Matching the number of squares on the chess board, a fitting 64 junior chess players from across Dorset turned out on Sunday 26th February to play in the Dorset Junior Chess Championships. It had been 3 years since the last Dorset Junior Chess Championships in 2020. Some juniors had moved on from chess and some were playing again, a little taller than before. Plus, a new group of youngsters had also arrived on the scene.
All were eager and raring to go. It was very exciting to see so many enthusiastic young chess players.
Players were divided into two sections by age groups, with the U8 to U11 players in the one section and U12 to U18 in the other. Across each of the age groups there was a wide range of experience and abilities, with potential champions from year 7 all the way through to year 12. All played 7 rounds with a 20:20 minute time control, although several were finished before their time was up.
Matches were often hard fought and competitive, but all took place in a calm, enthusiastic and friendly manner.
Trialling the Swiss Manager software for the first time, pairings were quickly and speedily done by the IT/controller team and there was a clamour around the wall as juniors eagerly awaited the arrival of the draw for each round.
There were a few beginner hiccups as some players, inexperienced at reading a draw, initially sat at the incorrect board number, or gave sometimes rather vague notifications to James and Anton, the controllers, as to who had won (‘my opponent won’).
But by the end of round 7, the junior players were experts at reading the draw and reporting their score, board numbers and colours. All part of the learning experience!
After the lunch break, where copious amounts of pizza were consumed served up by the fantastic kitchen crew, rounds 5, 6 and 7 became a little more tense.
Here some of the top boards are beginning to feel the pressure with Ellis Fretwell playing Zander Booth on Board 1 in Round 6, and Florence Spirling vs Jamie Doyle in Round 7.
Many congratulations to Jamie Doyle on becoming Dorset Junior Chess Champion for the second consecutive time with a score of 6.5 out of 7 in the U12 (year 7) to U18 (Year 13) section.
Also many congratulations to the winner of the U8 to U11 section, Leo Camopy, also with a score of 6.5 out of 7.
The Prize Winners in all sections were:
The age group winners with their trophies
You can see the full results here.
So, a fantastic day of junior chess with so many highlights: enthusiasm; new friendships; determination; happy faces and very few tears. Every junior was a winner.
Nikki Forster, February 2023