Newsletter no.3 - May 2016 - Brian Kerr Nominations


Brian Kerr Award Nominations


Hannah Hodgson, Netherton Moss School (nominated by Robert Clark & Andrew Legge)

'Hannah is a Y5 player, and she has been receiving CSC coaching since the start of Y4.

This year her chess has really come on, and she is one of the top two best players in her school.

She has entered several tournaments and competitions this year with good results: 3.5/6 in the Manchester CSC congress, and scoring 4 pts at the Megafinal to qualify for the Gigafinal.

She is the top board for her school's Yes2Chess team, and has joined Liverpool Chess Club this season, playing for their junior team in the Merseyside chess league.

Polite and well-mannered, Hannah is always enthusiastic in the chess lessons and is a delight to teach.'


Loise Estrada, Sacred Heart RC Primary (nominated by John Gorman)

Loise is ranked 3 in a strong Year 6 class and has been receiving CSC tuition since Year 2. She has had a brilliant season. She is a member of the school team which has reached the final of the ECF National Schools U11 Championship. She scored 5/5 in the North-West Regional Final of this event.


In the Zonal tournament of the EPSCA U11 Schools Championship, she again scored 5/5 as her team qualified for the Regional semi-final. She has represented Merseyside in the U11 County Championships in each of the last two seasons.


She is polite and enthusiastic and a pleasure to teach.


Fiona Thet, Oldfield Park Junior School (nominated by Ferdo Dizdarevic)


Not only is Fiona a talented chess player but she displays all the qualities of a good sportsman. She is polite, a hard worker (learner) and more than anything never gives up. She is constantly trying to improve her game, makes an effort to learn outside the class. Her greatest quality is her tenacity, when she is paired up against a player much better than herself, she embraces the challenge and tries her very best. She does not shy away or give up. She is a great example to the other children and a good ambassador for the sport.


She started playing chess at age of 6 (as part of CSC) and is constantly improving her tactics and strategy. Recently she played at EPSCA semifinals for Oldfield Park Junior School U11 Team even though she is 9 years old. She is successfully playing for Somerset U11G Squad . Finally, for the third time Fiona qualified to the UK Schools Chess Challenge Gigafinals . In previous 2 years at Somerset Megafinals she won the title Suprima.


Anna Boyle, The Dell (nominated by Richard Stevenson)

Anna Boyle, the current British Under 9 Girls’ Joint Champion, is a year 5 pupil at The Dell, a CSC school in Monmouthshire, Wales.


Taught by her father at home, Anna caught the eye of CSC Chess Tutor Richard Stevenson when, in year one, she played in the school round of the UK Land Chess Challenge. In year two she joined the chess puzzle’s club at The Dell, increased in strength, and started to do very well in junior chess competitions. In year 3 she won the Welsh Girls’ Under 8 title and represented Wales in the girls under 8 section of the World Youth and Cadets Chess Championships in South Africa.


More success followed in year 4, including joint winner of the Welsh Girls’ Under 8 title, joint winner of the South Wales mega-final, joint winner of the northern giga-final and winner of the Welsh Under 9 title. Now in year 5, Anna continues to excel, most recently winning the South Wales mega-final. Anna has also made a massive contribution to the success of the school team. At the finals of the ECF under 11 Open she won all five games on board three, giving her an ECF rapidplay rating of 114. She also helped The Dell to twice win the Cardiff Stadium event (a tournament for teams of 10 that has entries from over 40 schools), and to come joint second in the Welsh Primary School Championships.


Qualities of Anna include a competitive spirit, fairness, and great enthusiasm for chess. She is able to analyse her own games and performance with rigour, openly admit her mistakes, which are consequently addressed, and encourage others to improve.


Anna is coached by Tim Kett, who comments: Anna took to chess like a duck to water. The two things that strike you about her are: her fearlessness and positivity; and her superb match temperament. She always tackles her opponents head-on; she plays daring gambits as though they were the most natural and obvious approach − even against much higherrated opponents. Unlike so many kids at her level, I don't think I've ever heard her offer a draw, and needs to be at least a rook down for nothing before she'll consider accepting one! The biggest factor of all, though, is her fierce concentration and determination. I have rarely before known a player so young who stays so focused at the board. When she does go wrong and makes mistakes she never lets her head go down but simply re-doubles her effort and starts the fightback. Of course, to have achieved what she has so far, she has worked at her openings, her tactics and endgame technique etc .... but at other times I feel she wins games through sheer willpower and the force of her personality!


Anna will play in The British Under 10s this year, and represent Wales in the European Union Youth Chess Championship in Mureck, Austria. If she is awarded a bursary, this will help to pay for coaching and game preparation in Mureck.


Madeleine Smith, The Dell (nominated by Richard Stevenson)

Madeleine Smith is a year 6 pupil at The Dell, a CSC school in Monmouthshire, Wales. Madeleine started to learn the game in year 3, along with many of the girls in her class. She showed more promise than most, and soon cut her teeth in competitive chess by playing and winning the B-section of qualifying events for the junior Welsh championships.



Following further rapid progress, she started to excel in national competitions: she won the Welsh Under 10 rapidplay in 2014; came second in the Welsh Girls Under 10s in 2015; joint second in the Welsh Under 12 rapidplay in 2015; and second in the Welsh Girls Under 11s in 2016. Most recently, she won the South Wales under 11 mega-final. In the autumn of 2015, Madeleine made her international debut, representing Wales in the World Youth and Cadets Championships.


Madeleine has also made a tremendous contribution to the success of the team at The Dell. Playing on board two at the semi-finals of the ESPCA under 11 school tournament, she won four out of five games, including a great victory against Aman Gogna, a player from Haberdasher Askes with an ECF rating of 134. Coach for that school, IM Lorin D’Costa, was particularly impressed with Madeleine’s play, commenting that she had clearly outplayed her much stronger-rated opponent. Madeleine has also been a key player for the Welsh Dragons, helping this team win trophies in division two of the junior 4NCL. Great attributes shown by Madeleine include a love for chess, a willingness to address the weaker aspects of her game, and great determination.


Madeleine is coached by Tim Kett, who comments: Wales seems currently to have a 'golden generation' of strong girl players between the ages of 8 or 9 and early teens and when you look at Madeleine’s record, the number 2 seems to stand out. Look how many times has she finished 2nd in strong events, played on board 2 etc. etc. In the face of very strong competition she has battled and persevered where many might have been intimidated − and often had little luck in the final rounds. I think though that Madeleine personifies the saying ‘Chess rewards persistence’, and she is now challenging and looking set to overtake many of her higher-rated rivals. She has always worked hard in training, developed a fine positional intuition, improved her endgames − and never backs away from a challenge. Her future is bright and with Madeleine's mature attitude to training I know she would make more use than almost anyone else of any bursary award.


This autumn, Madeleine will leave The Dell and move to Chepstow School, where she will support a growing chess scene – this comprehensive school has just entered the Eton Rapidplay, and Madeleine will be a key member of the team. If Madeleine is awarded a bursary, she will use the funding to attend competitions throughout the summer and beyond, including congresses away from Wales that will enable her to play against new opposition.




The charity established the Brian Kerr Girls' Award, funded by a £25,000 bequest. The bequest includes a £1,000 award each year for ten years, to fund four girls on CSC courses who demonstrate exceptional enthusiasm and achievement. The remainder of the funds is used to promote girls' chess within CSC.


Brian Kerr (1944-2014) was an Irish international, Cambridge maths graduate and successful problem-solver. He was also a sharp attacking player.








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