Stalyhill Juniors take on chess challenge in London

Jude Starkey (left) in action at the London Chess Classic

A TEAM of 12 children recently represented Stalyhill Juniors at the London Chess Classic.
The trip was funded by the school’s Parent Teacher Association and it was a long day as they caught the 6.45am train from Manchester Piccadilly and returned at 8pm.
During the day at Olympia, the children received a masterclass from a grand master, watched exhibition matches and later played in an inter-schools competition.
Jude Starkey took to the main stage and played a live match which was relayed on a giant screen to the audience.
Despite being pitted against a boy from an older age group he played really well.
In the afternoon all the children played five games each in an inter-school tournament
Although there were no medals this year, the children put in an excellent performance – especially since they were the smallest team by far.
Stalyhill Juniors have been active members of the Chess in Schools and Communities programme that started in 2010 when Manchester was chosen as one of two pilot schemes nationally.
And the school has embraced chess that is taught in year three to all pupils as part of the national curriculum.
David Hardy, Manchester co-ordinator the schools’ programme, also pays a weekly
visit to Stalyhill and 18 pupils are members of their chess club.
Headteacher Sue Kitchen said: “Chess is very popular and some of our pupils also go to David’s club, Ashton Community Chess Club.
“It helps the children’s concentration, communication, mathematics, sportsmanship, memory skills and strategy.”
Three years ago pupils also visited Madrid, Spain, to compete in a tournament.
Four pupils were also invited to the House of Commons where they played against grand master Nigel Short in an event to promote the chess in schools programme.

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