Reports | October 28, 2011 11:58

Kasparov: 'Chess in schools is cool'

Kasparov: 'Chess in schools is cool'

The charity Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) celebrated its first birthday on Tuesday, October 18th in the House of Commons in London. Among the guests were Garry Kasparov, who supports chess in schools through his Kasparov Chess Foundation, an also GMs Nigel Short, Jonathan Rowson and Jonathan Speelman.

Photo: Ray Morris-Hill

The reception was hosted by Rachel Reeves, Member of Parliament for Leeds West, in the Jubilee Room at Westminster. She is one of 23 MPs to have signed an early day motion submitted by Yasmin Qureshi MP, backing the campaign to give every primary school child in the country the chance to learn how to play chess.

A decent chess player herself, a few days earlier Reeves visited the Valley View School Chess Club in Leeds, where she gave a simul (!) to twelve children. She said:

It's great to see young people engaging in chess, which helps to build their problem-solving and logic skills, as well as being great fun. I'm looking forward to next week, when I'll be able to host some of my local schoolchildren in the Parliamentary event.

This event took place on October 18th. Children from Teesside, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, Barnet, Hackney, Newham and Hammersmith and Fulham were accompanied by their teachers and parents. Every child got the chance to take on Nigel Short in a simultaneous display.

Rachel Reeves spoke about how learning chess at an early age had helped her. 13th World Champion Garry Kasparov came to London as well: he spoke at the event and made many media appearances. Nigel Short played the children and a few MPs without losing a game. Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson and CSC Field Worker England international Sabrina Chevannes also made some moves.

Reeves' colleagues in the Labour Shadow Cabinet Angela and Maria Eagle also attended the event. They were strong junior players in the city of Liverpool.

Rachel Reeves MP gets some advice from Garry Kasparov in her match against Stephen Moss of the Guardian

Since its establishment 12 months ago, CSC has introduced over 3,000 children to the game in over 80 primary schools across England and Wales. The positive returns means the charity is making good progress towards its target of introducing chess back into 1000 primary schools nationwide. CSC argues that introducing pupils to chess at Year 2 or 3 would offer them a host of benefits that are not engendered by other team and individual sports. 

Kasparov with children from William Patten Primary School, Hackney

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


mircelalettin's picture

Kasparov would better play gainst tough guys like Mamedyarov. He just plays some Blitz games. If his intention is to make chess a more popular he would definitely play rapid games against such elite players. Let me give you a hint Gary, play in a tournament like Wijk an zee that would certainly collect more attention to you. Everybody will remember you an ex-champion who left chess in an age he would contribute chess more than anyone.

Szoker's picture

I strongly disagree.

He would most certainly be in the top 10 still, but retiring after winning a major tournament and being a world champion for many years was a good decision imo.

He is still contributing to chess.

Born's picture

I disagree, Kasparov has dominated the world of chess for decades. He is a living legend and doesn't need to proof anything to anyone. The only thing he can proof now is that he is only human and no longer the best. A true champion retires at the peak of his strenght and that is exactly what he did.

Knallo's picture

I agree. He could only tarnish the legend. (Of course, he would be Top 10, but that is beside the point.)

Nicholas's picture

Kasparov only wants to be the undesputed number 1. And he realized he was getting too old for that task. So he probably made the right decision, now promoting chess. He definitely is a legend, mircelalettin.

noyb's picture

I miss the days where the greats continued to play for the love of the game. Everyone declines, but that doesn't mean that they should quit whatever they do. If you compiled all of the fantastic games played by ex-World Champions, it would be a pity if they never played them!

mh's picture

Years ago I bought the book Fighting Chess. When I played those games I really became fond of chess.

pat j's picture

everyone seems to know what is best for everyone else. why not respect what kaspy has done? if he felt it was time to leave chess and pursue other things, kudos to him. he could have kept his comfy chess life and instead he decided to risk much by challenging the putin regime and to do much to promote chess. what is the shame in that? i do not understand this attitude of always criticizing others.

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