On Saturday 1st February 2020, four teams from The Blue Coat School and their parents made the short journey to Hallfield School to compete in the regional quarter final of the National Primary Schools Chess Championship.

In the Under 11 section, our ‘A’ team played some fantastic chess and missed out on qualifying for the semi final by only half a point, the narrowest margin possible. On boards 1 and 2, Aidan Zhang and Alessandro Salvi faced the toughest opponents in the whole competition, and both scored an admirable 3/5. Richard Mahlberg-Schilling won two very good games in his first ever tournament, and Aiden Verma scored 1.5, which with a little more experience would have been more, as he had outplayed at least two of his opponents, only to allow stalemates. Harleena Grewal and Samuel Hodges added good wins on boards 5 and 6.

In our Under 11 ‘B’ Team, Henry de Bono faced very tough opposition on board 1, notching up an excellent win in round 3. Our star performer was Priyamvada Agarwal on board 2, who scored a magnificent 4/5. Freya Mangotra won two tough games in rounds 2 and 5, while Rohil Awasthi and Kush Rupal added 1.5 on boards 5 and 6.

In the Under 9 section, our ‘B’ team were only two points away from the semi final, after some good fighting games. Nihal Rai took up the challenge of playing on top board with gusto, and scored an impressive 3/5, while Adam Abdul-Galeel scored a solid 1.5 on board 2. Our top performer in this team was Wilf Crow-Marcetic, who scored a wonderful 4.5/5, undefeated. Thomas Hodges scored a commendable 2.5. On board 5 Ari Rupal didn’t achieve the results that his overall play deserved, as he took his time and battled hard against experienced players.

Finally, I’m very happy to report that our Under 9 ‘A’ team did fantastically well, and qualified for the semi final. On board 1 James Longworth scored a great win in the first round, and with a little more experience and a steady hand would have added more from some good positions. On board 2 Robert Miller also faced very stiff opposition, and scored 3/5. Siyao Ou added two good wins, while Thomas McGing on board 6 recovered well from a setback in round 2 to finish on 2.5. Kevin Ge lost only one game to score 3.5 on board 4. Finally, the star performer in this team was Siyuan Ou, who won every single game: 5/5! I can’t remember a Blue Coat chess player doing this in this tournament before – a real achievement.

It was a pleasure to see so many keen chess players concentrating hard and supporting each other in between rounds with consolidatory words after disappointments, and congratulations after hard earnt wins. Our Under 9 ‘A’ team can certainly look forward to the next stage of the competition with a lot of confidence. Many thanks to all the players and their parents for coming along, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

Jeremy Fallowfield