FIRST RANK - Newsletter No.13 October 2018

First Rank - Visit and Arrange School Chess Conferences!

In recent years several school chess conferences have been organised around the world. In this issue of "First Rank" we discuss several aspects both from organisers and visitors point of view. Besides that a new weekly chess problem is presented.

Why is it so inspiring to visit a School Chess Conference?

Sarah Kett is a chess teacher from Cardiff in Wales. Here she explains why it is so inspiring to visit a school chess conference. Interview by Dan Staples from CSC.

Why arrange a school chess conference?

  • Show that chess is a serious tool for education
  • Encourage chess teachers to persist
  • Learn from other practitioners 
  • Present scientific and educational research
  • Open the eyes of policy makers
  • Collaborate on new projects

The London School Chess Conference 8-9 December 2018

The most important school chess conference in the world is undoubtedly the annual London Chess and Education Conference which takes place again this year on 8-9 December.  This year the theme is "The Future of Chess in Education". Some of the most renowned experts on chess and education will make presentations as well as leading academics and policy makers. The conference is sponsored by Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC), the European Chess Union (ECU) and Erasmus Plus.

Here you can read about the programme and how to sign up.

Interview with John Foley, the organizer of London School Chess Conference

  1. How many Chess in School Conferences have you arranged? This is the sixth edition of the London Chess Conference. Each of the conferences has been about some aspect of using chess for educational or social purposes. The first conference was organised to run alongside the London Chess Classic as a side event.  We we delighted to discover that lots of people enjoyed the conference and so we ran another one the next year and suddenly we found we had an annual conference.
  2. Why is it good to arrange a Chess in School Conference in your country? We organised a conference in London because the charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) had started and we wanted to find out how other people organised chess in schools. We thought it would be a good idea to bring everybody together to exchange ideas and share best practice.
  3. What is most important to think of when you arrange a conference? We need people who are experts in their field - who really know what they are talking about. They should understand education, how children learn.  Of course, they should also be interesting speakers. We want people to interact with each other and leave excited about the future.
  4. Where do you get money from? We get financial support from several sources. The most important has been CSC. Malcolm Pein is brilliant at persuading funders to support innovative educational events. We also now get support from the European Chess Union. This year we also benefit from Erasmus Plus funding. We are always open to offers!
  5. What expectations do you have of this year's School Chess Conference in London? The theme this year is the Future of Chess in Education so we will have speakers who have a vision of what education will be like in the future: how schools will change, what subjects will be taught and how will children learn. This sets the scene for several fascinating chess advocates to explain how they are taking chess forwards. We have speakers from Europe, America and Africa. The networking part of the conference is vitally important - and people often end up collaborating with each other afterwards. I look forward to hearing from Mark Price, until recently Minister for Trade, who is going to talk about preparing children for the digital age.  It should all be very interesting and sociable.

An important presentation at the London Chess Conference 2017

Professor Fernand Gobet and Giovanni Sala conducted a meta-study on chess and mathematics. This presentation gave a comprehensive view on the scientific relationships between these two iconic domains. Fernand is on the Academic Panel of ECU  Education and will visit us again at this year's conference. Interview by Karel van Delft from the Netherlands who has written extensively on the educational psychology of chess.

CiS conferences - away of sharing and get inspirered!

I have attended a score of school chess conferences during the last five years. Each time I have been inspired by the vitality of those using chess as an educational tool. I find that the people at these conferences are so eager to share their experiences. The prospects for chess in schools are so huge that there is no limit to how to get involved. Hence there is no competition and protectionism like in some other areas. Instead everyone understands that we must work together to raise the level of what we do.  We must listen to the critics and take advice. We must help the society to understand the benefit of games in education. This is an exciting time for this educational movement. Please come to London and see for yourself, or plan for your own school chess conference in your country. ECU Education will support you by all means that we can.

Jesper Hall
Chair, ECU Education

Do you want a translation of the newsletter into your language?

If you want a translation of the newsletter into your language click on the web version link, then you will find a "Translate" option. 

The first ECU School Chess Conference in Batumi 2016

The first ECU School Chess Conference was held in Batumi, Georgia. A short video was made about the event in which interviews are made with some of the key people promoting chess in schools in Europe.

The Chess Puzzle of the Week



In a helpmate problem, white and black co-operate to reach the solution. From the diagram, Black to play and give checkmate in 5 moves by a knight on h1.
Yes - you read correctly - black manages to get a knight to h1.
(Hard - Answer below)

ECU Education Calendar 2018

3-16 November, 2018
World Cadet U8, U10, U12 Championships 2018
Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), Spain
8-9 November, 2018
ECU School Chess Teacher Courses
Ingolstadt (Bavaria), Germany
One course in German and one course in English.
Details from Boris Bruhn

14-21 November, 2018
2nd European School Team Chess Open Internet Championship*
Details from Alexander Kostyev 
Each school can enter two teams, U11 and U17 (calculated from 1st January 2017 and 2001) comprising two boys and two girls. Entry forms must be signed by the chess teacher and school principal, and submitted to the organiser by Friday 9 November 2018. 

8-9 December, 2018
London Chess Conference: the Future of Chess in Education*
London (Hammersmith), England

10-11 December, 2018
ECU School Chess Teacher Course
London (Hammersmith), England
12 December, 2018
ECU Chess and Mathematics Teacher Training Course (new)
London (Hammersmith), England

We Want Your Feedback!

What do you want this kind of newsletter? What was good, and what was bad? Please let us know your Feedback


Checkmate in five moves from h1
The following sequence of moves must be played: 1. e2-e4 Ng8-f6 2.f2-f3 Nf6xe4 3.Qd1-e2 Ne4-g3 4.Qe2xe7+ Qd8xe7+ 5.Ke1-f2 Ng3xh1 checkmate

Helpmate problems encourage co-operative problem solving. It is nice to show that chess is not just a competitive game but encourages exploration of logical possibilities.  The sequence of moves in the solution would never be played in a real game but they are necessary to achieve the stated purpose.
Subscribe to this Newsletter
With support from the Raedler Foundation.

Unsubscribe from this list

ChessPlus with the European Chess Union
71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden
London, England

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp