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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Prodigy's moves to promote chess
David Howell
David Howell says chess is a very exciting game
A 12-year-old chess master is flying around England by helicopter to promote the game among schoolchildren.

David Howell, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, became the youngest UK player to win a masters chess tournament, when he competed in an under-20s event in Hungary earlier this year.

Now David is spearheading National Chess Week starting next Monday.

He hopes to encourage more children to play chess, while raising money for the charity Barnardo's.

The youngster starts his tour at Eastbourne College, before being flown by Royal Navy helicopter to Barnardo's High Close School, in Wokingham, Berkshire, Badgerbrook School in Leicester and Somerset House in London.

Chess has a bit of a stuffy image and we are trying to make chess cool and show that playing chess is fun
Peter Evans, UK Chess Academy

He said: "My dad taught me the basic moves when I was five years old and since then I have just learnt from chess clubs and playing games.

"Chess is a very exciting game and unlike football it can be played in all weathers.

"Anybody can play chess and winning a game is a great feeling."

Organisers of the event hope the appeal of celebrity chess players will also boost the sport's following.

Professional player

Chart stars Madonna and Moby are both said to be keen on the game, while Lennox Lewis famously plays chess as part of his build up to heavyweight boxing bouts.

U2 frontman Bono wanted to be a professional chess player and admits to still being obsessed by the game.

Peter Evans, of the UK Chess Academy, said: "The motivation behind National Chess Week is to encourage more children to play.

"Chess has a bit of a stuffy image and one of the things we are trying to do is make chess cool and show that playing chess is fun."

The BBC's James Westhead
"The world's oldest game, now helping its youngest players"

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