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Chess in British schools

In an ideal world chess would be taught in every school in the UK.

In countries where quality chess tuition is available in the curriculum, many pupils learn to recognize complex patterns and consequently perform well at academic subjects. While Armenia is the only country where chess is a compulsory subject, recently chess was given official backing and financial support as an optional subject in France and Hungary as well.

In the UK the only way to gain access to chess is to join the school chess club. Figures suggest that fewer than one-in-ten state schools operate chess clubs, placing them at a disadvantage compared with private schools, where chess clubs are more in abundance.

Even if children are lucky enough to have chess clubs in their school, the teacher running it often has little or no professional chess expertise to coach them and consequently they cannot improve their game much. There are some promising improvements, though: the charity Chess in Schools and Communities is now actively involved in promoting chess in primary schools across the UK. Also, help is at hand for teachers who would like ready-made coaching material and students who wish to improve their game: learningchess.net, the best online chess tutor does exactly that.