The generation who got the most out of chess (and very often put the most back into chess) were those who, like me, developed an interest in the game at secondary school between, say, 1955 and 1980.
We need to provide a means of entry at secondary school age for children (girls as well as boys) without a home chess background, especially those being educated within the public sector.
Again, using Chess for Anna as an example, what I’d do would be something like this.
- Announce a forthcoming competition for children in Year 7 (age 11-12), perhaps over the following Easter holidays
- Encourage schools to send out the Beginners’ Guide to all their Year 7 pupils at the start of the Autumn Term.
- Arrange short (5 minute) talks in school assemblies about chess (I’d also be happy to talk to Head Teachers, other teachers, SENCOs or anyone else who might be interested).
- Encourage schools to run inter-form chess matches at the end of Autumn Term (I’d be happy to come in & help them).
- Encourage schools to send out the Chess for Heroes book to those Year 7 pupils who are interested (and to any interested older pupils as well) at the start of the Spring Term.
- Run an inter-school tournament for Year 7 pupils over the Easter holidays. Think about how girls can be encouraged to take part.
- If this is successful it could be rolled out to other years as well, or tournaments could be run for teams representing the whole school.
- Work closely with junior centres of excellence and adult chess clubs, recommending ambitious players to join as appropriate.