My daughter Abi is like many others locked own with her two boys, Asher and Jonah, aged 4 and 6 and her husband Dave. Dave fortunately has a job but Abi is climbing the walls as she now has to entertain her two boys all day every day (no nursery or school). She has posted an audio diary about this on BBC radio Derby explaining how she lost at football 74 – 0 to Asher – you can tell the pain in her voice.
This got me thinking what can we as chess players do to help mums like Abi at the same time as helping English chess thrive and grow. I therefore set up an online chess clubs for Mum’s like Abi and keep their children entertained, help them learn to play chess against their friends during the day on chesskid.com or a similar site and then when the pandemic is all over we will have a database of grateful parents who would be willing to join our chess clubs. The club combines me teaching the children, me setting homework for the children to complete and children playing chess against each other during the week using chesskid.com. We now have 20 children registered and playing chess even though we have only been going two weeks.
I have a vision to help other chess players do the same. If we got 1 or 2 players in each club repeating what i have done i calculate 10,000 children would be playing chess. We have literally a captive audience and an ideal opportunity to give back to our community – put simply “what did you do in the COVID 19 crises Grandad” To help people answer this question and set up an online club there are some useful resources for you as follows:
- https://bit.ly/2xU0QsNis my vlog about starting the club in my local village. It starts off with a bit about Witney chess club and the people there and then moves on to comment about building a chess club and online chess club
- The Witney chess club submission to the ECF in 2012. It tells the story of how we took Witney chess club from 5 players to be ECF club of the year on the back of amongst other things a clearly defined junior chess playing strategy https://bit.ly/ecf2012coty - do read some of the quotes on pages 7 and 8.
- My daughter’s audio diary https://bbc.in/34A6rAU the part with Abi starts at 13.01. I have linked to this just in case you need confirmation as to what it is like for a young mother to be locked down with two young children.
- A help sheet on the route map needed to start an online chess club with some resources https://bit.ly/resourcesonlinechess. Even the most nerdy chess player should be able to use this to set up an online club and make a difference to his community!
"I'll always be grateful for you teaching me chess..... Those chess tournaments were very formative for me. They taught me to keep my nerve under pressure and something I could be decent at when school was very much not that thing..."
The child in question got into the Devon junior chess team and also learned a lot from Tim Onions. We went on (despite his difficult experience of school) to get a first class degree in politics and a PhD in Business and leadership. I could repeat that sort of quote many times over. I would want other chess players to be able to quote similar experiences in 25 years time.
Do please get in touch if you need any help to start an online chess club but above all please stay safe.