Family who are hoping to show young people how much fun chess can be
by Cathy Owen, South Wales Echo
Jan 3 2012

You don’t need to be an intellectual genius to play chess, Cathy Owen meets one Cardiff family hoping to show young people how it can be both fun and beneficial

WHEN Tim Kett was four years old, he begged his parents for a chessboard.

Decades later the father-of-two has turned his hobby into a business that teaches children the art of the game.

Even Tim’s wife, Sarah, and children Charles, 13, and David, 11, have picked up the chess bug and it is something the whole family enjoy together.

“Tim saw a chessboard when he was four and wanted to see how it worked,” explains Sarah, from Whitchurch, Cardiff. “His parents got one for him and from then on there was no turning back. He is a Welsh International chess player and Welsh Rapidplay Champion,

“I had played a little bit of chess before I met Tim, but when we had children and saw how much they progressed playing the game, I got very involved. It is a very accessible game in South Wales and the Welsh Chess Union is very active.”

Sarah became the development director of the union and the couple have enjoyed introducing chess into many schools in Cardiff and setting up an after school club for children interested in the game to take part.

“There is a big world movement towards playing chess,” explains Sarah.

“In Turkey, they have even included it in the school curriculum because the benefits are so immense. When it is introduced into schools, teachers have reported a definite improvement in behaviour.”

The couple have now set up their own company, TSK Chess, and are currently working in four schools in Cardiff.

“It has been a massive success in schools, especially St Paul’s in Grangetown,” says Sarah.

“It is used as an incentive for the children, if they get their work done they are allowed to get the chess sets out.

“In fact, the pupils have done so well that they came joint third in the Welsh Teams Championships and in their first tournament, six girls went and five came back with medals. A group of 40 pupils went up to London recently to watch some of the top players in the world competing at the London Chess Classic. They had a wonderful time and loved watching the Grandmasters in action.”

And what are their plans for the future?

Sarah laughs: “Our big target for the decade ahead? To see three Welsh Grandmasters by 2020!”

A chess club that is open to children of any age and ability, runs every Thursday at St Mary’s Church Hall, Church Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff, between 4pm and 6pm. The first session of 2012 will be on Thursday, January 12. The cost is £4 a session.

A new club is also opening its doors on Monday, January 16, at Marlborough Primary School, Blenheim Rd, Roath, between 3.30pm and 5pm.

To find out more about the clubs, visit or ring 029 2061 3870.


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