Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Brambles at Broadway

It seems like just yesterday when I was last at Broadway Junior School, teaching the Y4s some chess moves. Ah, it was!

Today I made a return journey to repeat an experiment from last year, when a number of children from Broadway came to Teesside for a day of shared chess activities.

This time, nine Brambles - having already enjoyed their normal morning chess sessions - travelled to Sunderland for a packed afternoon of chess with some Broadway Y4s and more experienced Y5s.
Off we go!
Some players slept on the way there. Believe it or not,
the right hand is playing chess moves as he sleeps.
'Are we there yet?'
Welcome to Broadway!
We started off with an ice-breaker of a wordsearch. The Brambles children bravely introduced themselves to the Broadway players and selected a partner with whom to work.

Following some excellent group work solving quest problems on the big demonstration board, the children paired up to solve some tricky checkmate puzzles.

Then we went through all of the answers on the big board.
We took a break for juice and biscuits before getting ready to play a big match.

We appointed two captains to select players for the teams, mixing Brambles and Broadway stars equally.

The children played very well. They were competitive but the atmosphere was very friendly.

Remarkably, the match ended in a draw - 7-7!

Some Brambles slept on the way home...
...but others were still too excited!
What a magical day! Thank you to everyone who helped to make it such a success and to Mrs Hastie (Broadway) and Mrs Farrell (Brambles) in particular.

Monday, 13 February 2017

New Year, New Broadway Visit

Today brought my second Sunderland Broadway Junior School Chessday of the school year.

All three classes of Y4 children impressed me with how much they had remember since my last visit and by how hard they worked today in their new lessons.

Last October we worked with pawns and bishops. This time we introduced rooks and queens.

We enjoyed various activities, including mini-games, quests and a little role-play.

Long-term CSC supporter Lisa Hastie masterminds the chess at Broadway and utilises the First Move programme to teach the children the basics of chess.

Thank you, Broadway! I will return soon...

Friday, 10 February 2017

Workbook 2

The arrival of CSC Workbook 2 has caused great excitement in our schools.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

London Expedition Reunion

Tonight brought a reunion event for those involved with our most recent chess trip to London.

We returned to Hollywood Bowl at Teesside Park and followed that up with a trip to Pizza Express.

The evening started very well when Paul bought me a cup of tea
Paul hits a strike on his way to a fine second place
Fearsome bowling juniors
More of the same - but slightly older 
One way to stop your opponent winning, I suppose.
However, Farrell picked herself up to win the battle of the junior lane.
Sonia and Zoe are long-term supporters of CSC Teesside.
Sonia was tonight's champion bowler!
Silence descends...temporarily, at least
Enjoying the starters
Would you believe Lily left those peppers!
CSC Teesside and a whole load of pizzas 
Harrison and Paul. Harrison brought some excellent new jokes to the table
My smiling onion 
Aren't they tired yet...!?
Our reunion coincided with Farrell's birthday!
Make a wish: 'I wish we could go to London again!'
What a thoroughly enjoyable evening! Spending time and having lots of fun with one's favourite people is something we should all endeavour to do more often. There is already talk of another reunion...

Monday, 23 January 2017


All branches of the local press may have completely ignored my press release on our historic London Chess Classic expedition, but Whale Hill Primary School did us proud with a big spread on page one of their January newsletter.

It is too easy to believe nothing positive ever happens on Teesside but we shall continue raising awareness and highlighting our magnificent ambassadors to combat lazy negativity and to celebrate the excellent achievements of our Teesside stars.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


I don't need to wear a watch at school. I just carry this around with me all day.

Friday, 20 January 2017

The Full Groucho

While preparing children for their first ever chess tournament, I stress the importance of keeping a straight face so opponents cannot read one's thoughts.

The legendary Straight Face Challenge is usually an easy victory for me. (For some reason, merely looking at my face makes people laugh.)

However, Naomi not only passed the initial test with flying colours but also survived what we call The Full Groucho without losing her composure.

Congratulations, Naomi! This was undoubtedly the best performance ever seen in the Straight Face Challenge.