing chess into primary schools, with particular emphasis on areas of economic disadvantage. The charity already delivers chess to over 180 schools in 35 boroughs across England and Wales, teaching chess as a classroom subject. Participating schools receive chess sets, software, training for teachers and 30 lessons per year from a CSC chess tutor. This innovative approach was recognised with an award from the Sports and Recreation Alliance.

East Village

Announced by Qatari Diar Delancey and Triathlon Homes, East Village will initially deliver 2,818 new homes (a mixture of private rental and affordable), to create a brand new E20 neighbourhood.

East Village will also be home to Chobham Academy – a world-class education campus for 1,800 3-19 year olds (and part of the prestigious Harris Federation), a state-of-the-art medical centre and over 30 independent cafes, shops and restaurants. It will combine the vibrancy of city living with the best of green, sustainable space – spanning over 27 hectares of land (the equivalent of St James’ Park) including landscaped gardens, park areas and courtyards.


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