Chess in prisons update – from Carl Portman

The English Chess Federation and Chess in Schools and Communities Charity are delighted to announce an agreement about work with chess in prisons between the two organisations. There has been tremendous progress in the last few years not just in the UK but around the world and chess in prisons is now firmly on the agenda from FIDE all the way down to local levels.

I shall continue to visits prisons on behalf of the ECF and give coaching, simuls and lectures. The follow on from my prison visits has always been to encourage the setting up of chess clubs so that prisoners can meet regularly to play. CSC have the resources and experience of doing just this so we will work jointly to foster chess in prisons.

In this regard the ECF is very much an ‘enabler’ whereas the CSC might be seen as an implementer, though the ECF and myself do donate equipment and books also. Don’t forget to read my report about chess in prisons in the 2022 Yearbook.

One final point. Both organisations are working to field teams in to the online World Prison Chess Championships in the autumn, and more detail will be given when it is available. I thank Malcolm Pein, Mike Truran and Nigel Towers for their support. The challenges ahead are huge but it is rewarding and joyous work, and as ever chess wins the day.

I must comment that I continue to work with prisons in other capacities, from my independent role as chess columnist for the prison newspaper to the author of ‘Chess Behind Bars’ and I often receive invites on this basis, but of course I do highlight the work of the ECF and CSC in any discussions.

— Carl Portman – Manager of Chess in Prisons