The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge comes to a close 2015
Matthew Wadsworth, on his first appearance in the Delancey Chess Challenge since 2011, registered an emphatic win in the Terafinal held at Loughborough Grammar School on 15th and 16th August.
The event, which saw over 50,000 children from across the UK take part across an eight month long marathon tournament, climaxed when Matthew pocketed the top prize of £2,000 plus the Rotary Cup and the coveted title of “STRAT”. 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.
This year’s winning moment came in round 5 when Matthew battled against the tournament top seed Joseph McPhillips to triumph over the ranking pressure and the clock. His result, on top of his outstanding performance at the British Championship (10th position and British U18 Champion) gives him a strong claim to be the current leading junior player in the country.
Second placed Joseph McPhillips and his prize of £750 made his biggest payday in a long Chess Challenge career, where he first rose to prominence in 2007 as the Under 9 Champion.
High drama occurred in the Chess Challenge right from the start, when the top girl player, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, did not turn up for the first round game. However, with Akshaya out of the picture, the other girls fought ferociously to get their hands on the £1,000 top prize, and when the last round dawned, there were no less than 7 girls in contention – almost half of those who competed in this final round. Surrey’s No. 2, Victoria Sit, clinched the victory in the last game to finish, and drew level with Chantelle Foster with 12 points, both finishing a happy joint-first.
In the U11 division Alex Golding had a comfortable victory and has set up his own record, winning the title 3 out of 4 years, with a particularly remarkable victory in 2012 at the age of 8.
The Under 9 title ended in a tie between Savin Dias and Jeff Tomy, both Hertfordshire players and both U8. The top U9 girl was Anum Sheikh.
Besides the cordon bleu Terafinal with a prize fund of over £8,000, there were also 3 Challengers events for the next 180 qualifiers out of an initial of 50,000. The prize fund for these events was nearly £5,000, and this year they were more popular than ever, with 127 players in total taking part, as opposed to 164 last year. The increasing competitiveness of the Challengers sections can be gauged by the fact that in none of the three sections did the top seed win.
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Details of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge, including tournament results can be found on the official website: www.delanceyukschoolschesschallenge.com. Just click on the results tab for information on the Mega final, Gig final and Terafinal results.
For further information about the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge, please contact:
Tel: 07715 041320
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UK Schools Chess Challenge
The UK Chess Challenge began in 1996 and was an immediate success, with 700 schools entering, involving approximately 23,000 children. By 2006 numbers competing had more than trebled to 74,000. The structure of the tournament is simple, allowing the most inexperienced players to compete in the early stages, yet testing the mettle of the finest at the end.
The tournament begins every Spring Term, and continues over four stages and eight months. In the first stage children compete week by week in schools all over the UK (currently the number of schools taking part is over 2,000). Every child is able to win prizes, whether badges, gold spots, mascots, trophies and even baseball caps, so every child has something to play for.
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.