I’ve been teaching chess since 1972, and in 1975 co-founded Richmond Junior Chess Club with the late and unforgettable Mike Fox. After Mike moved to Birmingham in about 1979, I ran the club myself until 2005/6.
Here’s what one of my private pupils, Jonathan Rowson (later three times British Champion and now a well known philosopher) said about me in his book The Moves that Matter:
… we lived on the same street as the celebrated chess teacher Richard James… His was the first ‘chess library’ I had seen, and he introduced me to the pivotal idea that chess can be studied. Chess thereby became not just a game to play but a world I could visit alone and make sense of on my own terms …
As the years went by, I gradually came to the realisation that children from my background, whose parents had no interest in chess, were no longer joining chess clubs and taking part in competitions. Neither the low level primary school chess clubs nor the increasingly professionalised junior chess clubs would have helped me.
I gradually retired from most of my teaching to concentrate on promoting chess in a way which would have helped the boy I was. However, I sometimes have vacancies for private pupils whose parents genuinely want to encourage them to see chess as a lifelong hobby.
I’ve written a number of chess books over the years. My book Chess for Kids, introducing young children to the game through a humorous story, has been an Amazon best-seller since its publication in 2010. I’ve also written a parallel book for parents, and a book for schools will be published later in 2022. I’ve also written a lot of privately published books which you can find here on the Downloads page.
I’ll be using the blog on this site to relate more about my life, and about my views on chess, education and childhood and how the three might interact.