New children’s chess club opens in Harrogate

Harrogate Junior Chess Club
Harrogate Junior Chess Club

Harrogate now has its first ever junior chess club after a full intake of children signed up to learn the game.

The club opened its doors earlier this month due to popular demand, and already has 24 members aged between seven and 12, all pupils at schools in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

Chess tutor Patricia Sutcliffe runs after-school sessions from Oatlands Mount Social Club after seeing children enjoying the pastime when she visited Oatlands Infant and Junior School to introduce them to it.

The retired university lecturer taught her grandson Lucas to play when he was just five years old, and believes young children respond well to being taught event complex aspects of chess. Lucas has gone on to win several competitions.

“I can no longer keep pace with the numbers of children wishing to learn and, having realised that there was no junior chess club in Harrogate. I realised that there was a real need to establish one in the town. It is very rewarding to see the pleasure and enjoyment pupils get from playing the game. Encouraging them to take part in competition is all part of the fun of chess and helps the children to learn about team spirit and fair play as well as developing their competitive skills,’ said Mrs Sutcliffe.

Chess can help children develop logical thinking, concentration skills and self-discipline and it has been shown to improve numeracy and problem solving skills.

The venture is supported by the Harrogate and District Primary Schools Chess Association as well as Harrogate Chess Club for senior players. The club will not make a profit, and fees will be re-invested in equipment and prizes for its members.

It open to children aged 7-12 and costs £3 per session.

“To see children playing chess rather than computer games is wonderful and deserves some recognition,” she added.

For more information, contact Patricia Sutcliffe by email at