At Hampton Court House we believe that chess is one of the greatest games in the world. Taught correctly, it can provide many educational and social benefits as well as giving young people a life-long interest and the opportunity to compete and make friends with fellow enthusiasts from all over the world.
While it is deceptively easy for young children to learn how the pieces move, learning to play well is extremely difficult and challenging, and even the best players in the world frequently make mistakes. Therefore we do not consider chess to be a children’s game but rather an adult game at which some children, given the right circumstances and support, can excel.
Our provision for chess this year is as follows:
There will be a chess club for the Lower School (Y2-Y4) during Homework Club on Thursday afternoons: from 15:15 to 16:00. There will be no charge for membership of this club but attendance will be dependent on good behaviour in school and completion of homework. All children will receive a free copy of the new chessKIDS academy Bronze Level Course, which they will be expected to work through at home, completing the worksheets within the book and submitting them to be marked. They might also like to read Richard James’s book Chess for Kids which covers the same material and more in the form of a story. We reserve the right to ask children to leave the club if they are falling behind because they are not working at home or if their behaviour is below the required standard.
Children in Y4 and Y5 will be able to spend some time learning and playing chess as part of their Reasoning lessons. Children who have not yet passed the Bronze Level Test Paper will receive a copy of the Bronze Level Course. We hope that many of them will attempt to complete the worksheets either at home or at school and attempt the Test Paper by the end of the Summer Term. While other activities will be available for children who really don’t want to do chess, we hope that all children in these years will avail themselves of the opportunity.
There will be a chess club for the Upper School after school on Tuesdays, from 16:15 to 17:15. We hope that all members of this club will be able to pass the Bronze Level Test Paper. Children in the Lower School who have achieved the pass mark in the Bronze Level Test Paper will also be able to join. There will again be no charge for this club. We intend to play regular matches against the Staff (who are also welcome to attend the club) and possibly against the Parents. If there is sufficient interest we will arrange matches against other schools.
Chess sets will be available for use in morning and lunch breaks, before and after school, in the Main Hall and also in F3, which is now the Chess Room. Richard James will usually be available in F3 during morning and lunch breaks for informal lessons and games. We will also run regular chess tournaments throughout the school with games taking place during break times.
Individual or paired lessons are also available for all children who want them subject to Richard’s availability. We recommend that children who want to take the game seriously and take part in competitive chess events outside school take advantage of this. The lessons are also suitable for children who will benefit from one-to-one tuition during the week and would like to use chess as a focus for these lessons. These lessons could also be used for other games or puzzles or, more generally, to develop children’s thinking skills. Please note that there is a charge for these lessons. Application forms are available in the Main Hall or from Richard in F3.
We are also investigating incorporating aspects of chess and other games in other subjects on the curriculum, especially Mathematics.