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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Chess master, 7, quits school
Chess game
The seven-year-old recently beat adult players to win 220 in prizes
A seven-year-old chess champion has been pulled out of school by his parents after a row over skipping lessons to practise the game.

Peter and Carol Williams decided to teach their son Peter at home in Alton, Hampshire, after the local education authority refused to give him time off for training sessions.

Peter's school, St Lawrence Primary in Alton, had blocked a request to give him a day off every week to play chess.

Peter has dazzled experts with his talent for chess since the age of five - beating scores of older children and adults.

I like the money and the trophies - I want to be the best
Peter Williams, aged seven

Most recently, the prodigy won the top prizes of 100 and 120 respectively in the Central London Adult Rapid Play and Adult Long Play championships.

He has also won several junior tournaments, including the mini squad under-nines championships last year.

Peter said on Tuesday: "I like the money and the trophies. I want to be the best."

His father added: "Peter is the best chess player of his age in the country.

"We just want him to have the very best chance.

"We wanted him to have time to study and, as children of his age learn best in the morning, we wanted to take him out of school one day a week.

"But the school and the local education authority were treating it as truancy. It's a disgrace really."

Mr Williams said he expected Peter will remain out of school until he is old enough to go to secondary school, where he hopes the timetable will be more flexible.

'Difficult situation'

A spokeswoman for Hampshire County Council said rules for attendance stipulate a child can only have 10 days of authorised absence a year.

The spokeswoman said: "It is a very difficult situation. The father is wanting something that is not possible.

"We have to ensure we are giving Peter every possible opportunity and fulfilling our legal obligations and responsibilities.

"We are continuing to support the family and the local education authority will be there to support them with the curriculum to ensure Peter is being taught adequately at home."



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