ChessFest in Trafalgar Square 18th July

ChessFest flyer hereChessFest rapidplay entry form here | Guardian article here

Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) invites everyone to ChessFest at Trafalgar Square on Sunday 18th July. CSC is a charity whose mission is to improve children’s educational outcomes and social development by introducing them to the game of chess and to use the game as a tool to improve social mobility and social cohesion.

Since 2009, CSC has staged a world-class tournament, the London Chess Classic, each December at Olympia. As this was unable to be staged due to Covid, the charity is staging ChessFest instead, to bring chess to a wider audience and showcase the game’s inclusivity.

ChessFest is a new family-friendly event, free for all, which celebrates the world’s oldest game, its cultural connections and universal appeal as an activity for young and old and people of all backgrounds. Visitors will be able learn the game, play chess, challenge a master or take part in Alice Through the Looking Glass-themed activities in a covid-secure outdoor space.

On Sunday 18th July ChessFest will comprise a range of activities for all the family including –
Chess Lessons for adults and children from professional chess tutors; Casual Chess playing with family, friends or other members of the public on boards we will provide around the square; Simultaneous Displays; Blitz, Giant Chess and Blindfold Chess.

The Alice Through the Looking Glass theme celebrates the 150th anniversary of the publication of the chess themed book. We are constructing a giant chessboard on which 32 actors dressed as Alice Through the Looking Glass characters will replay a game based on the book. The headline events will be an Inter-City Chess Challenge played online via the giant screens as children from London challenge children from Liverpool and a match between two prodigies, one in New York and one in London, whose lives were transformed by chess. See here for recent BBC coverage – CSC’s campaign in August 2018 saved Shreyas from deportation.

On Saturday 17th July there will be the UK’s first chess tournament since lockdown with the participation of the UK number one Grandmaster Michael Adams and GM Gawain Jones. Space is limited, enter at

On Friday 16th July (private events) 300 children from 30 inner-city primary schools across the UK in the charity’s Classroom Chess programme will come to the capital for the day. Chess lessons, a chess tournament and a Mad Hatter’s Chess Party are on the agenda. Children will also be visiting the V&A museum to see their exhibition Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser. The children will also get to try on 15th century armour provided by the Wallace Collection, and become real ‘knights’ of the chess board.

ChessFest will leave a legacy for London. CSC will fund the installation of giant chess sets and weatherproof chess tables in parks and other sites to enable chess to be played all year round, as in New York City, Amsterdam, Paris, and other cities.

— Malcolm Pein