The UK Schools’ Chess Challenge is the largest chess tournament in the world. Over 40,000 children across the UK enter the tournament every year, initially starting in their school chess club. The highest placed players from this qualify for their area ‘Megafinal’, roughly the top 20% of entrants. The leading Megafinalists go onto the penultimate stage of the competition, the ‘Gigafinal’ – roughly the top 5% of entrants. To reach the ‘Terafinal’, the final stage of the competition, is a special distinction. It represents roughly the top 0.5% of entrants and you must have finished in the top three players in your age group to qualify. It thus signifies your status as one of the leading chess players in your national age group.
 
Congratulations to Jai in Year 3 who took part in the later Staffordshire Megafinal and scored 6/6, the only Blue Coat chess player to score 100% in a Megafinal this year. Congratulations also go to Abhav, Avni, Nihal and Arjun in Year 2 who played in the Midlands Gigafinal in the Under 7s scoring 2.5, 2.5, 2 and 1 points respectively; a very solid performance for their first Gigafinal! Jai in Year 3 scored a very creditable 3.5/6 in the under 8s, while Aarav in Year 4 also scored well with 3 in the Under 9 section. In the Under 11 section Josh and Ansh battled hard against very experienced opposition, scoring 1.5 and 3 points respectively. Well done to you all!
 
Our star in this section was Tristan, who finished 2nd in the U11 Boys’ section, a field of 46 players, with a most impressive 5/6. Tristan qualifies for the Terafinal – the first Blue Coat player to do so. Many congratulations on such a wonderful achievement! Tristan finished ahead of members of the England national team and many others who rank among the best chess players in his age group. The day lasted almost eight hours and there were many tough games. Tristan demonstrated not only skill, but determination, maturity and a true sportsman’s attitude. At the prize-giving he could be seen happily talking away to his fellow competitors, most of whom he had met that day for the first time. Despite the long, tiring day, he kept a smile on his face right till the end. Congratulations, Tristan!
 
Mr Fallowfield