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Thursday, 06 November 2014
Eight chess teams from six schools came together in the Boys’ Division Great Hall for the regional final of the English Chess Federation Team Chess Challenge! The Challenge was first run last year, and its aim is to encourage more secondary school level chess tournaments.
Altrincham Grammar School, Smithills School, and Urmston Grammar School entered teams, while Bury Grammar School and the Boys’ Division entered an A and B team each. The Girls’ Division also entered, and their team included Year 8 pupil Sharon Daniel, who recently won the Child Genius competition and has previously played chess for England on an international level. The Team Chess Challenge is open to teams of four pupils under the age of eighteen, and participating schools had sent teams with a mix of ages from Year 7 up to the Sixth Form.
Mr Julian Clissold of Manchester Junior Chess orchestrated the tournament. He explained to the teams that they would be playing four rounds and the format would be a Swiss tournament. This meant that all players would, where possible, meet with competitors with the same score, and the winner would be the competitor or team with the highest overall score.
The tournament began: thirty-two competitors facing off across sixteen boards. With just ten minutes on each player’s clock, these really were brief blitz games that required a lot of concentration.
Finally, after just a few short hours of play, the four rounds were over and it was up to Mr Clissold to calculate the scores and announce the overall winner.
Mr Clissold thanked the English Chess Federation for sponsoring the event, and prompted a round of applause for Bolton School for hosting the event. He then commended the Boys’ Division A and B teams, who came in first and second place respectively. Finally, he announced that the overall winners of the tournament were the Urmston Grammar School team.
Boys’ Division maths teacher Mr Paul Costello, who also runs the School’s chess club, congratulated all of the players and said, “I hope that in the course of this afternoon you’ve enjoyed yourselves and managed to get something out of it. I also hope that, wherever this competition is held next year, we will see you all again.”
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