Rachel Reeves has challenged Rishi Sunak to a chess game amid reported plans to install 100 sets in public parks – but noted “it doesn’t look like there are very many to go round”.
The shadow chancellor, a former junior chess champion, said green spaces in her constituency would “love” to receive one of the boards, but questioned the number reportedly to be made available.
The Prime Minister, also a keen player, is set to announce a funding boost of £500,000 for the English Chess Federation, with plans to expand the game in schools and parks, Bloomberg reported.
Funding from Sport England cannot be accessed for the game as it is not officially recognised as a sport in England.
Ms Reeves told BBC Radio 2 on Thursday: “I really hope we get one at a park in Leeds West … all of them would love to have one of these chess sets.
“It doesn’t sound like there’s many to go around, but also if Rishi Sunak fancies a game of chess, I’m happy to take him on too.”
An announcement is expected later this month and the Government is in talks with the federation about the best ways to invest in the game, Bloomberg reported.
The plans would involve installing 100 chess sets in public parks and expanding instruction in schools, according to the outlet.
Mr Sunak expressed his desire to get more British children playing chess, describing it as a “great skill” during a visit to Washington in June.
He said: “You know, I’m actually doing a little bit of work now on how we can get more people in the United Kingdom to play chess, because it’s so good for you.
“It’s a great skill and it’s really good for helping you think and it’s a great hobby.”
Downing Street and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have been contacted for comment.
Published: by Radio NewsHub