The famous Yarm Preparatory School Knockout Tournament finally returned to action, for the first time since 2019.
A different version of the event happened last year, but COVID restrictions meant that the tournament was in year groups instead of being across the whole school.
90 children signed up for this year’s competition and after several weeks of tough games we reached the big final between Miles and Can.
The tournament has been going since 1994 and we cannot recall a previous time when two Year 4 players had contested the final. However, as we already know from our wonderful HMC success from earlier this year, the Year 4s are very strong this year and they have proved to be more than a match for the older children.
This was proved in the semi-finals, when Can beat Waleed and Miles defeated Alfie; both victims are amongst our finest Year 6 players!
The final certainly lived up to expectations. A large crowd gathered for the entertainment and the two players arrived on great form and ready for action.
Can, playing as White, started with some solid developing moves. Miles, looking for an early advantage, made an early queen sortie which netted him an early advantage in material. Meanwhile, Can castled, to make his king safe.
Miles had to try and consolidate the position so his extra material would tell in the endgame. However, with his king one move away from safety, he was hit by a big tactic by Can; using a discovered check, he was able to win a rook from Miles.
This gave Can a winning advantage, but he still had to prevent Miles from fighting back with a last-ditch attempt to change the course of the game.
Can kept his cool when most players would have wilted under the pressure and he finished off with a very efficient checkmate.
Can is the new champion and Miles is the runner-up!
Both players deserve great credit for their magnificent efforts over the course of an exceptional year.
Will they both be back in the KO final next year, or will a new challenger emerge? Find out next year!