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Please Sir, Can I Join Your Chess Club

This memoir describes Paul Wokes’ 51 years teaching in rural schools in Lincolnshire, England.

Paul’s determination to bring fresh experiences to his students starts with a chess club in the William Lovell School in Stickney. He follows this with a bridge club, then a badminton club, any of these being uncommon in such schools in the sixties. When his young proteges win chess tournaments, Paul knows this must open their minds to more than they could have imagined.

“Please Sir, can I join your Chess Club?” provides a close-up of these journeys of discovery, challenges, overcoming, and losses. The students’ stories will warm your heart, and sometimes sadden, but Paul never shies away from the truth.

This book includes Paul's attempt, at age 80, to regain his 1965 World Chess Marathon record by staying awake and playing chess for over 56 hours. In a Radio Lincolnshire interview, the interviewer commented,

“Paul, you have a very unusual way of keeping yourself refreshed, instead of sleep.”


“Yes, leaving my body under control. Astral travel,” Paul replied.

Please Sir, Can I Join Your Chess Club


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