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Hay Does Chess

We review the first day of this year’s Hay Festival

Last week saw the opening of the Hay Festival, with primary and secondary school children being given the opportunity to visit the Festival and sample its unique atmosphere. The weather was miserable but the rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the hundreds of children who made the journey with their schools.

The Festival will continued this weekend and throughout week with a diverse line-up from the world of literature, the arts and sport. The likes of Henry Winkler were already in attendance, an accomplished actor who has become equally renowned for his children’s stories as he has for his portrayal of the “The Fonz” in Happy Days.

Over at the Scribblers Hut, the Stephens & George Centenary Charitable Trust gave children the opportunity to learn and play chess, a game which has numerous academic and social benefits.

Having launched a successful chess in schools programme throughout various schools in Merthyr Tydfil, the Charitable Trust were eager to take its programme to the Hay Festival. The Festival has previously shown an enthusiasm for the game, providing a couple of children the opportunity to play with the Duchess of Cornwall last year.

The Trust were delighted with the amount of interest shown in the game, with the Scribblers Hut becoming one of the most popular sections of the Festival. The children were keen to learn how to play and to develop the skills they had already gained in their school programme. 

The Daily Telegraph’s chief chess columnist and international chess champion Malcolm Pein was present at the workshop to share his knowledge with the children and help them with their development.
Life-size chess pieces were located outside the workshop, with both children and adults queuing up to test their skills. 

Charity Co-ordinator Helen Hughes had the opportunity to speak with Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans and was interviewed as part of their coverage of the Hay Festival. She explained the details of our Trust’s Chess in Schools Programme as well as illustrating the academic benefits associated in playing the game.

The Trust has thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Festival and grateful for the opportunity to display its chess programme alongside a fantastic line-up of authors, artists and actors.

Hopefully our presence at Hay will continue to inspire enthusiasm in the game for years to come.