Dear Headteacher

A sample letter to schools. What do you think?

Dear Headteacher

We’re thrilled that you’re thinking of running a chess club at your school. We believe that chess is the greatest game in the world, as well as being an enormously powerful learning tool which, correctly taught, will enhance both cognitive and non-cognitive skills.

We are educators as well as passionate chess players. We understand how young children learn and process information and ensure that everything we do is appropriate to your children’s age and chess skills. We offer a wide range of possible solutions outlined in the menu below. Please feel free to contact us when you’ve decided which approach your school would like to take.

Beginners:

We offer clubs for beginners using our own methods based on best international practice. We believe that most young children benefit more from learning the game slowly, so our course takes a year to teach children all the rules, along with the thinking skills required to play well. We ensure that every concept has been fully mastered before moving on. We also provide materials to enable parents to reinforce the lessons at home.

Novices:

Informal play and puzzles for children who have mastered the basics. Clubs of this nature are suitable for children who enjoy playing casual games with their friends. We hope that some of the children in this sort of club will be inspired to move onto more competitive play. We recommend that children should pass a simple test before joining our Novices’ Group

Intermediate:

More serious games and instruction for children who are interested in playing low-level competitive chess, for instance representing their school. Our lessons will introduce children to basic tactics and strategy as well as teaching opening principles and simple endings. Children in this group will be expected to do a small amount of homework each week. Again we’d advise that children take a test to ensure they know enough to be able to access the material successfully.

Advanced:

We can also provide more advanced tuition for children who are interested in playing for their county, or even their country. While we could run this at your school, you may well prefer to encourage your more ambitious players to join our junior chess club where they will be able to meet up with children from other schools who share their passion.

If none of these options are suitable we can always tailor a course to your specific needs.

We can provide all the materials for you to run any of the above courses yourself, using a member of staff or parent with an interest in chess, or, if you prefer, we can provide a chess teacher to visit your school.

We can also help you run other chess events in your school: school championships, inter-class or inter-house matches, puzzle solving competitions and much else.

We’d also be delighted to come in at any time and talk to children, teachers, parents or governors about what we do, and to promote chess in your school.

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About Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy (www.chesskids.org.uk or www.chesskids.me.uk) and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard is currently the Curriculum Consultant for Chess in Schools and Communities (www.chessinschools.co.uk) as well as teaching chess in local schools and doing private tuition. He has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966 and currently has an ECF grade of 177.