Champions are crowned at Blenheim Palace for the 26th delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge
Following months of online competition, the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge Terafinal, took place this weekend (9 and 10 October) at Blenheim Palace. The challenge saw 60 players competing over the board for the top spots in their age groups. A series of marathon games were played, with the winners below who secured the well-deserved wins and the Chess Champion titles.
Under 8s – Advait Kumar from Hertfordshire
Under 10s – Elis Dicen, the first female to win a mixed category from Warwickshire
Under 12s – Frederick Gordon from Scotland
Under 14s – Rajat Makkar from Middlesex
Under 18s – Aaravamudham Balaji from Kent
Earning the winning trophies wasn’t an easy ride for any of the players, with a jam packed weekend of suspense filled games charged with challenges and well coordinated moves.
It has been a long journey to the Terafinal with more than 2,250 students representing over 800 schools and chess clubs competing online throughout the summer in the Megafinals and Gigafinals. Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row that the initial stages have been impacted by the pandemic, however this has not stopped these young chess enthusiasts, as more than 12,000 games have been played online and over half a million moves made. Young chess players have really taken to online chess and it has opened up new avenues for teaching, education and accessibility.
The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge has been held every year since 1996, with title winners including Peter Poobalasingam, Marcus Harvey, IMs Yang Fan-Zhou, Lorin D’Costa, Thomas Rendle, Adam Hunt, Felix Ynojosa and Grandmaster Stephen Gordon.
Sarah Longson, Director of the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge, said: “The whole weekend was fantastic; seeing the children play live and interacting with one another after a tough year of playing online made the games all the more special. Advait, Elis, Frederick, Rajat and Aaravamudham played amazingly well, huge congratulations. I must also thank all the players for their continued enthusiasm and passion for Chess as this wouldn’t be possible without them. What a weekend!”
Frederick Gordon, Winner of Under 12s Chess Challenge category, said: “I came here but I didn’t think that I would win. I was really happy to play well against some very tough opponents. Everybody was kind, and I’d like to come again but next time I’d love to stay in the palace!”
Founder and Chairman of Delancey, Jamie Ritblat commented: “Huge congratulations to all the winners and of course, all those who took part. We were delighted to headline sponsor the 26th Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge. There has been a recent surge in the popularity of chess, spurred by the success of Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’, so this is an invaluable competition which not only unites children who share an interest in chess from across the UK but also provides an environment in which students are inspired to challenge themselves. After so many months of online competition, we are thrilled this final stage could took place over the board at Blenheim Palace.”
About Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge
The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge has run every year since 1996 and is one of the largest junior chess competition’s with over 1,000 schools and 40,000 children taking part every year. The ethos of the competition allows every child to enjoy playing and learning in the early stages yet testing the mettle of the finest players towards the end.
Chess is a fantastic tool for children to develop their problem solving skills, creativity and imagination, as well as the ability to plan ahead and emotional resilience. It also teaches us that hard work and perseverance pay off and to have respect for the ideas of other people. Teachers and parents comment on the enormous enthusiasm amongst the children for their badges, gold spots and mascots. Junior chess clubs are springing up all over the country, both in schools and outside; numbers in existing clubs have mushroomed. All this shows that chess is one of the most enjoyable and exciting ways for children to learn how to think critically and to plan ahead.
Delancey is a specialist real estate investment, development, and advisory company whose activities encompass retail, residential, logistics and commercial real estate across London and the UK. Collaborating on a wide range of assets, partners and clients, Delancey is recognised for its innovative and diverse approach to creating long term value from real estate. Delancey also advises clients on appropriate capital structures, financing and provides asset management and development services.
Delancey has a diverse portfolio of retail, residential, office and corporate assets across London and the UK, including the Alpha Plus schools group and the Elephant & Castle Town Centre Regeneration in Southwark. Delancey is also a pioneer in the private rented sector and has spent much of the last few years bringing the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics to life; it is delivering over 3,000 homes for rent at the multi-award winning neighbourhood East Village, the former London 2012 Athletes Village in Newham, and it transformed the 2012 press and media broadcast centre into world-leading digital campus Here East. More recently, the joint venture acquisition of the Earls Court development site was completed in December 2019. This iconic landmark, which sits within the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham comprises London’s largest cleared Zone 1 development site. Delancey, alongside its newly formed platform business The Earls Court Development Company, will lead the regeneration of this critically important London location, which has the potential to be a world class scheme, showcasing the best in sustainable, community focussed and environmentally enhanced design.