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Thursday, 09 January 2014
There was a definite ‘girls versus boys’ atmosphere today as the Girls’ Division Chess Team and Boys’ Division Chess Team B went head-to-head as part of the National Schools Chess Championships.
The teams of six were matched into pairs to play one game of chess each, with the winner receiving one point for his or her team and half points awarded for draws and stalemates. The team with the most points usually wins. However, the competition does operate with a handicap for younger players to accommodate age-differences, which can be significant: today’s match saw Girls’ Division students from Year 7 and 8 competing with boys from Year 7 to Year 10.
World-class player Sharon Daniel, fresh back from competing at the Youth Chess Championships in Dubai, is undoubtedly the star of the Girls’ Division team. However, as the girls’ chess club organiser Mr Heppleston pointed out, she can only win one point out of six overall. The other five players are equally important members of the team. The combined skills of all the girls are needed in order for them to do well in this year’s championship.
There was a tense atmosphere as the matches began and silence fell over the classroom. This was the first Round One match for both teams, and closely contested. However, by the end of the hour and forty minutes match time, the Boys’ Division Team B emerged with a narrow victory: 3.5 points to 2.5.
However, as each round comprises of a series of round-robin competitions, the girls are not yet out of the running. Both teams will go on to play Smithills, Stockport Grammar, and the Boys Division Team A before Round One winners are announced.
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