Four pupils from St Saviour’s Junior School in Bath are on their way to the London finals of a major UK chess tournament after being recognised as among the very best chess players in the country in the South West regional finals.
The four were among a team of 11 from the Larkhall school who all qualified to compete in the Delancey UK Chess Challenge ‘Bristol Megafinal’, making them one of the largest teams fielded from across the West.
One pupil, Spike (aged 9), was awarded the Supremo Trophy for winning the Under 9s category in a field of 60, qualifying for the national finals, ‘the London Gigafinal’, in Twickenham next month (July 22). His score of six puts him right up in the top 2% of young chess players in the U.K. (anyone scoring four or above in their category is recognised in this elite group).
Finn (aged 10) won the Silver in the Under 10s category, while Joel and Konrad – in the Under 10s and Under 9s respectively – also scored enough points to be recognised in the top 2% and qualify for the forthcoming national finals.
Anna (age 8), one of the team’s youngest players, scooped a bronze medal in the Under 8s.
Earlier this year, St Saviour’s hosted the ‘Somerset Grand Prix’ where over 70 children took part from across the county. The school’s 11 strong team won an incredible third of the total points on offer.
Chess is played at the school in a lunchtime club run by parent Jeremy Doyle and supported by Year 5 teacher Pam Bauer and parent Kulsoom Middleton.
Headteacher Joe Beaumont said, “Chess is an extremely successful lunchtime club at St Saviour’s and has grown hugely in popularity at the school thanks to some incredible support from parents and staff. This year we had 11 qualifiers for the regional finals compared to three last year. The individual performances were outstanding as was our team performance.
“The children are now practising hard for the nationals and we are hoping to bring some more trophies back to Bath. We are very proud of our future grandmasters.”
Club organiser, Jeremy Doyle, added, “It has been incredibly inspiring to see how the children have responded to chess and how they want to learn and explore the game. With the backing of the school, they are starting to perform phenomenally well at a competitive level.”