Recognised chess challenge links up with children's author to inspire youngsters

A prestigious chess challenge for UK schools has won the support of a leading businessman and author. 

Lord Mark Price, Minister of State for International Trade, made the decision to support and sponsor the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge (the UK’s leading junior chess competition) in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of chess to young children. 

The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge, owned by previous UK Chess Champion, Sarah Hegarty, has been running for 21 years and has seen over 1,100 schools sign up to the challenge this year.  

As an avid chess player himself, Mark - who is also the former deputy chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and managing director of Waitrose - understands the importance of learning while young.

He said: “Playing chess regularly, can help improve critical thinking skills and cognitive function, whilst building confidence and coping strategies that will be useful in later life. Why wouldn’t you get your child involved in this wonderful and engaging game?Image removed.

“I’ve played chess since a young boy and after teaching it to my own children, I felt compelled to do something that would introduce the game to other children – in a fun and interactive way – The Foolish King does just that.”

Mark has sent a copy of his book, The Foolish King, to every school that has signed up to the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge for them to house in their school library for children to read and explore the world of chess. In addition, over 200 copies of his book will be sent to each Megafinal (the regional heats), for attending parents to read to younger siblings, while they wait.

Mark will also be attending the Terafinal on the 13th August and will present the UK schools’ champion and runner up with their cash prizes.

Commenting on Mark’s involvement, Sarah Hegarty said: “It’s great to have Mark involved in our school’s chess challenge. His involvement will help us get the message out there about the importance of playing chess and in turn reach even more schools, ultimately getting more children playing the game.”