Academies take part in first inter-academy chess tournament

Pupils across 11 OAT academies were thrilled to take part in the Trust’s very first inter-academy chess tournament.


The competition came after 15 academies won funding to either launch afterschool chess clubs or develop existing clubs for pupils earlier this academic year.

The project was boosted with the encouragement of Ormiston Trust (OT) the parent body of OAT, and its Chief Executive James Murray, who is a keen chess player himself. OAT academies across the country took part in the online competition, with them having undertaken training since September.

There were over 10 rounds as part of the competition, with three students from each of the academies facing their opponents in a virtual chess battle to be crowned the heat winner. After a closely-fought battle, George Salter Academy, in West Bromwich, saw pupil Nikodem Malek crowned the heat winner after winning eight rounds, with one draw and one loss.

The next round of the competition in February will see the highest scoring individual player from each academy play in the final to become OAT champion. The project’s new equipment and resources have not only enabled the academies to run their chess clubs but have also increased opportunities for pupils to benefit from the wide-ranging advantages chess has to offer. These include academic skills, with the strategic thinking used in chess having a positive impact on the problem-solving based tasks needed for subjects’ areas such as maths, as discovered by the Education Endowment Foundation’s recent trial into the use of the game in schools.

The high level of concentration and focus required for chess is also supports pupils to develop their skills in daily tasks in all subject areas and boosts the social and emotional capabilities of the students involved.

The project’s Chess Championship Co-ordinator, chess fanatic Karen Giller from Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy (OSSMA), led the launch of the Trust’s first cross-Academy web tournament.

Jemima Waltho, Enrichment Manager of Ormiston Academies Trust, said:

"We are delighted to be building on our already strong reputation for providing high-quality enrichment opportunities and inspiring our young people to develop skills, talent and character whilst broadening their horizons, with the Trust’s first ever inter-academy chess tournament. The competition was a brilliant opportunity for pupils to put their knowledge and talents to the test, whilst developing new skills and experiences and playing alongside peers from our academies across the country."

James Murray, Chief Executive of Ormiston Trust, said:

"Ormiston Trust’s mission is to invest in the delivery of outstanding programmes and services that will nurture the kind of skills that the young people we support can take into adulthood, in order to achieve their potential.

"We are committed to improving the life-chances of children and young people and we hope our funding for the roll-out of chess clubs and chess competitions across OAT will aid us in achieving just that."

Chris Kendrick, Teacher of Physics at Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy, said:

"We’d like to thank OAT for organising such a great day. My pupils really enjoyed it and have been left feeling confident and energised for future tournaments."


Picture caption: Pupils from Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy competing in the chess competition