On one of the sunniest days of the year so far, nearly 60 keen young junior chess players made their way to Merley Community Centre, Wimborne for the inaugural Dorset Junior Chess Festival.
In the week or two before, the number of juniors registered had been steadily climbing and it was beginning to look like a potential full house – and so it was.
On offer were tournaments, chess coaching for beginners and more advanced, a free raffle and to round off the day a simultaneous chess display. In the event, all but a handful of juniors opted to play in the tournaments.
After a slightly later than planned start due to the arrival of a minibus full of junior players, the two 6 round tournaments got under way, with one section for those already affiliated to chess clubs; the second for the less experienced players. Time control was 10 minutes per player with a further gap of 10 minutes between rounds to allow the team to collated scores and do pairings.
It was fantastic to see so many juniors playing; concentration was intense.
The experienced juniors in the top section working out their next move!
Given the beautiful weather, between rounds the juniors relaxed in the sun and played football to blow off steam.
In the top section, the standard of play was exceptionally high. Zander Booth (Poole) came out on top with 5.5 points, with Finn Schell (Southbourne) closely behind in second place on 5 points followed by Ted Paul (Dorchester) in third on 4.5 points. Zander and Finn are pictured below – unfortunately Ted had to leave before the prize giving.
Florence Spirling (Southbourne) came 4th on 3 points and was also the best girl.
Full Results of the Top Section can be seen here.
In the second section, Joshua Richards from Twynham School won comprehensively with a score of 6 out of 6. A potential star of the future!
In second place were Harvey Howard-Thomas, Matthew Butcher and Samuel Hayward all scoring 5 points, followed by Nathaniel Pua and Egor Baldwin in third position on 4.5 points. Nathaniel was one of the two youngest juniors taking part at just 6 years old; very impressive.
Maria Butt was best girl on 4 points.
The full results of the second section can be seen here.
All winners in both sections of the tournaments won a medal.
And all juniors played so well and with a wonderful spirit, everyone was a winner!
To round off the event was a very popular simultaneous chess display in which around 30 juniors took part, five juniors winning their games against the tag team of local players.
Here the simultaneous gets underway……….
There were some occasional comments between the local expert players as to the quality of their fellow team members moves!
Tension is mounting….
Here are some of the stars of the simultaneous, including the proud winners………
To end the day, all juniors were given a certificate at the prize giving at the end of the day, and many won a prize in the free raffle.
A big thank you to all those who helped out, both on the day in running the event and in the kitchen, and behind the scenes in the run up to the event. It was a fantastic team effort.
There have been several requests for another event soon, so watch this space!
Nikki Forster, May 2022