PRESS RELEASE: The Chess in Schools and Communities Campaign (CSC) is working with the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe on a political campaign to garner support for chess to be introduced to schools Europe-wide.
The focus of the campaign is a written declaration which can be found here http://www.kcfe.eu/wd50.
This was sponsored by 5 MEPS from the UK, Finland, Italy, Bulgaria and Malta.
Written declarations need the support of half of all MEPs before it becomes binding on the European Commission to act up on them.
For the last 6 months Garry Kasparov and his team have been working tirelessly to secure the signatures of 380 MEPs. I am delighted to report that to date 377 signatures have been received!
Thanks to all those associated with CSC who wrote to their MEP's.
On Tuesday 14th February, CSC Chief Executive Malcolm Pein and Operations Manager Director Stefania Matthidi we travelled to Strasbourg to assist KCFE in a lobbying effort over 3 days while the European Parliament was in session.
There are a limited number of these opportunities and our first objective was to secure another 30 signatures to get to 300, at which point the campaign would gain the benefit of increased access to MEPs at subsequent sittings.
Immediately on arrival at Strasbourg we headed straight to Le Jardin de L’Orangerie, where we joined Garry Kasparov and French MEPs for cocktails organized by the Strasbourg chess club. It was lovely to meet IM Daniel Roos who I hadn't seen for something like 25 years and who is now in charge of a thriving club in Strasburg with 350 members and 16 schools.
Most of the following day was spent in the European Parliament. The Chess in Schools programme was presented to MEPs and members of the public by Garry Kasparov, Malcolm Pein and guest speakers including young players from Holland and Bulgaria who by the way spoke impeccable English! (pictures/link to pictures). http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcfe
The presentation was followed by Garry playing a simul against MEPs and children, a particularly enjoyable spectacle! Garry won all the games but one MEP from Slovenia put up stern resistance.
On the final day we attended a breakfast briefing at the European Parliament with MEPS from the Liberal bloc or ALDE. The meeting was organised by Graham Watson, an MEP for East Midlands who is the leader of the ALDE Group. Bill Newton-Dunn MEP for the Southwest of England also attended.
Garry spoke about the Chess in Schools programme and two coffees later we had to rush to get our connection to Paris and the Eurostar to London. The next session of the European Parliament is March 13-15th and KCFE will be seeking to get to 420MEPs signing the declaration as this would send a strong political message. So help us achieve our aim.
Please lobby your MEP!
To find your MEPs go to http://www.writetothem.com/
There are 8 MEPs for each region, write to all of them. Something along the lines of
I am writing to ask you to support Declaration 50/2011 on Chess in Schools which calls on the European Commission and the Member States to encourage the introduction of the program 'Chess in Schools' in the educational systems of the EU Member States. You can sign the declaration at the next session in Strasbourg.
You should add details of your chess experience; be it in schools, clubs or with your own children and mention the benefits of learning chess such as improvements in concentration, responsibility, memory, and social skills.
Please keep me informed of any feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org