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St Nicholas' PS host Glenwood PS for a chess afternoon

Two primary schools in Northern Ireland got together for a few friendly games of chess. The event was a huge hit with the pupils and the organisers are hoping to make it an annual get together.

A report by Karina Campbell


A few months ago, Glen Willis, a teacher from Glenwood Primary School, contacted the UCU with a lovely update to say their club was going strong and the boards donated were still very much in use.


Glen wanted to know if we were able to put him in touch with another school with which he could arrange a chess meet-up. As it happened, I was already in touch with a pupil in St Nicholas’ Primary School to arrange a visit to the club and a donation of sets to the club. Fast forward a few months, Glen and Geraldine from St Nicholas’ got the two schools together and arranged a wonderful event for the kids and they were kind enough to invite me to the afternoon scheduled for 21st June.


St Nicholas’ played hosts to Glenwood who got the bus down in the afternoon and were welcomed by pupils Joseph and Marie-Therese as well as the principal at reception. The hall was set up wonderfully with St Nicholas’ pupils all set at the boards to welcome their opponents, as it happened there were not enough players so I stepped in for a few friendly games as well.


Time went by in flash and before we knew it, it was all over but not before each pupil in Glenwood received a lovely little snack bag from St Nicholas! It was wonderful to see all the pupils interacting and getting to know each other, with all the pupils being P7, the main talking point (other than chess of course) was where they were going to secondary school. Small world – pupils from both schools found they would be attending the same school next year!

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Glen Willis said the children really loved their experience and that they thought the school and its pupils were great. He commended Geraldine on how mannerly, polite, and friendly all the pupils were. He also suggests this become an annual event!

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Geraldine shared her thoughts on the event with me: “What a wonderful occasion to end our Chess Club year at St. Nicholas' Primary School! It was great to host the Chess Tournament with Glenwood Primary School. Everyone fully enjoyed playing against each other and hopefully we can repeat this event next year. Thanks to Karina for introducing us to Glenwood School.”


And finally, I was lucky enough to get a comment from the club president at St Nicholas’ PS before he finished up:

My name is Joseph Quinn, aged 11 and I am a P7 pupil at St. Nicholas' PS in Carrickfergus. I have been playing chess for 2 years with Greenisland Chess Club and I am one of the leaders of the chess club in my school, which our principal Miss Doherty encouraged us to set up last autumn.

At first we didn't have enough chess boards so my dad suggested that I write to Ulster Chess Union to let them know about our club. I received a reply from Karina Campbell. She agreed to visit our school and very kindly brought some chess boards from Ulster Chess Union. They have been put to good use!

Karina also arranged with our principal for a school in Belfast to play a chess match against us. After a few months, the big day finally arrived last week! There was a lot of buzz in our school as we saw Glenwood PS arrive in their bus, ready to play the chess match. It felt like watching a Premier League team arrive! Karina from Ulster Chess Union was also at our school again, which added to the occasion. The visit was to last about an hour so there was no time to lose!

There were 11 players from Glenwood on the bus and 12 St. Nicholas' players had been selected so the spare player played Karina in each round. I was pleased to win two and draw one of my three matches against Glenwood PS players. However, the most important thing was that my school friends and I were having fun, meeting new people our age and playing chess. The members of our club all agreed that the visit from Glenwood PS was very enjoyable and went in too quickly.

I will be leaving St. Nicholas' PS this week, Friday 30th June. In my last month at my primary school, I loved that we could play against another primary school chess club. It was an afternoon I will always remember and I am thankful to everyone who made it happen.”


Let’s hope both schools get to meet again next year for some more friendly chess.

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If you know of a school which would like help setting up a club or who would like to take part in an event like this, please do get in touch with us here at the UCU.