Live Final of Largest ever International Schools’ Online Chess Tournament
• Yes2Chess Finals take place at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park
• German school Privates Gymnasium Brecht crowned international chess champion school
Privates Gymnasium Brecht from Hamburg, Germany has won the coveted title of Yes2Chess champion school, an international chess competition for primary school children, having emerged triumphant from the Yes2Chess finals in London this week. Yes2Chess was developed by Barclaycard and the charity Chess in Schools and Communities, and is part of Barclays’ commitment to helping 5 million young people fulfil their potential.A total of 40 children from eight countries – UK, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark and the USA – were in London this week to battle it out for the overall tournament title.
The UK was represented by St Bridget’s Church of England School from West Kirby which included Tom Winston, aged 10; Rafael Parry, 10; George Creasy, 8; Advait Bavikatte, 8 and Heather Marshall, 10. All 5 members put up a valiant fight but the title was eventually claimed by the German team.
The week’s events mark the culmination of months of online matches, in which more than 20,000 school children from over 400 schools across the eight countries where Barclaycard has businesses were encouraged to test their chess skills against one another. 355 Barclaycard volunteers across the eight regions have participated in the programme and have gone into schools to help teach the children chess.
The tournament final took place yesterday at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time (BBST) in Hyde Park. As well as the matches, which were hotly contested, there were many light hearted moments during the day including human chess games - where actors, dressed as kings, queens, bishops and knights acted as chess pieces on a giant chessboard, with children from some of the visiting schools directing the moves.
The students also got to venture up the BBST Better View platform which raised them 100 feet into the air for a bird’s eye view of the whole of Hyde Park and the wider London skyline.
The closing stages of the tournament began on Monday, when the 40 final participants attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament. Following a tour of the building, the children watched David Chan, CEO of Barclaycard Europe, and David Howell, Grandmaster and British Chess Champion, pit their wits against one another in an unusual chess game - David Howell was blindfolded! - before being given the opportunity of taking on the chess Grandmaster themselves.
MPs including Esther McVey, Minister of State, Maria Eagle, Shadow Secretary of State, Greg Hands, Deputy Chief Whip and David Mowat, MP for Warrington South, also attended the reception and chatted to the children.
David Chan said: “This week’s events have been a wonderful way to celebrate the success of the Yes2Chess initiative. Our young chess fans have had a great time in London and the Grand final at Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time in Hyde Park was a tense and exciting affair! And of course I’d like to congratulate the new champion school Privates Gymnasium Brecht in Hamburg, for their very well deserved win, St Bridget’s in West Kirby for representing the UK so well and indeed all the international teams for making it such a great contest – it has truly been a memorable few days.
“Research has shown that learning how to play chess from a young age helps to develop key skills such as critical thinking and reasoning, and improves memory and concentration. We are really proud that the programme has helped over 22,000 children from around the world to date, uniting them through a shared enjoyment of the game, and we hope many more children will take up chess.”
Malcolm Pein, CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, said: “Yes2Chess has been the world’s largest ever online tournament for schools. We are delighted that our partnership with Barclaycard has enabled us to impact so many children through both the tournament and Barclaycard’s employee volunteer programme that has enhanced our delivery of chess to inner city schools in the UK.
“There is a growing awareness amongst education professionals that learning to play chess at a young age can improve educational outcomes. The game crosses the barriers of age, sex, culture and language and we look forward to expanding Yes2Chess next year and to bring this wonderful game to more children around the world.”
Please visit www.yes2chess.org to find out more about the tournament and how schools can get involved.
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