F.A.Q 1 - Starting Out - What happens on training days?

The aim of this section is to answer questions, particularly for new parents. If you have any suggestions of questions you would like answered (or that you would have liked answered when you were new to SJC) please let us know!

The Coaching Team

Who can attend?

We cater for all ages and standards of play.

However, you must be either resident in Sussex or attend a school in Sussex to be eligible to attend.

What happens at Training Days?

SJC runs training days about once a month during the school year at various schools around the county.

Registration closes at 9.45am, after which children are placed in the most appropriate group, according to age, experience, and ability.

We aim for small groups - usually less than 10 for the younger sections - and our range of experienced coaches (see sidebar) ensures that everyone from experienced county players to beginners are welcome.

We try our best to ensure continuity of coaching across the season; allowing coaches to get to know their groups, and children to build positive relationships with the coaches and the other children in their groups. Many children have made lasting friendships with other children they have met through chess.


Generally, the morning sessions run between 10:00am and 12:30pm, with the afternoon starting at 13:30 and finishing at 16:00.

There will be at least one break during each half-day session - the younger age groups may break more frequently as dictated by the attention span of the attendees!

Full or Half Day?

During training, the morning tends to focus on more formal training, whilst the afternoon sessions are more loosely structured with children involved in activities such as simultaneous chess or mini tournaments.

Half day training is especially suitable for beginners and younger children.

Who are the coaches?

All our regular trainers are both experienced players and coaches; mostly with many years experience of coaching juniors in clubs or schools - see sidebar.

All have enhanced DBS clearance.

Do I have to attend regularly?

In short - no! Come as often as you like, and as fits in with your family's schedule.

However, highly motivated children aspiring to the county squads will benefit from regular input and bonding with their team-mates.

If you do find you are attending regularly, consider becoming a member of Sussex Junior Chess (application form), as this will save money on event entry and ensure priority notification of events.

What facilities are provided?

A full light refreshments service is provided at all events; comprising hot and cold drinks, tuck shop, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, bacon rolls and hot dogs at very reasonable prices.

Parents are encouraged to make use of the catering, as this is an important fund-raiser for SJC, enabling us to offer more events and subsidise travel to away venues.

Supervision - can I leave my child?

SJC are unable to provide the level of staffing needed to act 'in loco parentis'. Parents/Carers are responsible for their children at all times during the event.

Supervision duties may cover more than one child, so Parents/Carers may choose to 'team-up' for an event. We just ask that the name of the supervising adult is clear on the entry form.

If your child has any medical or other needs which may necessitate urgent or particular action during the day, we ask that you make this known to the trainer at the start of the session.

Video from a 2008-9 Season Training Session

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Photo of Jonathan Tuck, Training Manager

Jonathan Tuck
Coaching Manager

Mike Forster

FM Mike Forster

IM Thomas Rendle
Trainer Gareth Anthony

Gareth Anthony

Trainer Chris Jones

Chris Jones

Trainer Gary McCullough

Gary McCulloch

Trainer Dave Graham

Dave Graham

Photo of training session  

David "Chaski" Patrick