On 18th August 2017 a group of 13 players from Northern Ireland are travelling to Russia to play in a challenge match against Saint Petersburg. Four of these players are U18 - Daniil Zelenchuk (14), Edward Doak (17), Dexter Harris (8) and Adam Fitzpatrick (8). A series of successful fundraisers by Brendan Jamison raised £600 to help cover the travel costs for these children. Some additional private donations were also received and a very generous £150 business sponsorship from Language Training Solutions which went towards the visas for the children.
Director of CHESS NI Brendan Jamison states that "we offer our sincere thanks to Daniel Roberts and Joanne Ritchie from Language Training Solutions who share our passion for the educational merits of a cross-cultural chess match in Saint Petersburg, interweaving the role of play and creativity with learning new language skills and improving communication techniques. When chess players from around the world move to Northern Ireland and have little grasp of the English language, many begin their integration process by joining our local chess community. We get extremely excited by players from overseas who join us at Belfast tournaments as they greatly enrich the cultural life of the city. In recent years, we have welcomed players from China, India, Egypt, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and The Phillipines. Hopefully this trend will continue and expand over the next decade as Belfast enjoys a rebirth as a vibrant cosmopolitan city."