Following last week’s visit to Oxford, the following day I asked the members of one of my school chess clubs how they could get more children in the school interested in chess. Some of them suggested running an open day to promote chess to the whole school.
This week the children told me they’d had an open day that morning. The teachers involved in the club and one of the club members spoke about chess in morning assembly, and at lunchtime they invited anyone interested into a classroom, splitting them between children who couldn’t play at all, children who knew some of the moves and children who could play a complete game. They had 41 children in total, 26 boys and 15 girls (there’s only one girl in the school club).
They’re going to do the same thing again the next two weeks. I said I’d come along for free and bring some copies of Chess for Kids to show the children. I’ll also write a letter for them to take home to their parents explaining how they can help and advertising my books, websites & coaching services.
The teachers were happy with this, and also hoped that there would be enough interest to run a beginners’ club next term, while keeping the current club for children who know all the rules. They were also interested in the idea of running an inter-class tournament at the end of term. I suggested four players per team representing each class from Yr3 (7-8 year olds) to Yr6 (10-11 year olds), with at least one boy and one girl in each team.
I’ll post again to let you know what happens next.