2024 Dorset Junior Chess Championships – Report and Photos

If 2023 had seen a high number of entries, the 2024 Dorset Junior Chess Championships held on Sunday 18th February at Merley Community Centre, well surpassed this with 74 juniors registering to play, stretching the capacity of the venue.

Very sadly for some, such was the interest in the Championships that the capacity of the venue was reached a few days prior to the event and entries had to be limited, meaning that regretfully roughly 10 on the waiting list missed out.

There was a dominance of players from secondary school level with Year 7 and above accounting for 62 of these players, with 22 coming from Year 7 alone.  Watch out local chess clubs, there’s a very active and talented band of youngsters up and coming.

Players were divided into 3 playing sections by age groups, with the twelve U8 to U11 players in the one section, U12 (Year 7) in their own section, and U14 to U18 making up the top section. Across each section, there was a wide range of experience and abilities which led to some interesting results and some new faces on the top boards.

After an introductory explanation on how to read the pairings and find your board and opponent, the less experienced juniors quickly got the hang of it and by round 3 were finding their seats like pros. James, as controller, had ‘strongly’ emphasised the importance of correctly reporting the results –“board number and which colour please”. And they all did it word perfect!

All matches were well played out in a largely friendly and enthusiastic manner, and clearly everyone was enjoying playing face to face chess. Initially, some of the younger players finished in record quick time but after some in-between-the-rounds coaching by Jurgen, their games got longer and longer. By the final round they were playing for up to 20 minutes. Well done U8 to U11s, keep it up!

The U14 to U18 section was highly competitive with several of the top boards being local B&DCL and DCCA players, including Finn Schell, Jason Wang, Florence Spirling, Zander Booth, Ellis Fretwell, Hugo Melling, Ben Willis-Owen, Joshua Richards and Larissa Cuthbert. But some new, less familiar names were also up there too including Michal Orszulak, Jack Baskett, Mac Holland, Jensen Davis and Samuel Gorsuch.

The tuckshop with offerings of pizza, sausage rolls and various cakes along with free tea, coffee and biscuits was expertly run by a team of happy parents. A huge thanks to each and everyone of these helpers.

And a very big thank you to all the helpers who set up tables, chairs and sets and who diligently and patiently walked the floor dealing with queries and questions from the players. You were magnificent!

By the end of round 5, the leaders of the U8-U11 and U12 sections, Max Teverson and Leo Camopy, were looking unbeatable, but the U14-U18 section was less predictable. Jason Wang had his nose just out in front on full score, but only half a point ahead of Finn Schell, followed by a tight group a point behind.

Who would hold their nerve?

In the end, each section was won by a player on full score: Max Teverson, Leo Camopy and Jason Wang all on a perfect 7 out of 7 points.

There was a four-way tie for first place in the U14 category which necessitated an Armageddon play-off from which Zander Booth emerged as the winner. But Mac Holland, Jack Baskett and Michal Orszulak fought hard, and it was a close competition under intense time pressure.

Many congratulations to Jason Wang on becoming the Dorset Junior Chess Champion for the first time as well as winning the U16 trophy.

All the trophy winners: from left to right – Leo Camopy, Zander Booth, Joshua Richards, Rowley Carter, Jason Wang, Jack Mortin-Li, Kautam Narendran, Max Teverson.

More Photos

Want to see more photos?  Have a look at our photo gallery of players collecting their awards.

Results per age group

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