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Former junior chess champ and Leeds MP takes on primary school youngsters

CHILD'S PLAY: MP Rachel Reeves takes on Annabelle Waterhouse at chess at St Peters School Bramley, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

CHILD'S PLAY: MP Rachel Reeves takes on Annabelle Waterhouse at chess at St Peters School Bramley, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

  • by Laura Bowyer
 

She’s used to thinking one step ahead in Parliament but Leeds MP Rachel Reeves swapped politics for pawns for the day.

The former junior chess champion tested her wits against youngsters from St Peter’s Primary School, in Bramley, during eight games of simultaneous chess.

Pupils at the school have been learning how to play the game since the start of term as part of an initiative to help boost their education.

The scheme is run by charity Chess in Schools and the Community which aims to teach youngsters about the game for one hour each week as part of the curriculum.

Rachel’s skills were put to the test – and former champion even gave out some handy hints – as she battled to checkmate pupils.

She told the YEP: “I learned to play chess when I was six at primary school.

“It teaches forward thinking and it’s good preparation for politicians in life in general.

“It’s fantastic.”

“Who knows we may have future international and grandmasters of chess in this school.”

Among those testing their new-found chess knowledge against Rachel was eight-year-old Abigail Kelly.

Abigail said: “I was a bit excited about it when I first started playing.

“I enjoy it but sometimes it can be hard.

“I’ve taught my mum how to play it now.”

The school is now one of five schools in west Leeds that teaches children how to play chess.

Other schools include Stanningley Primary, Valley View Primary, Bramley Primary and Hollybush Primary.

Malcolm Pein, chief executive of Chess in Schools and the Community, said: “It’s very good for children for all sorts of reasons and it teaches children to think ahead.

“It helps them develop numeral skills, calculation and problem solving.

“There is a lot of scientific research but it shows that if you teach children chess it help with their educational outcome.”

 

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