Checkmate! Pupils battle England International player

Thurlby Primary School chess club UGC
Thurlby Primary School chess club UGC

On Wednesday 29 April, fourteen Year 4 and 5 children from Thurlby Community Primary School’s Chess Club threw down a challenge to visitor Chris Fegan, Chief Operating Officer of the charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) – play fourteen v one!

As a member of England’s Seniors International chess team, Chris was happy to do battle.

The children sat around a table encircling him as he moved swiftly from one board to the next.

After Chris made his play against one child and moved on to the next game, each child had some time to think of their response. However, as Chris’ calls of “Checkmate” saw players gradually defeated one by one, the pace of play really began to heat up.

Eventually, nearly all the Chess Club players succumbed, but young Charlie Webster held Chris to a draw!

Nevertheless, all the children enjoyed themselves – as Reece Bairstow said, “Just to see an England ‘champion’ standing in front of me was amazing, and even though I was in Check five times I still had fun”.

Chris Fegan summed up the games with, “They all played really well and it was a great pleasure to visit the school and play the children.

“They’ve all got a good grasp of chess and it was hard work against them - I am sure they will all go from strength to strength in the game and they did themselves, the school and the county of Lincolnshire very proud.”

Afterwards, Chris discussed with Head Teacher, Graham Clegg, the charity’s work to improve children’s educational outcomes and foster their social development by introducing them to the game of chess.

Currently, Chess in Schools and Communities’ work is centred in urban schools and inner city communities, but Chris is keen to expand and offer opportunities to more rural counties.

“Thurlby Community Primary School is the first school in Lincolnshire to be involved with CSC.

Participating schools can benefit from weekly visits from a CSC chess tutor. The charity can also help provide chess equipment, books, teaching aids and software.

These include a 30 week curriculum with lesson plans, worksheets and handouts for use in the teaching day or school clubs.

Training for teachers and teaching assistants can also be provided. Further information on CSC can be found at http://www.chessinschools.co.uk