Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC), a charity that uses chess to help children’s educational and social development, is pleased to announce ChessFest, a three-day programme of events to encourage everyone to get ‘on board’ with the great game of chess.

ChessFest will take place from 16th-18th July at locations in central London, drawing on the chess theme of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass”, and culminating in a day of chess activities open to the public at Trafalgar Square on Sunday 18th July.

The opening day sees 300 children from 30 inner-city schools across the UK in the charity’s Classroom Chess programme invited to the capital for a day of chess fun, with a tournament and a Mad Hatter’s Chess Party on the agenda. Children will also be visiting the V&A museum to see their exhibition of Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser.

The closed school’s event, on Friday 16th, will also see the children try on 15th and 16th century armour from the Wallace Collection, and become real ‘knights’ on the chess board.

Sunday’s Trafalgar Square public event will include:

–       Free chess lessons for children and adults from professional chess teachers and top UK players.

–       ‘The World Giant Chess Championship’ – 6 giant chess boards for people to play on

–       A human chess game based around Alice Through the Looking Glass performed by professional actors. 

–       100s of chess tables for children and chess fans to play each other.

–       Challenge a Grandmaster at speed chess.

–       Blindfold Chess exhibition.

–       Giant screens broadcasting online games between players in London, Liverpool and St Petersburg, Russia.

Lewis Carroll’s famous work celebrates its 150th anniversary of publication this year, and children attending are encouraged to dress up as the book’s characters.

The event will also celebrate the 170th anniversary of ‘The Immortal Game,’ acclaimed as the most brilliant game in the 1,400-year history of chess, which was played at Simpson’s in the Strand, just a few hundred yards from Trafalgar Square.

ChessFest will leave a legacy for London as CSC will work with local councils to install giant chess sets and concrete chess tables in London parks to enable chess to be played all year round as in New York, Paris, Amsterdam and other cities.