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Kid Kasparovs from Newham watch grandmasters duel at World Chess Championship

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 November 2018

Gallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao Bhokanandh

Gallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao Bhokanandh

Tao Bhokanandh

Rookie players from Newham have visited the World Chess Championship to see the globe’s best players in action.

Gallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao BhokanandhGallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao Bhokanandh

Three pupils from Gallions Primary School watched grandmasters Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion, and challenger Fabiano Caruana pit their wits against each other in a ‘best of 12 games’ battle in Holborn. Their Round 4 match was a stalemate, leaving them tied at two points each.

The trio toured the venue and enjoyed a special chess workshop breaking down the previous day’s game as part of Tuesday’s visit, arranged by educational charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC).

They also met Judit Polgar, considered the strongest female chess player of all time.

“Seeing the world’s greatest players compete was a wonderful experience for some of our most enthusiastic chess players,” said headteacher Shazia Hussain.

Gallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao BhokanandhGallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao Bhokanandh

She credited the charity for the children’s “love for chess” through classes scheduled into the curriculum: “I am very pleased to see the positive impact of this, not just in chess, but also in other areas of the curriculum and their wider school experience.”

The kid Kasparovs at the Oxleas, Beckton school were Year 6 pupil Hal Urwin and Armands Linins, who is in Year 5. Alongside schoolmate Mark Hodovanets, a Year 6 pupil who won Gallions’ chess championship last year, the pair have represented the borough tying their opponents’ knights in knots.

Also in attendance was 12-year-old Aayan Ismail, who took part in his first competitive chess match last season, going on to win the Newham Junior Grand Prix.

They left with arms stuffed with chess puzzles given as gifts.

Gallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao BhokanandhGallions Primary School pupils at the World Chess Championship. Picture: Tao Bhokanandh

CSC chief executive Malcolm Pein said the mind sport has many benefits to young players.

“Chess is a low-cost intervention that digitally detoxes children; teaching concentration, problem solving, how to plan, to recognise patterns and a host of softer skills which provide some of the building blocks for employability in the new economy,” he said.

“As a universal game with no barriers of sex, language, culture or disability it socialises a classroom and boosts children’s self-esteem.”

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