We played our first game in the Thanet and East Kent League's Walker Shield competition on Friday. It was very exciting to be playing competitive chess against adults for the first time. The children all played incredibly well and managed to focus and concentrate on the games for much longer than they are used to. The games started at 7.30 and the last one didn't finish until after 9.30.
The first game to finish was Josh on board 4. He'd been a piece up for much of the game and had almost got the game won, until his opponent managed to overpower his pinned his knight. His rook soon fell too and the game had slipped from his grasp. 0-1. On board 1, Zeno had sacrificed a piece early on in a complex position but never quite managed to justify the investment. His opponent defended well and skilfully pressed home the advantage. 0-2. There was much to cheer on board 3, where Sean played beautifully and managed to enter a rook and pawn endgame with much more active rooks. He quickly created a passed pawn and had all the winning chances, but after some accurate defence, a draw was eventually agreed through three-fold repetition. 0.5-2.5. On board 2, Felix played the longest game of the night, and was close to having used all of his one and a half hours thinking time when he finally succumbed. 0.5 - 3.5.
Congratulations to our opponents Ramsgate on a well deserved victory. They were very encouraging towards our players and were happy to share analysis and tips with the children afterwards.
Our next game is at home against Broadstairs on Friday 23rd November. All the fixtures and results can be viewed at: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/28728/efixtures
We're almost half-way through the class chess tournaments. The children have been very responsible about coming to Class 4 for their games at lunchtimes and setting up all the boards sensibly. The third round will commence in the first week of Term 2. Cross Tables for each class and the third round pairings are below.
In an attempt to push our more able chess players, I have entered Sheldwich Primary School in a local adult evening league this year. This will be a tremendous opportunity to play serious, long-play chess and should encourage the children to slow down and put more thought into their play. The matches, against adult teams from as far afield as Broadstairs and Folkestone, will feature four boards. I’ve invited 5 current pupils and 2 former pupils to form the squad, but I will be monitoring the performances of other children for possible inclusion. Later in the year we will also have the E.P.S.C.A qualifiers for which we will need U11 and U9 teams of 6, so there will be other opportunities to represent the school for our budding grandmasters.
This is a great place to start. They have meetings every two or three weeks during term time at the University of Kent. It is run by Owen Lyne, a lecturer in Mathematics at the university. Sessions are on Saturdays from 2.00pm - 4.00pm, so it doesn't take up the whole day like most other events. Typically the children get a 30 minute lesson followed by formally paired games between the children. Mr Burns is usually there coaching, so the children will know at least one person! This is a very well run club and we would highly recommend it, but it is popular and they often have a waiting list for places. The children have to be 8 to join and should know the basic rules of the game already. If you are interested in your children joining please email Owen (O.D.Lyne@kent.ac.uk).
A subsidiary benefit of the club is that it gives the children a potentially inspiring glimpse at what university is like: "Wow! They've got much nicer chairs than in my classroom!" "Is that Maths? It's just squiggles and letters!"
We had seven Sheldwich children playing in the Southern Gigafinal in Richmond last weekend. This was the 3rd round of the competition which began with our school chess tournament in January. Will, Felix, Sean, Zeno, Luca, Oli and Vashti all did brilliantly in a very tough competition. Oli qualified for the Challengers tournament later in the summer with 4/6.
U11 Boys Group B - http://chess-results.com/tnr363423.aspx?lan=1&art=4&turdet=YES
U9 Boys Group A - http://chess-results.com/tnr363219.aspx?lan=1&art=4&turdet=YES
U9 Boys Group C - http://chess-results.com/tnr363221.aspx?lan=1&art=4&turdet=YES
Josh travelled up to Birmingham to take part in the Midlands Gigafinal and did amazingly. He finished on 4/6 in the U9s, winning a medal and qualifying for the Challengers tournament. Well done!
U9 Boys Group A - http://chess-results.com/tnr364515.aspx?lan=1&art=4&fed=ENG
Two teams of Sheldwich children spent the weekend competing in the English Primary Schools Chess Association National Championships Semi Finals, at Camber Sands. This is a very prestigious competition with all the best chess-playing schools from the south of England taking part. We fielded what we hoped would be a strong team in the U9s, and an U11 team which featured some of our experienced Year 6 players and a couple of up-and-coming Year 4s who, very bravely, took on much older opposition.
Both teams played 3 matches against other schools each day. Players had 40 mins each on the clock so there was plenty of time to think carefully about our moves. All the children played fantastically and they all tried writing their moves down so we could over the games during the breaks. We had a salubrious Pontins chalet as our base, where we would all meet between rounds to brush up on our tactics and for some last minute tips.
After an exciting weekend of chess, the U11 team finished in joint 34th place with 11 points earning them a bronze trophy, while the U9 team finished in joint 18th place with 15 points earning a silver trophy. Special mentions should go to Will, who scored an amazing 5/6 on board 2 for the U11s, Oli who scored 5.5/6 on board 1 and Felix who scored 4/6 on board 2 for the U9s. Meg and Eeva also did brilliantly in the U11s, causing their older opponents plenty of problems throughout their games.
It wasn't all chess. We managed to get a lot of football in too, plus a royal wedding, some crazy-golf, hide and seek, beach volleyball and lots of rolling down sand-dunes.
Everyone is keen to go back next year. To do that we'll need to qualify through the preliminary zone, so we all need to keep practising! If we do qualify next year, Mrs Garrett has promised us team shirts!
Thank you to all the parents for bringing their children to the event and supporting us as Parent Reps and Team Managers. An especially big thank you to Motivocean UK and Mr Duffy for sponsoring one of the teams.
Under 9 Team: Under 11 Team:
Oli, Felix, Sean, Josh, Jim, Keira Adam, Will, Raf, Meg, Eeva
Seventeen Sheldwich children played in the Canterbury Megafinal. They all worked very hard, over a long day, concentrating on their games and playing some wonderful chess. We went two better than last year and have seven children qualified for the semi-final stage of the competition, the Gigafinals in Twickenham at the end of June.
Will H won the U11 Section (merged with the U18 sections) with an impressive 3.5/6. We dominated the U9 boys section: Oli won with 6/6, Josh was 3rd with 4.5/6, Sean was 5th with 4/6 and Felix and Luca both also qualified in 7th and 8th with 3.5/6. Dylan qualified, for the second year running, finishing 2nd in the U8 boys section with 3.5/6.
All the children did well, and, win or lose, will have improved their chess playing through the experience.
They weren't the only hard workers: Mrs Garrett and Mrs Hayhoe were tireless in their mission to keep the parents caffeinated. The full results can be found in the excel file below.
Four Sheldwich children took part in the KJCA GP7 at Sevenoaks School. All did brilliantly: Sean scored 4/6 in the U9s, followed closely by Josh on 3.5 points. Felix's 3 points were perhaps even more impressive as he managed to beat children rated 86, 48 and 64 in his first 3 rounds. Oli scored 4/6 playing up in the U11 section. Full results can be found here.
After a very exciting final round, Adam has emerged the winner of the School Chess Tournament, beating Oli G in a close game to take the title. Adam won every game he played, with his dropped half point coming from a bye when he was ill.
Adam is the only pupil to have attended chess club every term since it began three years ago. Indeed, Adam has been the top scorer in the competitive games played at chess club in every term apart from the current one. The win is a richly deserved reward for Adam's dedication. The new perpetual trophy is on the way to the engravers and will be presented at celebration assembly next term. The final cross table is available for download below.
Final results: 1st Adam 6.5, Joint 2nd Will H & Josh 6.0, Joint 4th Jim HM & Oli G 5.5.
Full list of qualifiers for the Megafinal:
Top Y6 Girl: Georgie
Top Y6 Boy: Adam
Top Y5 Girl: Sadie
Top Y5 Boy: Henry
Top Y4 Girl: Eeva, Meg & Molly (tied)
Top Y4 Boy: Josh
Top Y3 Girl: Hattie
Top Y3 Boy: Dylan
Top KS1 Girl: Isla D
Top KS1 Boy: Ethan H
Additionally qualified with 17 points: Will H, Oli G, Jim HM, Felix, William L, Rubin S, Luca, James D & Rafael.
The Megafinal will be held on the 13th May at Simon Langton Boys School.
(As well as the above qualifiers, we will also be represented by Sean, who qualified through the Woodnesborough Last Chance Saloon.)
Thanks to the generous funding provided by the PTA, we have now got our outdoor giant chess set in action and it is proving to be very popular. Children can sign up to play in teams of 2 or 3 in a book kept in the storage box. I will pair the matches and create the running order. The pieces will be available at break time and lunchtime, but they are not to be used before or after-school. I would like the games to be able to be played properly to a conclusion, so games may sometimes last across days. The children can record their position on slips kept with the book to help setting the pieces up correctly when they return.
It was lovely to see so many Sheldwich children coming to their first chess tournament. All played brilliantly and weren't fazed by the use of chess clocks either. Like last year, Sheldwich finished as the top performing school overall. Well done to all of the children for representing the school beautifully. Special mention should go to Josh who finished as the top U11 and Oli who was the top U9.
After 70 children registered for the tournament, we have decided to revise the format a little this year. Rather than splitting each round over three lunchtimes in Class 4, we are going to have all the children playing at the same time in the hall. Rounds will take place on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings where possible and the children will get 40 minutes to complete their matches, after which time the games will be adjudicated. From round 4 onwards, the top six boards will play with digital clocks with 20 minutes each to complete their games.
We will be playing 7 rounds, over the next three and a half weeks. The pairings are made using a Swiss system in which no-one is knocked-out and the children will be playing other children on similar scores. Each round's pairings and results will be posted here so you can see how your children are getting on.
The tournament is part of the UK Chess Challenge which is a national competition and the children could go on to compete against children from other schools. Further details can be found here: https://www.delanceyukschoolschesschallenge.com. There will be an overall school champion and the highest scoring boy and girl at U7, U8, U9, U10 and U11 (plus any child scoring 17 points or more) will all qualify for the Megafinal in which is provisionally planned to be held at Simon Langton Boys School on a date yet to be confirmed.
The UK Chess Challenge awards 3 points for a win, 2 points for a draw and 1 point for a loss. On this basis, there are small rewards available to the children when they reach the following points:
3 points - Badge
6 points - 1st Gold Spot (sticker for badge)
9 points - 2nd Gold Spot
11 points - Mascot
12 points - 3rd Gold Spot
15 points - 4th Gold Spot plus Chess Score Book
17 points - Automatic qualification for the Megafinal
18 points - 5th Gold Spot
21 points - 6th Gold Spot
The overall tournament winner will receive a trophy.
Previous year's final cross tables can be found below:
Mr Griffiths found this old chess trophy in the roof space of the school over the summer. We have no idea how old it is or who first held it aloft in triumph. It's a lovely, weighty bit of metal, unlike the flimsy plastic affairs handed out these days.
We already have a shield, featuring the names of the winners, which stays on display in school. This trophy will also have each year's winner engraved upon it, but will instead be taken home by each year's winner to proudly display in their bedrooms until the following year's tournament. It could be you!
We went to Dulwich College for the latest round of the KJCA GP series. There was another good Sheldwich turnout and some fabulous chess played. Felix, Sean, Josh and Oli all played brilliantly in a huge field of 60 in the under 9 event. A big well done to Oli, who went one better than last time with a perfect 6/6, beating a player graded 82 en route to winning the event in clear 1st place. Full results can be found here. The next tournament is Sunday 4th March in Beckenham.
Mrs Garrett has been learning to play chess for the last couple of years and recently got the chance to put her new skills to the test, representing Woodnesborough against Broadstairs in the Walker Shield competition of the Thanet and East Kent Chess League. Mrs Garrett found herself on board 4, playing Michael Doyle (ECF grade 81). Each player would get 1 hour and 30 minutes for their first 36 moves and a further 15 minutes to complete the game - so potentially three and a half hours of chess lay ahead of her. Mrs Garrett has graciously given permission for the game to be shared here for teaching purposes. You can follow the moves on your own board, or click through the slide show below. Mrs Garrett played black.
1. e4 e5
A great start by Mrs G. Her opponent placed a pawn on e4, looking to control the centre of the board and allow the f1 bishop to develop and she replies in kind, e5.
White develops a knight and in doing so attacks black's e5 pawn.
The pawn on e5 needed defending, so f6 makes some sense from that perspective. But f6 is the square that black's g8 knight is happiest on, and moving the pawn from f7 opens the diagonal towards her king. Much more usual (and better) would be to defend e5 with 2... Nc6.
3. Bc4 d6
White sensibly develops his bishop, using it to attack the weak f7 square. Mrs G protects the e5 pawn again and provides a route for her light-squared bishop to get out, but in doing so she blocks in the dark-squared bishop. Three pawn moves in a row now... Mrs G needs to develop some of her pieces!
4. d4 Nc6!
White continues to develop quickly. Attacking the centre and letting his c1 bishop out. Mrs G develops a piece!! A fine move! From c6 the Knight applies pressure to the centre and if black plays d5, attacking the knight, the blocked pawns will reduce the power of black's light-squared bishop. Well played Mrs G.
This secures the centre for white and gives him the potential to develop his queen to b3 forming a battery with the c4 bishop. Mrs G will have to develop quickly and needs to start to fight for control of those white squares.
Another pawn move? And more weakening of the white squares! One benefit is that the g8 knight can now develop to h6 without being exchanged for the c1 bishop. But Mrs G has neglected one of the most important opening principals: develop your pieces!
This creates an immediate threat: 7. Bxg8. The knight is attacked twice and the Bf7 check also looks very annoying, as black will no longer be able to castle. Luckily, 7... Nh6 gets the knight out of the way and defends f7. Or alternatively, 7... Na5 forks the queen and the bishop temporarily. In both cases black has quite an unpleasant position as she hasn't developed many pieces, but it's not curtains yet.
Arrggggghhhh!! Now it is! Mrs Garrett said that as soon as she played this she realised she had gone horribly wrong. Always think what your opponent is likely to play next - before you make your move! Black's weakness on the white squares will be her downfall.
7. Bf7+ Kd7
The king's only square.
Checkmate. The king is trapped by his own pieces and white's control of the white squares wins the day.
So, a valiant first effort by Mrs Garrett and we can all learn from her mistakes:
1) Develop your knights and bishops quickly in the opening.
2) Don't make any unnecessary pawn moves.
3) Always think what your opponents best reply will be to a move you're considering.
What will you do then?
It was great to have six children from Sheldwich competing in the KJCA tournament in Maidstone. The children, most of them playing in their first KJCA event, all did brilliantly, and contributed to Sheldwich being the highest scoring school in the U9 section. Oli finished tied for 1st place in the U9s with 5/6, a wonderful achievement, and just reward for all the work he's put in over the last year to improve his chess. Felix, Sean and Josh all played in the U9 section too, whilst Will and Adam played in the, very strong, U11 section. All the results can be found here. Thank you to the parents for bringing the children along. Hopefully, we will have another good turnout for the next competition at Dulwich College, on Sunday 11th February.
We had a wonderful time at the Chess Classic. There was a full day of chess activities arranged by the charity Chess in Schools and Communities. In the morning, the children received coaching from CSC coaches and a talk from GM Chris Ward (who is the coach of the Kent U9 and U11 teams). He showed the children the position from the chess game in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and analysed Ron and Harry's tactical options. Some children got to go up on stage, where the Super GM tournament would be played that evening, to play against children from other schools. As they played, electronic boards relayed their moves to the big screen behind them and we all cheered them on. Later, the children played in a 5-round tournament and all did very well. Adam received a medal for his very impressive 4 wins. The children were full of enthusiasm after the tournament and most of them played chess all the way home on the coach!