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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's programme I bring you an interview with Liam Murray who is secretary of Ficheall, a network of teachers around Ireland who teach chess in primary school. Among the topics discussed and the resources mentioned are the following:

  • Is chess a curricular or extra-curricular activity?
  • What students learn from playing chess: developing their social, cognitive and mental fitness skills
  • How he organises chess teaching in his own classroom, using the lesson plans on the website and adopting a “(mini-) game-based” approach
  • Organising a school chess tournament
  • Helping students lose and win gracefully
  • Using a points system to decide who wins a game of chess with limited time to play
  • Describing the game of chess (what is meant by checkmate and castling?)
  • History of the game
  • How chess compares to draughts
  • How children respond to playing chess
  • How Liam first became involved in teaching chess in schools when he was a student teaher
  • How different children respond to learning or playing chess
  • Playing face to face versus playing on apps or computers
  • Children getting better at chess over time
  • The “Masters” competition (for fifth and sixth class) and the “Budding Masters” competition (for third and fourth class).
  • Children playing chess from first class onwards
  • Why it’s good to play chess with players who are better than you (“If you’re not losing, you’re not learning”)
  • Resources available on the Ficheall website
  • The Ficheall network of teachers
  • How inter-school chess tournaments are organised (the “Swiss System, ” timing games)
  • The role of chess arbiters in inter-school tournaments
  • Relationship of Ficheall to Moves for Life
  • How Liam got interested in chess himself
  • Follow-on opportunities for children to play chess
  • Opportunities for playing chess in post primary schools (Leinster Schools Chess Association)
  • The use of clocks in professional chess games
  • What is school for/what are schools for
  • Volunteering with Graham Jones and the Solas Project
  • How he is inspired by the selfless dedication of teachers
  • Evidence-Based Teachers’ Network
  • Anseo podcasts
  • Book Bounce by Matthew Syed.
  • Book Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.
  • Book Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
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