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Leading the way in British school chess

One of the most popular activities at Woodbridge, chess has long been an integral part of School activities. Apart from being fun to play, chess is known to help develop particular transferrable skills for academic and everyday life and Woodbridge is unique in offering private lessons during the academic day.

Educational benefits

Chess can not only support the building of strong analytical and decision making skills, but the pattern recognition it encourages can lead to better results in Maths and Science too.  Time management skills learned can transfer to exam conditions and higher order thinking encourages recognition of consequences.



We offer chess lessons from Year 2 onwards in Prep School, and Year 7 to Year 13 in Senior School; students can either learn individually or in pairs.

From Year 9 onwards students come out of academic lessons on rotation to ensure no lesson is missed more than twice per term.  Each lesson lasts 35 to 40 minutes and is typically based on 30 lessons per academic year; 12 in the Michaelmas Term, 10 in the Lent term and 8 in the Trinity term.



Catering for all ranges, ages and ability there are a number of clubs on offer in both the Prep and Senior School. In particular Chess for All is held Mondays after School and is open to all students, parents and the local community, and Seckford Scheme chess for Year 9 and above is run by Dr Wharam offering an informal way to wind down the week whilst studying expert games.


Awards and tournaments

As well as having clubs and private lessons, there are a variety of tournaments and chess-related activities in School throughout the year.

The Tony Miles chess trophy is presented each year at speech day, awarded to the student who has made an outstanding contribution to chess at Woodbridge.

The Junior Chess Open takes place each year during Michaelmas term and the Suffolk Chess Megafinal is held in School during the Trinity Term.

A knockout competition in which the whole of Year 7 participates, the Mileham Shield is one of the highlights of the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. The final of the competition is played in the science lecture theatre and is quite a spectacle!


Scholarships and bursaries

Woodbridge offers a chess scholarship as well as various bursaries to outstanding and committed students, including boarders from all over the world.  We’re extremely proud to have produced three England internationals ‘from scratch’ from the local area including German boarding student Oliver who became a FIDE Master and German Under 18 champion in 2018.  Another student, this time from Australia, became an International Master shortly after leaving Woodbridge, later gaining the Grandmaster title in 2018, the highest possible level in chess.

Want to find out more

Private lessons, clubs, tournaments and chess related activities go on throughout the year. Our clubs cater for all ages and abilities.

For more information please contact: admissions@woodbridgeschool.org.uk

Meet the staff

Adam Hunt, Head of Chess 

Mr Hunt teaches chess full-time at Woodbridge, as well as being a tutor.  Having played chess since the age of four, he became the British Under 14 champion by the age of ten and British Under 18 champion at the age of fourteen.

Mr Hunt became an International Chess Master in 2000 and started teaching at Woodbridge in 2003, having completed his degree in Biology and Management at Sussex University.

Author of ‘Chess Strategy, Move By Move’, Mr Hunt has also coached the English Junior team at a number of events including the World Junior and European Junior championships.

Appointed as Co-Head Mentor of the English Chess Trust ‘Accelerator Programme’ in 2020 he worked with the top English chess talents to assist them with progression to full senior international level.

And it doesn’t stop there – Mr Hunt has two GM norms to his name and ambitions of becoming a Grandmaster.


Dr John Wharam 

Dr Wharam set up chess at Woodbridge in 2000 and supports Mr Hunt with all chess activities in School, including management of the ever-popular Seckford Scheme chess option.  Responsible for the establishment of the chess club, its success led to the introduction of individual chess tuition and working with professional coaches.

His career includes 12 years as a School Inspector, various roles as Housemaster, Head of Department and most significantly 10 years as the Director of Teaching and Learning at Woodbridge School.

Having gained the International Master title in 2012 and the Senior International Master title in 2014, Dr Wharam has also played on Board One for England and won the semi final at the World Championship.

He enjoys playing blitz chess online, as well as relishing the greater depth of thought and creativity demanded in correspondence chess.