More than 50 budding chess stars of the future competed at a tournament in Shropshire to take the first step on the road to being declared national champion for their age group.
Youngsters from under eights to under 18s did battle at the Shropshire Megafinal of the UK Chess Challenge, which was held at Wellington’s Charlton School. Those who came first or second or scored at least 4/6 have qualified for one of the competition’s regional Gigafinals taking place this month, while under sevens, under nines and under 11s scoring 3.5/6 also qualify. Trophies were presented to the top boy and girl in each section, and medals to those finishing second and third.
It was the first junior event of its kind held in the county, and organisers are already considering plans for a further junior tournament during the autumn term and potentially launching a schools’ league.
The UK Chess Challenge is the biggest junior tournament of its kind in the country and aims to encourage schools to enter players to give them a taste of competitive chess. Those qualifying from the local megafinals progress to either the northern or southern Gigafinal, and the highest scoring players from those will progress to the national Terafinal at Blenheim Palace on October 15 and 16 or attempt to book their place via the Challengers event in Daventry in September.
Chris Lewis, organiser and tournament director of the Shropshire Megafinal, said: “The day was a huge success and we hope the event was enjoyed by all. There was some brilliant chess played in the hall while outside the playing area it was wonderful to see the chess continue with our giant outdoor chess board a particular hit.
“This was only our first junior tournament and we plan to host more in future starting with the Shropshire Open Junior Congress at some point in the autumn term. We will also be exploring the possibility of a schools league in the new school year. I just want to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers (Francis Best, Dan Hilditch-Love, Andrew McCumiskey, Joe Greenwood and Kate Walker) without whom the event wouldn’t have been possible. Congratulations to all those who qualified and best of luck at the Gigafinals.”
In total, 55 players competed in the Shropshire Megafinal and the winners of each section were:
Supremo: Krish Gandhi (5/6)
Suprema: Lily Eru, Jocely Cheung (3/6)
Joint 2nd: George McCumiskey, Rudi Bedford, Shaswat Parmar
Supremo: Oskar Jarzynski (6/6)
Suprema: Amarishika Anbalagan (5/6)
Joint 2nd: Henry Bedford, Jayden Cheung, Joseph Roberts
Joint 3rd: Hugo Eru, Advait Rajinikanth, Ruya Kenz
Supremo: Kai Miller (6/6)
Suprema: Jennifer Greenwood
Joint 2nd: Dylan Prothero, Stanley Askin
Suprema: Lindsay Pyun (5/6)
Supremo: Sam Hollands (4.5/6)
2nd: Amanthika Anbalagan
Joint 3rd: Charlie Bethune, Arnav Rajinikanth
Supremo: Ansh Agrawal (5/6)
Suprema: Thalia Holmes (5/6)
2nd: Joe Hirst
3rd: Bowie Carter
Full results are available at https://chess-results.com/tnr645457.aspx?lan=1