Boris Johnson and Barclaycard throw their support behind Chess in Schools and Communities

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, attended the sixth annual London Chess Classic at Olympia London Conference Centre (OLCC), to throw his weight behind Yes2Chess, the new campaign by Chess in Schools and Communities’ (CSC) which is supported by Barclaycard.

The Mayor came to visit some of the 2,000 schoolchildren at the ten day event and to voice his appreciation of the game as an educational tool. The unique event, which started on 6 December and concluded on Sunday 14 December, is the UK’s largest chess festival and has been held at the OLCC since its inception in 2009.

London Chess Classic brings young chess players of the future together with the world’s grandmasters. Live contests from the world’s strongest players are staged in the Olympia Conference Centre’s Auditorium, while free chess activities and educational sessions for schoolchildren take place in its large east hall and foyer. A total of 153 chess tables are set up across the two spaces to accommodate up to 500 children playing at any one time. The young players enjoy free lessons, take part in tournaments and also get the chance to meet and watch the Chess masters in action.

Boris was attending the event’s fifth day, on Wednesday 10 December, to support Yes2Chess, a new schools’ internet chess community for primary and elementary schoolchildren.

Tao Bhokanandh, Operations Director at CSC, said: “It’s great to be back once again at Olympia London's Conference Centre. The venue meets all our requirements including the capacity to run distinct events simultaneously. We also find Olympia’s technical teams to be excellent each year, providing first class audio visual so chess players and enthusiasts from all over the world can watch the nailbiting grandmaster games live.”

Anna Golden, Commercial director at Olympia London said: “London Chess Classic is a wonderful event that reaches out to hundreds of schoolchildren from all over the UK. We are always delighted to host it and were especially pleased this year to receive a visit from our special guest, Boris Johnson. The mayor made the most of the venue’s central and well connected London location, before nipping back on his bike to recommence his mayoral duties."


Notes to editors

About Olympia Conference Centre

Situated in the heart of London, Olympia and the surrounding area are exactly what any international visitor would expect of the Capital. With areas such as Knightsbridge and Notting Hill on the venue’s doorstep, delegates can make the most of the exceptional range of museums, restaurants, shops and hotels.

Olympia London is within 40 minutes of all main London airports and is also the only venue in the Capital with a dedicated rail station. Kensington (Olympia) station is onsite and served by up to 16 trains an hour. The venue is a 22 minute taxi ride from Heathrow and 45 minutes from Gatwick Airport via train.

Set across one floor, capable of seating 449 delegates in a purpose built auditorium, Olympia Conference Centre offers 1,768m2 of exhibition and break out space. Recent investment has resulted in newly configured facilities designed to give a better workflow for delegates and a major IT investment keeps meeting planners and guests up to speed with the omnipresence of online working. Its customer service teams are award winning, most recently winning Best Conference Venue Customer Service at the 2014 Conference Awards.

About Chess in Schools and Communities

Chess in Schools and Communities is a charity committed to improving children's educational outcomes and to foster their social development by introducing them to the game of chess in schools and inner city communities. CSC also aims to raise the profile of chess and highlight its educational and social benefits. It has hundreds of participating schools all over the UK, which receive benefits including teacher training in chess and free activities days at London Chess Classic.

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For further information please contact:
Belinda Liversedge, Communications Manager, Earls Court and Olympia  / +44 (0)20 7370 8838