Welcome to the UK Chess Challenge


Easy to learn – a lifetime to master. Chess is that rare thing which has massive educational value and kids just love to play. We offer a range of classes and competition encouraging children to “Learn, Practise and Play”

For Schools

School Chess Tournament

Enter the UK Chess Challenge and introduce your students to the world of tournament chess.

With our lovingly made “Tournament in a Box” you have a ready made seven week warmup tournament programme that is easy to deliver and super-popular with the students who love the prizes and fun format.

About Us

We’re Sarah and Alex Longson and we run the UK Chess Challenge. We are family run business aiming to raise a generation of children with superpowers of critical thinking, confidence, resilience and empathy by helping them learn and play chess.

We live in Cheshire with our two young children Isabelle and Tobias. We met at a chess tournament (of course) in Gatwick 2011.

Sarah is legal graduate and former British Ladies Champion and member of the English Ladies international team. Many of her students have gone on to win national and European titles and represented the national team. Sarah is our Head Coach and personally oversees our classes.

Alex is a qualified accountant and manages the back office processes and writes our bespoke training material. He is a FIDE Master and former England junior international.

Why Chess?

Critical Thinking

Chess is all about making decisions, and having a full array of tools to assist in this:

  • Analysing the problem
  • Selecting and evaluating options
  • Knowing when to use intuition
  • Creativity and Learned Knowledge

Sense of Community

Chess requires Organisers, Volunteers and Teachers to make things happen.

  • Have fun
  • Meet new people & make friends
  • Respect for others and their ideas
  • Anticipate and react to your opponent’s intentions


Chess is a fantastic tool for developing character at a young age:

  • Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Understand consequence of decisions
  • Resilience in the face of defeat
  • “Growth mind-set” – learn from setbacks

Parents – What We Offer

International Academy

The ECF Academy is a joint venture with the English Chess Federation (ECF) for those students prepared to go the extra mile and keen on international selection. Every month there is a distinct chess topic and set exercises to help students achieve their goals.

Children's Online Chess Club

Our online chess club has proved a successful hit with students and parents alike. A great variety of class types designed to be hugely interactive, fun and educational. Choose from as many or as few classes as suits. World class tuition for a fraction of the cost of 121 lessons!

Delancey UK Chess Challenge

Now in its 26th season the Delancey UK Chess Challenge is once again open for some exciting chess action. Compete against players from all over the UK in range of formats and receive tips from past champions on how to level up your game.

What Our Customers Are Saying

Don’t just take it from us, let our customers do the talking!

” I really like the quizzes! I have learned a lot about positional play from the classes and I like the tournaments too.

Chess has taught me to persist even when things get difficult. ”


” My favourite part of the chess lessons are the quizzes.

Chess has helped me with my concentration and I’ve made lots of friends through chess”


“I really enjoy helping out in the UK Chess Challenge clubs – I’ve done a live stream commentating on a blitz tournament and played a simul against some of the other students ”


About the UK Chess Challenge

The UK Chess Challenge first took place in 1996 and has since grown into the largest children’s chess tournament in the world. The beauty of the event is that it welcomes all-comers from beginners to National Champions and schools from all corners of the United Kingdom take part. Some of our ex-champions have gone on to become Grandmasters or even chess coaches themselves.

It is a multi-stage event with some memorable event names: Megafinals (quarterfinals), Gigafinals (semifinals) and Terafinal (final). Experience the thrill of competition and pitting your wits against children across the UK.

2020 Statistics

Online Player Registrations

Online Games of Chess

Number of Moves

Resources for Parents

Top 10 Tips For Chess Parents

Whether you are a non-playing parent or know a thing or two about chess one thing is the same - being a chess parent is a challenging role. Knowing how best to support your child and help them get the best out of themselves whilst dealing with the inevitable highs and...

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Chess Learning Personas – Which one is your child?

Everyone learns in a different way and the last thing we would try and do is foist our own preferences onto another individual. Chess is no different and what worked for one player doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another. In this spirit we have...

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The Rising Tide of AI – Chess and Computers

A history of chess computing and a look into the future Deep Blue was intelligent the way your programmable alarm clock is intelligent. Not that losing to a $10 million alarm clock made me feel any better Chess has been an important hurdle in the...

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