Mayor of Newham in international chess challenge

The Mayor of Sunrise, Mike Ryan, with the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales

The Mayor of Sunrise, Mike Ryan, with the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales - Credit: Andrew Baker

Two mayors, one game of chess, 4,400 miles apart.

Sir Robin Wales with primary school pupils who played against their American counterparts

Sir Robin Wales with primary school pupils who played against their American counterparts - Credit: Andrew Baker

Sir Robin Wales took on his counterpart from the American city of Sunrise, Florida, in a special online game to showcase the benefits chess has for education.

He pitted his wits against Mike Ryan in a match over Skype at the Gate Community Neighbourhood Centre.

Pupils from Park, Keir Hardie and Ravenscroft primary schools were also able to test their skills against young Americans.

Sir Robin said: “Chess is a fantastic way of developing children’s focus and discipline that can then translate into their school work.


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“I have never played chess against someone on the other side of the world before but events like this are a fun and great way of showcasing the benefits of the game.”

Supported by Chess in Schools and Communities, the game – which was declared a draw – was part of the Mayors’ Chess Challenge being run across Florida’s Broward County, which includes Sunrise.

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The initiative’s aims are the same as Newham Council’s Every Child a Chess Player – allowing children to develop concentration, logical thinking, numeracy and social skills through learning the board game.

Mr Ryan said: : “I was so impressed by shared dedication of the Mayor of Newham to promoting the academic and social benefits of chess and his willingness to participate in our initiative.

“Chess crosses all boundaries – on the board, everybody’s equal.”

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