Swansea pupils join schools chess drive

Chess board
Image caption There is a UK-wide campaign to establish chess a subject in schools

Pupils from schools in Wales are amongst school children who are visiting Westminster to campaign for chess to be taught in all schools.

The youngsters are already taking part in an initiative that sees the game taught in curricular time.

They will join others from across the UK to challenge MPs to a game.

The Welsh government says it provides annual funding to the Welsh Chess Union to promote the game through clubs and competitions, particularly in schools.

Ten-year-old Wallis Thomas, a pupil at Craig y Felin Primary School in Clydach in the Swansea Valley is one of those travelling to London.

She has been playing since the start of the year and it is one of those being taught chess in school by the Swansea-based Chess Academy Wales.

"I just like the way you play it," she told BBC Radio Wales.

Deborah Evans, director of Chess Academy Wales, said many pupils like Wallis benefited.

"I teach in schools in curriculum time and the enthusiasm from children is lovely," she said.

"They are learning skills without realising because it's such fun to play.

"They are also able to socialise on a very human level because they are not facing a computer. It's one to one with a human being and it's great in this cyber-age to have this opportunity."

The event in London is part of a campaign headed by the group Chess in Schools & Communities.

It has the backing of chess grandmaster Nigel Short.

He told BBC Wales: "There have been numerous academic studies showing that chess is beneficial in various ways - concentration, calculation, planning and strategic thinking."

The Welsh government says it appreciates the benefits of youngsters playing the game.

A spokesperson said: "The Welsh government provides annual funding to the Welsh Chess Union to promote opportunities for participation by young people through the creation of clubs and competitions, particularly in schools".

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