John is an English Chess Federation accredited coach and has taught in schools and privately since 2009. John started chess relatively late(!) at the age of twelve following the huge interest in the Spassky-Fischer World Championship match in 1972.
He has played in the British Championships and represented Yateley School, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Guildford Chess Club, CentYMCA, Crowthorne Chess Club and Camberley Chess Clubs.
He is an active photographer for with his own gallery. John has both junior and adult learners as private students. John has recently re-launched the Hampshire Junior Chess Association.
John has recently started playing for the Crowthorne team in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).
When it’s time for “big lunch” in Blarney Street CBS, you might expect the boys to make a mad dash outside to play chase or football. Instead, many make a move in a different way: their lunchtime sport of choice is chess.
The strategic board game has been a feature at this Cork primary school for years, a tradition principal Billy Lynch brought with him from his primary school days.
At a time when screens are blamed for shortening children’s attention spans, Lynch finds chess is luring pupils away from their phone screens and helping to foster crucial skills we once took for granted.
“It’s quite social, during lunch they chat away while they are playing,” says Lynch.
He has also noticed how chess is helping his students develop emotional resilience. “You bare your soul when you are playing chess because it’s all about you – you can’t blame the equipment,” says Lynch, “Chess teaches you how to lose.”
But it is the impact of the strategic game on students’ concentration that really stands out.
“In this day and age, when concentration levels are not what they were previously thought to be, you can see them thinking two or three moves ahead.”
Up and down the country, other schools are embracing chess too and seeing the benefits among schoolchildren.
April Cronin, a retired primary school principal and former Irish chess champion, runs chess workshops for teachers in Dublin.
She has noticed social awkwardness becoming more prevalent in her chess clubs of late. It prompted her to teach basic social interactions during her chess lessons. “The first thing I taught them was how to actually shake somebody’s hand and look them in the eye. It was extraordinary how many children didn’t know how to do that,” she says.
David Follows, Maha Chandar, David Culliford, Ollie Blacklock, Ken Coates, Christine Coates, David Graham and John Upham
Hampshire Junior Chess Association is the principal coordinator and organiser of chess for children and young people who are eighteen years old or under and live or attend school in Hampshire.
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