The Chess Heroes Project: Clubs

The second strand of the Chess Heroes project involves promoting community-based social chess clubs for children and young people.

In this area at the moment there are excellent professionally run centres of excellence for ambitious young children such as Richmond Junior Club, but these aren’t for everyone. Not everyone can afford them. Not all children will benefit from this approach. Not all children require formal group instruction, rated games and competitions.

When Mike Fox and I started Richmond Juniors back in 1975 it was specifically promoted as a social club where children could come along to meet their friends and make new friends. Many of our early members are still active. Bertie Barlow, Sampson Low and Simon Illsley all played in our last TVB match: Gavin Wall and Caspar Bates played in our last LL match, while Mark Josse recently played for Surbiton against our TVA team.

Parents now sign their children up for chess because they believe their children will gain extrinsic benefits, not because they see it as a long-term hobby.

Perhaps the tide is slowly turning and there is once again a demand for the sort of junior club that RJCC originally set out to be.

Marie Gallagher (a former RTCC member) and I started a club on these lines in Twickenham Library in September which is going really well. I’m also talking to a fairly local community centre about starting a club there, and we might also think about running a junior session at the Adelaide from, say, 5:30 to 7:00, for children who are either too young or not experienced enough for RTCC..

We need volunteer coaches who:

  • are passionate about chess
  • enjoy working with children
  • have DBS clearance
  • have spare time to work for free.

If you’re interested please get in touch!

Richard James