CSC Teesside Library Project

Chess in Schools and Communities are very keen to work with all libraries across the UK and want to help libraries add chess to their offering. We know that chess and libraries are an excellent fit. Chess has a huge number of books written about it – a recent search of Amazon books produced nearly 23,000 results.

CSC has supported many libraries to set up chess clubs. We currently support 88 UK library clubs and recently provided sets and support for all the libraries in Bristol. If you would like to be involved with a club in your local library please get in touch – We will provide free equipment, support and training.

This month we launched two new library projects on Teesside.

One project is at the Middlesbrough Central Library, where David Smith – a former British Senior Chess Champion – is in charge of the sessions. David’s main colleague for the sessions is Paul Weightman and we also enjoyed the company of a number of other local chess stars including Julian Allinson (former Cleveland County champion) and Richard Harris (CSC tutor).

The Stockton Central Library sessions are led by Sean Cassidy, with occasional assistance from local stalwarts including Alan Stockley and Cleveland Chess Association Chairman Brian Whitaker.

On the first week we had 27 people between the two groups – a fantastic achievement. The ages ranged from three to … 83!

A couple of the juniors were already known to me from our current schools but everybody else was new. Several adults now want to join their local chess clubs and there may be more schools interested in joining the CSC. All of this after just one session in each library!

The project is an innovative drive to encourage as many people as possible to play chess and it is the first time the Chess in Schools and Communities, the Cleveland Chess Association, local libraries and local chess club clubs have all worked together. Thank you to all concerned, including our extremely important library staff: Ruth Cull (Middlesbrough) and Lucy Carlton-Walker (Stockton).

We are already looking to expand the library project into other parts of Teesside. Additionally, we are making plans to be fully involved in special library community events. The first of these could well be the Harry Potter Book Night at Stockton Central Library on Thursday 1 February (4.00 – 7.00 p.m.) where, alongside sessions of potion-making, magicians and owls we are planning on spreading a little magic of our own, with a patio chess set and our regular chess sets ready for all-comers to use for some spell-binding games and a fiendish Harry Potter and chess themed prize quiz to try.

Drop in for game! Spread the word! Be an important part of something very special.

— Sean Marsh, 11.8.2017

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