In the video below, you can watch Giovanni Sala (University of Liverpool) discuss recent developments in academic research on using chess in children’s education.
The jury in our competition for the best original classroom chess exercise involving collaborative problem solving decided to award a shared first prize. The winners will share equally the cumulative prize fund for places 1-2, receiving EUR 400 each. Congratulations!
Full results and winning entries:
- Shared 1st-2nd: Alison Bexfield (“Partner chess”: download here) and Tim&Sarah Kett (“Knight’s tour snooker”: download here)
- 3rd: Jerry Nash (“A safe journey home”: download here)
- Special commendation: Jerome Maufras (“My kingdom for a horse”: download here)
- Special mention for an excellent entry but outside the scope of the competition rules: Mahwish Khan (“A scientific enquiry using chess”: download here)
Congratulations to the winners!
You can browse the programme below or download it HERE.
The Jury of the competition for the best classroom chess exercise have resolved to extend the deadline for submissions to 5pm London time on Thursday 8 December.
We appreciate that some who have already submitted entries may consider that they would have preferred to work on them longer had they known that the deadline would be extended. Anyone who wishes to amend their earlier submission is permitted to do so.
The prize fund of 1000 Euros is provided by the European Chess Union.
Plans are afoot to establish a National Mind Sports Centre where chess and Go and other strategy board games can be played. The project is a joint venture between the English Chess Federation and the British Go Association. It has long been desired to find a place to play league games and competitions and to hold gaming events. Teaching and training would be part of the mix to encourage the next generation into the boardgame realm.
The latest initiative arose from Go player T Mark Hall who left a substantial legacy for the establishment of a centre in London. He fondly remembered the place where he played go as a youngster and wanted others to revive the concept. We are all familiar with the problem of finding a space for community activities. Pubs and church halls serve the purpose but are not ideal.
The original National Chess Centre was in the John Lewis department store in Oxford Street. John Spedan Lewis was a devotee of the game. Unfortunately the Centre was bombed during WW2. After the war, a number of coffee houses, such as the Prompt Corner in Hampstead, open from 10-midnight, kept the spirit alive. It was popular with intellectuals such as George Orwell and European emigrés but eventually all these unique places disappeared.
A recent trend is the rise of board game cafés in which patrons pay a board fee and are expected to buy some drinks and maybe a meal. These are popular with young adults who are to be found socialising in fashionable places like DraughtsLondon in Shoreditch.
Chess and Go have traditionally been played in relative silence, certainly at the higher levels. This factor has made it more difficult to find suitable venues and to attract people to clubs. Bridge, being an inherently social game, does not suffer the same problem. The Casual Chess Club which is held daily in the BFI bar off Tottenham Court Road shows that playing chess in a bar with chatter and music in the background are not always incompatible. There is scope for more than one type of playing area within a venue.
The latest plan is to concentrate all the activities related to mind sports into one place and to combine flexible game playing spaces with in a cafe and a merchandising outlet. The revenues generated from the commercial activities will help to defray the cost of the game activities. Fundamental to this plan is the acquisition of a property which will cost at least £3 million. There are many issues to be resolved regarding funding options, corporate structure and charitable status.
Amanda Ross, who runs the Casual Chess Cafe, has been commissioned to conduct a feasibility study on the National Mind Sports Centre. She will outline her current thinking in a presentation at the London Chess Conference on Monday 12th December 2pm – 4pm. This session is open to all and does not require registration at the conference. Please come along if you would like to share your ideas and enthusiasm about how to achieve this laudable objective.
We are delighted to announce that there will be special showing of Magnus for those attending the London Chess Festival (including the Conference and the London Chess Classic). The film is being shown at the Bertha DocHouse, the home of documentary based inside the Curzon Bloomsbury. The film will be shown on Sunday 11th December at 8.30pm.
Magnus is a delightful documentary following the emergence of the greatest chess champion of modern times, Magnus Carlsen. Watch the TRAILER.
The film lasts one hour and 18 minutes. The adverts at the Bertha are short so you should be away by 10pm. Even if you know the story of Magnus (and who in the chess world does not) there are some new images and videos from Magnus’s childhood which are worth seeing.
The Bertha DocHouse has a bar on each level of the cinema; the one on the ground floor is a nice meeting area, comfy sofas etc. Travelling to the cinema by public transport from Olympia, go to Hammersmith (bus or walk) and then take the Piccadilly Line to Russell Square, the nearest tube stop.
To book tickets directly BOOK HERE (go to non-members on the left)
There is a concessionary rate available (£7 instead of £9) for advanced group bookings provided you email Agnieszka by Friday 9th December. The cinema only has 55 seats and may get full. You must go via Agnieska to get the concessionary rate – you cannot obtain this deal by booking direct.
We want to encourage the adoption of new teaching ideas that can be used in the classroom. Each year the conference promotes the development of chess education through a prize competition. The prospect of a reward may tempt you to submit an entry. The first prize is €500 with second and third prizes are €300 and €200 respectively, generously sponsored by the European Chess Union. The objective is to devise an original chess exercise involving collaborative problem solving. The competition is open to everyone.
We want exercises in which children must work together to solve a problem. There is no template or standard problem – it is up to your imagination. We are aware that many chess tutors already use group exercises with children. It may just be a matter of writing down what it is that you do. The answer is that it should be something that you have devised yourself or adapted from another format.
The exercise must involve children working together as a pair, a table or the whole class. It is essential that they interact with each other in solving the problem. It is necessary for the children to exchange information with each other about the problem.
So what type of problems are we looking for? We are completely open and flexible; there is no standard format. However, a standard chess problem (e.g. of the form “White to play and checkmate”) will not succeed if it means children work individually. There must be something about the problem so that the children must work together towards a wider objective.
Exercises will typically involve exploring and solving a structured problem where children organise themselves to conduct a number of tasks. Fruitful areas concern construction and decomposition tasks. In a construction task, the aim is to create an arrangement, for example, a chess position. Can the problem be decomposed into several parts? If so, then can the children work on these separately?
A route-finding example is the traditional knight’s tour which involves moving a knight around the board so that it covers all of the squares without landing on the same square twice. Solving the tour in practice requires placing counters on each square on which the knight lands. Several roles emerge: for example, moving the knight, pointing out the next square, placing the counter, counting the unoccupied squares at the end (the team with the fewest unoccupied squares is the winner). More advanced teams could be given several rules to test e.g. clockwise, edge-hugging etc. which can be worked on separately.
The deadline for submissions is Sunday 4 December 2016 at 5pm London time.
UPDATE: The Competition Jury have extended the deadline for submissions until 5pm London time on Thursday 8 December 2016.
We are pleased to publish the first draft of the Conference programme. A more detailed version and a list of speakers will be available soon.
Day 1: Saturday 10 December
9.30-10.30 Registration and Refreshments
10.30-10.45 Conference Opening
10.45-12.30 Plenary presentations
2.00-3.30 Parallel sessions
- (workshop) Chess Didactics I: Classroom skills
- (tutorial) Chess for children with special needs
- (workshop) Window on Mexico
- (workshop) Chess and primary school mathematics
4.00-5.00 Parallel sessions
- (workshop) Chess Didactics II: Scholastic chess in the classroom
- (tutorial) The gamification of education
- (workshop) Achieving variety in chess lessons
- (workshop) Telling stories to enrich chess instruction
5.00-6.00 Parallel sessions
- (table debates) World Café
- (workshop) IT resources for school chess: ECU views
- (tutorial) Teaching chess with the STEPS Method
Day 2: Sunday 11 December
9.00-9.30 Welcome and refreshments
9.30-10.45 Parallel sessions
- (workshop) Chess Didactics III: Mini-games
- (workshop) Teaching chess through media
- (workshop) Cognitive insights into chess improvement
- (workshop) Launching large scale chess education projects
11.00-12.30 Parallel sessions
- (workshop) Chess Didactics IV: Differentiation
- (workshop) How to improve motivation in chess
- (workshop) Personal tutoring
- (workshop) From school chess to junior chess
- (tutorial) Teaching Programmes
1.45-2.00 Plenary: ECU Prize Award
2.00-3.45 Parallel sessions
- (panel) Is there any proof that chess has educational benefits?
- (workshop) Chess organisational development?
- (tutorial) Chess as a part of the curriculum
- (presentations) Online learning systems
4.00-5.30 Parallel sessions
- (workshop) Chess teacher training: best practice
- (workshop) How to run a private chess teaching business
- (workshop) Teaching chess with other strategy games
- (workshop) Sources of funding for chess in schools
Day 3: Monday 12 December
9.00-9.30 Welcome and refreshments
9.30-12.30 Parallel sessions
- (panel) The professionalisation of chess teaching
- (panel) New research into the effectiveness of chess (by invitation)
- (meeting) European Chess Union Education Commission (by invitation)
2.00-3.30 Parallel sessions: optional extension meetings
3.30-4.00 Plenary: Summaries and conclusions
“Should chess instruction in schools differ from traditional chess instruction and, if so, how?” This question of great relevance to this year’s conference is considered by Dr Teresa Parr in a recent blog post. Highly recommended!