– Online Learning and Play is a site that allows children to play chess and study it online, either individually or in groups. It provides over 600 videos and lessons that help children to improve quickly.

This is invaluable during the coronavirus disruption but will also be a powerful learning tool afterwards, when the optimal improvement is likely to be provided by a combination of face-to-face practice and coaching and online study (and maybe even some old-fashioned books!).

Andy Basket, jointly with Martin Clancy, ran the Ringwood Junior Chess Group at Ringwood Library on a Saturday morning, one of the increasing number of successful junior chess library groups pre lockdown. Covid-19 caused these to pause but as Andy explains below they switched to using the online facilities, involving other Dorset junior groups along the way. Andy says…

We quickly moved online to Setting accounts up is very straight forward and the site is top quality and fully focused on child safety. We don’t include any identifying information to set up accounts – and children are given auto-generated nick-names.

Our first online Saturday tournament attracted 5 children who played 3 rounds of 10-minute blitz. After extending the invite to the wider Dorset Libraries Group, we ultimately have 25 children signed up and began running tournaments every day from the end of March until the middle of July. We ran 88 tournaments, usually 5 rounds of blitz which take the children around 50 minutes. We’ve had 13 playing some days and the average is around 7. So that works out at approximately 510 hours of junior chess, which is incredible.

More information on the way we set up the clubs and create the accounts together with the forms we used can be found here:

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