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» News » New chess club launches thanks to support from our trustees

New chess club launches thanks to support from our trustees

16 February 2022  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Thanks to our wonderful Trustees, two Year 12 students have launched a school and college chess club, which takes place in the library each Thursday, from 3:30 to 4:45pm.

James Lunn and Will Mawer decided to give fellow students across the whole school and college the opportunity to play chess and were keen to welcome all abilities to the club.  The students approached the Richmond School Trust with an application for five boards and pieces, as well as some chess clocks.  They were thrilled to receive the funding and set the ball rolling on their new club.

James and Will both learned chess from an early age but in lockdown they got back into the game, playing online with friends and at home with their families.

Will said: “During the first lockdown, we developed a fascination for chess and this prompted us to join the Darlington and District Chess Club and start to play in tournaments.  Chess has become more popular since the lockdown and the club has seen its membership increase significantly with a mix of ages joining. It’s a really friendly club where we play each Monday from 7-9pm, and we have even had the opportunity to play a grandmaster! ”

James added: “It is fantastic that people across all generations are reconnecting with chess.  As well as lockdown being a trigger for this, the Netflix show, ‘Queen’s Gambit’, has had a dramatic impact on sales of chess boards which apparently went up 300% on Ebay following the programme. One of the chess board suppliers has reported 3 million new users on their website!”

The students are keen to encourage many more young people to play chess as it offers so many benefits. It not only brings people together and teaches them how to win and lose, but it also helps to develop creativity and problem-solving skills in a fun and relaxed environment. Will and James are on hand at the club to offer tips and guidance to students, especially those who may be playing chess for the first time.

James and Will said: “We are so grateful to the Trustees for supporting our new club which we hope will become a place where students can not only improve their chess skills but also meet new friends.”

Elaine Walton, Chair of Richmond School Trust said: “We were most impressed with the application that Will and James submitted for equipment and are pleased  to hear that their new chess club is already up and running.  The students have done a fantastic job in researching, planning and organising this new activity and the Trustees are delighted to have been able to make the club a reality for them.”

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