Yes2Chess: team finals in London

by Frederic Friedel
7/8/2014 – It is one of the most inspiring events we have attended in years: eight teams of elementary schoolchildren from eight different countries, who qualified in a massive Playchess tournament, are now in London for a face-to-face showdown. The hosts, Barclaycard, have put in a tremendous effort to make it a memorable stay for the visitors, all of who are now sure to say Yes2Chess. More...

Yes2Chess is an Internet Chess Community for primary/elementary schoolchildren, which offers pupils the opportunity to play chess online with children from other countries and also to compete in a tournament. This innovative event saw the participation of primary/elementary schools from eight countries: UK, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and the USA. The qualifications took place in a moderated area on Playchess.com, and the grand prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to London for the finals, which take place on Tuesday.

The winning teams from eight countries collected in the Cumberland Hotel in London

The finals, organised by the charity Chess in Schools and Communities and supported by Barclaycard get under way tomorrow in Hyde Park. Over 20,000 children have taken part in face to face and online tournaments in eight countries and the winners from USA, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have been flown to London.

On Sunday the 40 participants, five from each country, took on British Champion GM David Howell in a simultaneous exhibition.

The British Champion had a rough time, conceding two losses and three draws

David confessed that he woke up that night from a dream in which he had lost all the
games and all the children were dancing around in glee at their victory

On Monday they had a tour of London, which included Westminster Abbey...

... a more or less well-known London clock tower ...

... and the British Houses of Parliament, on the outside

... and the inside.

The event was hosted by Yasmin Qureshi MP (left), with MPs Maria Eagle and David Mowat dropping in

After a much enjoyed buffet meal the chess kids had a chance to see...

... a game between their host, Barclaycard CEO David Chan ...

... and Grandmaster David Howell, who played blindfolded

Many of the kids had never see a blindfold game before and found it enthralling. Some tried it themselves on the bus ride back home that evening, calling out moves to David and managing to last ten or twelve moves, much to their own suprise (and delight).

After the Howell-Chan game David played a clock simul against all the teams (with consulting allowed)

The excitement and tension – and pure joy of the players has to be seen to be believed

In the end David had conceded one draw – against the German team from Hamburg,
who had successfully defended a difficult rook and bishop vs rook endgame.

After the Parliament visit a tube ride on the London underground to...

... Canary Wharf and the 156 m tall skyscraper which is the headquarters of Barclays Bank.

The view from the 31st storey is truly breathtaking...

... as were the sweets and cakes at the Mad Hatters Tea Party that Barclay hosted

Here too chess was omnipresent, with informal games played high above the river

Photos by Frederic Friedel and Lucy Wren (Barclay)

On Tuesday there will be the matches between the eight teams, a live chess display in Hyde Park, and a viewing of the Lion King. More reports will follow, we promise you.

Visit the Barclaycard Yes2Chess web site

Editor-in-Chief of the ChessBase News Page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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Philip Feeley Philip Feeley 7/8/2014 05:11
I hope you have some of the games from the simuls and the final.

Thanks for the report.
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