"One can do a great deal of good in this world, if one doesn't care who gets the credit for it"

This is what people have said about us: 

Carl visited HMP Wakefield on the 24th August. We have a lot of avid chess players here who eagerly awaited his visit. Carl pit his wits against 9 prisoners and one member of staff in chess games simultaneously. It was astonishing to see a group of men who would normally not even be in the same room together let alone have a group discussion. But they were all in the chess zone, totally focused on their own individual games. Carl was amazing I don’t know how he played all those games at once and the prisoners were in awe of him.

Once the tournament was finished Carl answered many questions from the group who were enthralled in his knowledge and anecdotes. This has made it evident that chess breaks down barriers between people, and brings people together harmoniously with a common interest and goal to play and improve their chess skills. This is something that we will endeavour to  repeat at Wakefield in the future to build a regular chess tournament amongst different groups of prisoners and staff. The books that Carl gave us were donated to the library so that have the opportunity to read them. The magazines were given out to the participants to read and share on their respective units.

Thank you Carl for your visit both the prisoners, staff and smt were amazed at your skills and whilst prisoners were playing against you they were no longer in prison, they were in that game of chess mind, body and soul and prison didn’t exist. It shows the power of chess and the lessons that can be transferred to daily life and how it can mitigate some of the pains of imprisonment

Christine Lindsay August 26th 2022

Thank you very much for, Carl. It is great that you were able to find time for Alexey. He likes your lessons as much for your company as for the subject, I think, if not more. We do not have close family here and I am sure you are an inspiring mentor to him. 


When I arrived in the Chapel it was so peaceful and quiet. It was a real pleasure to observe the men concentrating to try and outwit Carl Portman, the chess master. The levels of respect shown throughout were exceptional. I am sure there will be funds (Louise, let’s explore) to procure extra chess sets that ALL prisoners can access. I also think will prove a positive catalyst to calm some individuals down in cells and on houseblocks. Perhaps some staff have old chess sets they no longer use at home?

Darryl (HMP Hewell and The Grange)

What a fantastic day.  Thank you so much for coming to our lovely prison.  I have to say I was exhausted after it all, can’t imagine how you were feeling.         I can honestly say it was my best day so far here. 

Lorraine (HMP Hewell and The Grange)

'The Contribution of Mr. Portman cannot be overstated and his consistent enthusiasm, patience and general passion for the game continues to delight Dragons of all ages'.

Tom Aubrey Fletcher - Dragon School (November 2017)


Well - what an incredible, amazing, fabulous, fun-filled, fast-paced, entertaining (I could go on…) lunch time that was. I’m worn out just thinking about it.       Where do you get your energy from? The photos will show all of the above and more. Consternation, contemplation and concentration… it’s all there in their faces. A humungous thank you once again for yet another rapid-fire simul. That’s what the students asked for, and that’s what you gave them.

Antonia Hedges - Gosford Hill School (April 2017)

Dear Carl,

Thank you very much for the excellent Talk you gave to our WI on Tuesday. The topic was a fascinating one and your insight , together with your many personal experiences of the Rain Forest, made it a most enjoyable afternoon for us all.

With best wishes,

Eve  (November 2016)

Thanks again for your time, energy, skill and generosity. You came across as a genuine kind caring person who really wants to promote chess in prisons.

Inmate – HMP Prison Bure (May 2016)

Well, another brilliant lunch time packed with tension, possession and concentration.

Thank you so much for coming to visit us at Gosford Hill once again. I can't believe it's been a whole year - far, far too long. As ever you were your incredibly focused self, spinning around in the middle of the simul layout, ready to strike with your moves. I've hopefully got some great pics.

Antonia (May 2016)

Hi Carl. I want to say a massive thank you. Your talk was completely brilliant. You saw from the great warmth people showed you afterwards how much you had got through to them" Charlotte - British Heart Foundation March 2016

Sue has been a huge advocate ensuring we have the right access profiles to ensure data is right. Sue's SAP knowledge has been extremely helpful in making an implementation successful. Thanks.

Erin and team (18 June 2015)

'Sue, congratulations on this collaborative partnership that has allowed to
accomplish this great achievement well and in a very short period of time. Well

Thanks, Enrico

'Our chess players enjoyed attending your session enormously.  I saw a clear increase in enthusiasm, focus on the game, improvement in basic skills and a willingness to try out more sophisticated moves and techniques.  Parents commented that their children were becoming much harder to beat (at chess!) at home, and the chess team noticeably gained in confidence and maturity at matches.  I was also really impressed by the way you were able to give individual feedback to players (especially via the little green cards), as well as delivering useful sessions to the whole group'     


'As a member of Cropredy WI I thoroughly enjoyed your talk on the rainforest and would certainly recommend it.  You were very enthusiastic and clearly very knowledgeable.  Interesting pictures and some rather sobering ones, particularly those showing the hidden dangers of the forest.   It was also  lovely that your wife accompanied you and was able to give her perspective on your adventures.  I can also confirm that we weren't exposed to any dangerous specimens!'                                                                                                                                                  


"Thanks so much for all you have done – the children are learning so much and loving it too so I couldn’t ask for anything more".               

Kingsley (December 2013)

"Your firm encouragement is just right. I can see Seb becoming more confident as a result"

"Carl was one of the most enthusiastic speakers that the club had booked"
Milcombe Garden Club

"It was always a pleasure to be working with you"
Neil Firth, Director LGS

"Your efforts and interaction throughout the process gives me great confidence and is particularly useful to me as I move roles"
RAF Group Captain

"It must be satisfying to know that you contributed in so many different roles to the delivery of critical Defence outputs"
Ursula Brennan, Permanent Under-Secretary of State

"Your colleagues will sorely miss your knowledge, wisdom and sense of humour, and your commitment to the ideals of excellent support to management"
Mark Hutchinson, Chief Executive, Defence Business Services
'Just keep in mind we had feedback on every presentation and yours received by far the highest score. More than 80% gave it the highest possible rating and you were the only one with a standing ovation. So however you feel about watching yourself - for the audience to say it was a treat is an understatement'.
Beth Sweesy, St. Jude Medical
'Sue -just wanted to take the time and say you do a great job keeping people in line and following the change/release management processes. Throughout the years you have been consistently following the process and I just want to say thanks for doing that'.
Ryan Wermager
Caissa Consulting
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