Five schools are to battle it out on the boards as part of a new competition to find the young kings and queens of chess.
The competition, organised by Hull and District Chess Association, aims to capitalise on a surge in interest in the cerebral board game as more people have taken to playing it online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hit shows such as The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix have also sparked an influx of younger players to the game, all eager to test their grey matter against opponents.
The five schools taking part in the online tournament are Hull’s Stepney and St Richards Primary Schools, Nafferton and New Pasture Lane (Bridlington) Primary Schools in the East Riding and Goxhill Primary School in North Lincolnshire.
Although the tournament will be played online, up to 30 youngsters from each school have been getting to grips with their opening gambits and castling manoeuvres on real chess sets donated by local broadband provider KCOM. The schools have also received how to play chess for beginners books and goodie bags.
KCOM will also be providing prizes for the winners of the online tournament which will culminate in February.
Graham Chesters, President of Hull and District Chess Association, said: “Thanks to KCOM, HDCA have launched a ground-breaking, brand new initiative to raise the profile of chess in primary schools across Hull, East Riding and North Lincolnshire. Chess has proven educational and social benefits and is fun.
“KCOM is helping us provide everything that is needed to get a chess club established: sets, boards, books, coaching and tournaments. One aim is to get children playing against each other in online teams, so that matches take place between schools miles apart. It’s an exciting pilot that promises a great future for chess in the area.”
St Richards Primary teacher Lee Morgan said his pupils were loving learning about the game. He said: “Since our involvement with the chess association and the decision to include chess at our school, we are delighted with how keen and enthusiastic our children are about playing chess.”
And eight-year-old pupil Jade added: “I love being in the chess club at school. I’ve learnt how to play so I can play against my Grandad when I go to his house.”
John Rooney, KCOM Retail managing director, said: “The online world has opened up many opportunities for people to learn new skills and take part in games like chess.
“It’s great that so many children are interested in taking up a game that is mentally stimulating and can teach new ways of thinking and strategy – as well as being fun. I hope all of the youngsters enjoy playing with their new chess sets and, you never know, this could be the start of a journey that finds the latest grandmaster to take on the world.”
The inter-school tournament is due to take place in March with the winners revealed in April.
To find out more about playing chess in this region visit www.hullchess.com