Budding Chess Masters at Prep

As we gathered by the Tower on Saturday 1 February there was already a real sense of achievement in the air before the Eastern Round of the EPSCA Championship had even begun. When Mr d’Costa joined us in May 2018, his ambition for chess at Bancroft’s Prep was to begin playing in the English Primary Schools’ Championship, and here we were; bright eyed, armed with books about chess tactics and ready to go.

We took five teams with us: two U11 and three U9. Having only attended one much smaller tournament before we were unsure what to expect. We arrived to find Moulsham Junior School, Chelmsford thronging with excited chess players from all over the region. Players were to play five rounds of games, each round beginning at the same time. It was very exciting to find one’s table, sit down opposite one’s opponent, shake hands and let the game commence. At this point the hall became very quiet as the children focused on the important matter in hand.

Between each game the children returned to their ‘base camp’ for a spot of last minute coaching from Mr d’Costa or a run around outside.  During the day it was clear we were performing reasonably well but it’s hard to keep a handle of everything that’s going on when you have thirty teams playing at any one time. After a long day of play all competitors gathered in the hall for the results – and how proud Mr Layburn, Mr D’Costa and I were.  Gold for our brilliant U9 A team and Bronze for our U9Cs! In a very competitive U11 category our equally magnificent U11A team brought home a Bronze medal. Four out of our five teams had qualified for the semi-finals which take place in North Wales in June.  All five teams played superbly all day with five of our children winning every match they played.

I’d like to thank all the children that took part, all the children that play chess regularly at school and Mr d’Costa, Mr Lee and Mr Bukojemski for making this happen.

Mrs Lisa Life

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