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New council scheme hopes to get Newham’s youth playing chess

Ravenscroft Primary schoolchildren attend the launch of The Newham Chess Project at Stratford Library. Ravenscroft Primary schoolchildren attend the launch of The Newham Chess Project at Stratford Library.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
11:15 AM

Brainy youngsters took on a chess Grandmaster yesterday to promote a new scheme introducing the ancient game to primary schools and libraries.

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Newham Major Sir Robin Wales with  Ravenscroft schoolchildren in the launch of The Newham Chess Project at Stratford Library.Newham Major Sir Robin Wales with Ravenscroft schoolchildren in the launch of The Newham Chess Project at Stratford Library.

During the launch at Stratford Library, the cunning pupils of Ravenscroft Primary School teamed up with Newham’s Mayor to take on British Champion Gawain Jones on a giant interactive chess board, allowing the match to end in an honourable stalemate.

The new project developed by Newham Council, charity Chess in Schools and Communities, and East Village, the first Olympic Park neighbourhood, will set up chess clubs and lessons in libraries and hopes to establish a borough team, a chess festival, and giant chess sets in parks.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “I want to see children playing chess in our schools, in our libraries and in our parks. Our Every Child programme already includes music, reading, sports, going to the theatre and now chess.

“Every child in Newham matters and we are determined they should have the same chances as youngsters in wealthier parts of the country.

Ravenscroft Primary schoolchildren attend the launch of The Newham Chess Project at Stratford Library.Ravenscroft Primary schoolchildren attend the launch of The Newham Chess Project at Stratford Library.

“We want chess to help improve academic attainment as well as helping young people to build their confidence, concentration, problem-solving skills and sense of fair play.”

The first schools to introduce chess lessons are Brampton, Calverton, Colegrave, Dersingham. Keir Hardie, Lathom, Ravenscroft, Selwyn, Sheringham, St Antony’s, St Stephen’s, Tollgate, Upton Cross and William Davies - but the Mayor hopes to roll the scheme out to all 64 of Newham’s primaries.

Newham’s first chess club will begin at Stratford Library in The Grove on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

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