Strategic chess playing for children is growing in popularity across Yorkshire as a rising number of schools enrol in a scheme to integrate it into the state curriculum.
Education charity Chess in Schools and Communities, launched in 2009, now works with more than 20 schools in Yorkshire delivering lessons to hundreds of young people.
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, joining a lesson at Netherton Junior and Infant School yesterday, said the skills of such lessons were invaluable.
“There are many benefits from learning how to play chess,” she said. “It was great to see how well the programme is working, and how much the children are enjoying the chess club.”
Dan Staples, regional co-ordinator, said the children enjoy the game, with tutors holding lessons twice a week. Schools in York, Leeds and Bradford are among those now taking part in the scheme.
“The children are really enthusiastic, and enjoy it,” he said. “Chess teaches strategic thinking, problem solving, and a lot of softer skills that many employers are looking for.
“And, because they are playing against other people, it develops social skills as well.”