Paul Keech was born in Oldham in 1968 and started playing chess at the age of 8. He represented Oldham’s junior team at the age of 10 and then joined the newly formed 3C’s two years later. Some success in congresses and the local Manchester league followed, including a respectable performance in the Under 14 British Championship in 1983.
After taking a break in 2004 his enthusiasm was reignited in 2011 when he volunteered to run an after school chess club at his daughter’s school. He split his time between chess tutoring in two schools (St Thomas’ Primary, Moorside and East Crompton St James’ Primary, Shaw) and as a Performance and Data Officer working for Cheshire and Greater Manchester Probation Service. In addition he has also tutored offenders as part of the CGM CRC HOPE project (Help Outside the Prison Environment). I continue to play in the Manchester Chess League for Ashton Community Chess Club and have a current grade of 1775.
I did go into St Thomas’ Primary, Moorside (Year 3) and East Crompton St James’ Primary, Shaw (Year 3) once a week for one hour to develop chess skills within a classroom environment covering the full school year. Each school allowed this life skill to be pursued as part of their curriculum, as do many other schools across Manchester and many other parts of the country.
We positively encourage teachers to learn the game along with the kids during these sessions. Schools that encourage teachers to be ‘part’ of the lesson will gain the maximum benefit in terms of the kids developing the necessary skills to go to the next level.
Those who show the desire or ability to continue beyond the years teaching are positively encouraged to join the after school club on offer and if they so wish to play in local children’s competitions run specifically by Ashton Community Chess Club 5 or 6 times a year against children from other schools across the area. Many of which do so and perform very well against their peers (see Achievements page.
I am now a level 3 ECF Registered Chess coach.