Chess Introduction

Chess club runs on Tuesday at lunchtime in the Junior School and Thursday lunchtimes in the Senior school.

All levels of players are welcome, from absolute beginners to Grand Masters in the making.

We run in-school tournaments and also compete with local schools. Foyle students often enter the annual North-West Open Schools competition held in Lumen Christie, and we have distinguished ourselves on a number of occasions. Chess is a game of skill and strategy, but it also teaches so much more – here are just two positive benefits to playing chess:  


1.       You develop ACCOUNTABILITY

Many environments encourage accountability – chess promotes one that is entirely pure, and this is the key difference.

In chess, the entire competition is internal. There aren’t any elements that can influence this outcome outside the realm of your own mind. You either make better, equal, or worse moves than your opponent – there are no external factors.

To paraphrase Bobby Fischer: “There is no psychology in chess, only good and bad moves.”

There simply isn’t any reasonable way in chess to justify bad play other than taking responsibility for it personally.


2– You develop RESILIENCE


Many chess battles are defined by electrifying moves that abruptly change the dynamics of the game. Often the most unexpected moves are the most potent.

Few competitive environments promote imagination as a resource for handling seemingly inevitable defeat. Yet paradoxically, a little imagination is the solution for many of life’s issues – and even novice chess players learn to appreciate this very quickly.

As Ben Franklin once put it,

“We learn by chess the habit of not being discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources.”

The more a child becomes accustomed to the idea that surprises are inevitable and dealing with unexpected moves is the norm, the more she will readily be immune to distress when facing unexpected turns in life.

Thinking outside the box won’t always work, but a habit of persistently considering options that others might ignore inevitably leads to some unexpected successes – and this is where the magic begins. Players quickly realize the value of resourcefulness in place of discouragement.

Once children recognize that some difficulties can be handled entirely based on their approach to a problem, they gravitate to things that produce inspiration rather than despair when facing difficult situations – perhaps the root of real success.