Yes2Chess in London

Published July 29, 2014

Consentration and dedication
“I congratulate the three Scandinavian teams for doing so well in the tournament. Even if they didn’t win the 1st prize, they are all winners in their country-finals. They proved themselves as strong players and good team members throughout the days in London. It is an achievement just to travel to a foreign country and competing against others in English. Their concentration and dedication to the game is an inspiration for us all”, says Freddy Syversen, EnterCard CEO. Freddy was present to follow the Scandinavian teams live in the final together with representatives from EnterCard’s citizenship team.

“Both the players and the adults will remember these days forever. I also believe that this will encourage the children to continue to train and play chess. We are grateful that the chess organisations and EnterCard have arranged this event so well together”, says Erik Fossan, one of the Norwegian parents that accompanied the young chess players to London.

An international tournament
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. As a part of Barclaycard Europe, EnterCard has developed and arranged the Scandinavian part of the tournament together with the Scandinavian chess federations.

40 children from eight countries – UK, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and the USA – were in London this week to battle it out for the overall tournament title. 

“And the winner is…”
Privates Gymnasium Brecht from Hamburg, Germany, won the coveted title of Yes2Chess Champion School. The Danish team from Fredriksberg skole won 3rd prize and the Norwegian team came up as number 4 and Sweden number 5.

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 this week 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.

Challenging a chess Grandmaster
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.

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.

Improving educational outcomes through chess
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.

Watch a film from the event on YouTube.