Chess ace Leeds MP drops into school for eight games at once

CHECK MATE: Rachel Reeves plays ' and wins ' against eight Whingate Primary School pupils at once. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
CHECK MATE: Rachel Reeves plays ' and wins ' against eight Whingate Primary School pupils at once. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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A Leeds politician and chess ace dropped into one of the city’s primary schools and showed off her skills.

Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West was once the UK under-14 girls chess champion.

She attended Whingate Primary School on Thursday to sit in on a chess lesson before going on to compete against eight of the school’s most accomplished players.

Despite admitting she was “rusty” at the game, Ms Reeves came away from the simul triumphant with an 8-0 victory.

The event was one of thousands that take place around the country each week as part of the work of Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) – a charity which aims to boost children’s education and social development by introducing them to the game.

Ms Reeves said: “Chess has been invaluable in helping me develop skills that have been important for my career. The game is perfect preparation for politics, since it teaches you to stay one step ahead of your opponents. Problem solving, dealing with pressure, planning ahead too – all of these are transferable skills across many walks of life and this is why I’m delighted to support the work that Chess in Schools and Communities is undertaking across the country and in my constituency.”

Malcolm Pein, chief executive of CSC, said: “Having an advocate of Rachel’s stature is a great boost for the charity.

“We are grateful for her participation in today’s event, she plays a strong game.

“We hope that some of the success she has achieved can be a source of inspiration for the children.”

Founded in 2009, CSC now teaches in over 300 schools.

In Leeds, around 900 children are currently taught chess in 13 schools.

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