Written by event organiser and CSC tutor Jonathan Blackburn

6 months after the 1st, the 2nd Smallwood CSC Junior chess tournament kicked off on Saturday 2nd March increasing from 13 to 19 participants all eager and willing to spend their day playing competitive chess over 6 rounds. With local tournaments in short supply this provided a great opportunity for children to gain experience and enjoy the game they’ve been learning and take their skills to another level. Costs were kept down to make it more accessible to all with organisers volunteering their time to run the event.

Smallwood C of E Primary Academy provided a wonderful venue with use of its hall and facilities, the school is set in beautiful grounds and lies on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border which meant invites were sent out to both counties’ young stars to participate. Eventually drawing in children from Newcastle-Under-Lyme to North Wales!

Chess in schools and communities (CSC) supply the school with boards and sets for its regular chess lessons, where all pupils Y2 and up learn the beautiful game, as well as the prize medals. A big thanks to Staffordshire Junior County Association for the digital clocks and Ethan Barlow for his help on the day.

With so many schools and age groups represented the tournament started at frenetic pace, one of the key learning points being to take more time on their moves so they can make better decisions – a key point in life?

With a short break between rounds there was always anticipation of how the ‘draw’ worked with some very keen…

There were of course winners and losers on the day however no child lost all their games and due to the experience gained and the maturity with which they took part in the tournament all can consider themselves winners…

All prizes were presented by Smallwood Headteacher Miss Caroline Mander who made sure there was also some well used refreshments on the day, a big thank you.

We hope to work together again to bring more tournaments throughout the season and continue to increase chess participation across the region. 

Results – the tournament was mixed but we separated prizes out between two age groups

Under 11

1st - Dylan Cooper

2nd – Myla Kitson

3rd – Jasmine Scholey and James Watkin

Under 9 

1st – Thomas Honey

2nd – Isaac Stanley

3rd – Omari Dasanayake, Jessica Shears, Abhi Sethuram, Ben Scholey