It was Christmas 1978 when James received a chess set from his parents. After learning the basics, father and son set about playing a game they knew nothing about!
This introduction started a life-long passion for the fascinating mind sport. Unfortunately, despite playing in the school chess club at the time, there was a lack of any real training, and by the time he entered secondary school, he didn’t realise he wasn’t going to play chess properly again until he was 15.
Enter the new Chemistry teacher, who just happened to play chess seriously; we’re talking about blind-folded! With the aid of James’ new chess computer, together with the correct training, he engaged his brain to learn the complexities of chess craft. By 16, he was school champion, heading up the school chess club, and winning his school colours.
At the same time James joined the local chess club and proceeded to win many matches for them, eventually becoming club champion and continuing to win the title on several other occasions. During his tenure with the club he has set up a junior chess coaching programme, successfully coaching many juniors up to 1st and 2nd team county standard, while training their parents not to lose to their children!
He has been an active committee member of the Kent County Chess Association for nearly 20 years, and is still recognised as a Kent chess coach. In 1995, James also took on the role of Chairman for the Weald of Kent Chess Club (a position he still holds) and has enjoyed tournament success too, winning the Hastings International Chess Congress Intermediate in 1997, and the Major Championship in 2014.
Playing his way up the ranks, he has had the privilege of playing for Kent in many competitions nationally, while making 10 appearances at County Finals Day for his club; who have won trophies on several occasions across three County Cup competitions.
In James’ opinion, chess is not just a game – but a mind sport, one which challenges, questions, and determines the paths that we all take in real life; providing relevant skills to enable children and adults alike to make important decisions in their daily lives.
Having seen at first hand the difference he has made to so many, he is always inspired by the joy he sees when coaching players of all abilities. He firmly believes ‘Learn Chess’ is the gateway to an incredible new opportunity for anyone to enter the world of chess, and looks forward to passing on all his knowledge in a concise, clear, fun, and nurturing manner.