A Rickmansworth school pupil insists she will only go from strength to strength after learning from the very best at the 6th London Chess Classic.

Arnett Hills JMI School’s Rebecca Rae was one of more than 2,000 children to have descended on Kensington Olympia for the showpiece Classic.

Staged by registered charity Chess in Schools and Communities, the event not only plays host to the world’s best players in a six-player classical all-play-all format but also allows children from across the country to get to grips with the sport.

Year 4 pupil Rebecca was one of those to make the most of the opportunity, receiving lessons from a grandmaster before showing off her skills against her peers during a series of matches.

And the eight-year-old admitted that, for her, the mental workout chess provides is the attraction of the game.

"I really enjoyed the day - I liked that we were asked to do a puzzle and then got to play games because I really like playing chess," she said.

"I liked playing against other people as well because I got to find out how good I am and I enjoyed winning.

"I've been playing chess for about a year and I like that it's all about moving pieces and the skill it takes to win a game.

"I'm not sure I want to become a professional chess player but I want to keep playing because it is fun."

The world’s greatest ever chess player Garry Kasparov, who from 1986 until his retirement in 2005 was ranked world No. 1 for 225 out of 228 months, was also in London to raise the profile of the 6th London Chess Classic.

Recent surveys by Chess in Schools and Communities found pupils as young as seven should be given compulsory lessons in chess amid claims it boosts concentration levels, numeracy and reading comprehension, and Kasparov admitted he was impressed with the level of talent Rebecca showed in the capital.

"This is a great initiative and I have been promoting this idea of having chess as part of the education system around the world," Kasparov said.

"And I am very happy to see the success Chess in Schools and Communities has had so far because it just shows that everyone can see the benefits - parents, headmasters, students and eventually the overall public.

"The benefits of kids playing chess at an early age is quite obvious, it improves their communicative skills, it helps them to appreciate the big picture - to see the outcomes of their actions, they can recognise patterns.

"Overall it helps their concentration, sense of logic and those are very important qualities for their success in school and having chess at the early days is important because it adds an extra tool to help kids get through modern education."