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Canterbury Megafinal 2018

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.  

Want to play more Chess?

Kent Junior Chess Association - Grand Prix 8

Sunday 3rd June 2018. 9.30am - 5.00pm.

Bromley High School, Blackbrook Lane, Bromley, Kent. BR1 2TU.

The final round of KJCA's grand prix series of tournaments. We had a great turn out of Sheldwich children for the last tournament. It would be lovely to see as many again. All levels of ability are welcome as long as you know how to move the pieces. These are the premier junior chess tournaments in Kent and forms the basis of selection for the Kent U9 and U11 teams for national inter county tournaments. More details and the online registration area can be found at the KJCA website. Please speak to Mr Burns or Mrs Garrett if you have any questions.  


Canterbury Junior Chess Club

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, and John Dore, a retired Professor of Physics. 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 (

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!"


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. 

Adam wins the School Chess Tournament with 6.5/7!

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.)

Giant Chess

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.   

Woodnesborough Junior Chess Competition

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.

Round 1 - Photos

Sheldwich School Chess Tournament 2018

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: 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:

The New (Old) Sheldwich School Chess Trophy

The New (Old) Sheldwich School Chess Trophy 1

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!  

Kent Junior Chess Association - Grand Prix 5

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.

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Mrs Garrett's First Chess Game

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.

2. Nf3...

White develops a knight and in doing so attacks black's e5 pawn.

2... f6?

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.

5. c3...  

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!

6. Qb3...

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.

6... Nge7??

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.

8. Qe6++

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?

Kent Junior Chess Association - Grand Prix 4

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.  

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* Three of our successful Sheldwich chess players, plus two imposters from Selling!

London Chess Classic Trip

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!