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Say Yes to Chess Update: New York to London Print E-mail
By IM Malcolm Pein   
March 19, 2015
Yes2Chess is a new chess community developed by the UK charity Chess in Schools and Communities and sponsored by the international credit card company Barclaycard which will allow elementary school children from all over the USA to play games against each other and other children around the world in a safe, online environment. All you have to do is get your school to sign up.

Best of all, it's completely free!


The Yes2Chess online chess zone where elementary school children from all over the globe can play each other on a specially designed area of playchess.com. There is one room for each participating country and one the Free Playing room for friendly games between children from different countries.

The Yes2Chess programme was inspired by the 2013 ‘Barclaycard Challenge', held at the Alsterufer tournament in Hamburg, Germany. This annual event sees over 2000 children play a match which pits children from one side of the River Alster against the other. To kick of the event, a Hamburg school team played a remote match on Playchess.com against Barham Primary School from Wembley, London.


IM Malcolm Pein, CEO of Chess in Schools and Communities, with Barham Primary's pupils and CEO of Barclaycard Europe David Chan. There is even a Grandmaster in the picture. Do you recognize him?

Some games and fragments from the 2014 event here. Malcolm Pein of Yes2Chess says, "Columbia Grammar got through the US group after an incredibly close match with Yung Ping, also of NYC."

Colombia Grammar - Yung Ping

Yes2Chess US final, 05.07.2014

The moment that could have swung the US final on the Yes2Chess server. Black to play wins after Kb2  1...Kb2  2.h5 c3+ 3.Kd3 c2 4.h6 gxh6 5.gxf6 c1Q. [Instead there followed 1...fxg5 2.hxg5 c3+ 3.Kc1 1-0 And with the match tied 2-2 Columbia won this board and qualified for the final in London]

Yes2Chess Blindfold Exhibition match

The teams spent a day touring London on July 7, 2014, the highlight of which was a reception at Parliament hosted by legislators from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Chess which has been set up to support the cause of chess in schools and the game generally. A similar group has been formed on Capitol Hill. 



Engel,Luis (1984) - Lencz,Harris [B40]

Yes2Chess   08.07.2014

The teams from Germany and the US were the favourites and duly made it to the final but the Germans proved too strong on the day. Luis Engel was far and away the strongest player on show. Here he defeats Columbia's board 1
with a well prepared and well timed central break. Harris showed his mettle by holding Howell to a draw in a simultaneous: 


Howell,D - Lencz,H [A05]

Columbia Preparatory School Simul Yes2C, 23.07.2014

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.b3 g6 3.Bb2 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Qe2 0–0 6.d4 Nbd7 7.Nbd2 c5!


Excellent. White is given a choice between a bad Sicilian or a bad Benoni

8.d5 a6 9.0–0–0 b5 10.h4 Re8

10...Qc7 Has more aggressive intent but this is not a bad move.

11.h5 Nxh5 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Qe3

13.g4 Nhf6 14.g5 Nh5


Making it absolutely safe at the cost of some inconvenience but Black is a pawn ahead and has his own attack ready to roll

14.g4 Nhf6 15.Qh6+ Kg8 16.Bh3 Qf8! 17.Qf4 Qg7


Combining defence and attack in an imaginative way

18.Kb1 a5 19.Nf1 a4 20.Ng3 axb3 21.cxb3 Ne8 22.Nf5!? gxf5 23.gxf5

Now Harris saw he could force a draw but 

23...Kf8 24.Rhg1 Qf6; 23...Qf6 Are both good for Black

23...Qc3 24.e5




25.Rhg1 Rxa2!?



25...Rxa2 26.Kxa2 Qc2+ 27.Ka1 Qc3+ 28.Kb1 Qxb3+ 29.Kc1 Qc3+; 25...Rxa2 26.Kxa2 Qc2+ 27.Ka3 b4+ 28.Ka4 Qa2+ 29.Kb5 Qa6#; 25...Nxe5 still wins ½–½

The Yes2Chess programme has three facets:

1.      Online chess community: When a school joins Yes2Chess, they are given unique log in details for up to 100 of their pupils to access the Yes2Chess server absolutely free. As well as friendly games, children will have access to lessons, as well as mini games and other enriching chess activities.

2.      Yes2Chess International Challenge: At the heart of Yes2Chess is a five player team tournament, which is also completely free to enter. Each school can enter up to 20 teams, with their strongest player on board one and their weakest on board five. Each team will be placed in a group of five and play four online matches against teams from all over the US. The winners of each group will enter the knockout stages, where they will play an indeterminate number of rounds. The last team standing from each country will receive a trip to London, England to compete at Finals Day in from June 21-24 !!

What's more, the finals will be staged at the iconic Hyde Park alongside one of the UK's biggest music festivals called British Summer Time see http://www.bst-hydepark.com/


The server is identical to PlayChess, minus the chat function.

3.       Yes2Chess Volunteering Programme:

As part of Barclays corporate citizenship program, over 300 Barclaycard employees around the world have signed up to volunteer for local Chess in Schools projects, most notably England, Germany and Portugal:


Barclaycard UK employees at the 5th London Chess Classic (December 2013).


The Barclaycard learning zone at the  5th London Chess Classic (December 2013).

Incidentally, the London Chess Classic was won by Hikaru Nakamura and also featured some Pro-Celebrity matches. Here Nakamura teamed up with the UK rapper Lethal Bizzle against Michael Adams who played with two children who had attended the schools events that day.


In addition, on 19th December 2013 Barclaycard Manhattan hosted a ‘Corporate Chess Challenge'. 27 New York City high school students were given a tour of their offices, followed by advice regarding college applications and careers. This culminated in a three round chess tournament, which the students won comfortably!

So, how do you sign up to Yes2Chess?

All your school has to do is designate a teacher to complete a short application form, after which you will receive a link which will enable you to download the necessary software to your school's computers. The process is very simple and will only take a couple of minutes!

Please visit http://yes2chess.org/usa/register/ to register your school.
Yes2Chess FAQ

What is Yes2Chess?

Yes2Chess is a free online schools' chess community which is designed to bring top class chess resources, online play and an international competition to primary school children.

Who can join?

Children aged between 7-11 in schools from the UK, the USA. Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Denmark are eligible to join.

How many children can play?

Each school may sign up to 100 pupils to the Yes2Chess server, where they will be able to play chess against children from all over the world in a safe environment.

Is it secure?

Only children who are registered to Yes2Chess by their school teacher or chess tutor will have access to the chess server.

There is no chat function between players

We do not capture any pupil information, including pupils' names.

Each child will have a unique username that only their schools will have access to.

Do children have to be good players?

Not at all. They just need to know the rules of chess and later this year we will be offering free lessons to those that don't know how to play!

How does the tournament work?

Participating schools will be placed in groups within countries, the winners of which qualify for a knockout stage. Schools can enter up to 20 teams, each consisting of five players, who must have been born after 1st January 2002. The winning teams from each country will receive an all-expenses paid trip to London to take part in the final! 

Why chess?

Learning chess has been shown to improve children's educational and social development. Chess develops children's critical thinking and logical reasoning skills, whilst helping to improve their memory and concentration. The game also facilitates children's emotional development by promoting imagination and creativity, teaching that success rewards hard work, building self-esteem and encouraging good sportsmanship.

How do I sign up?

There is a short application form to complete, after which you will receive a link which will enable you to download the necessary software to your school's computers. The process is very simple and will only take a couple of minutes!

To join the Yes2Chess community, please go to: http://yes2chess.org/usa/register/