Monday 27 February 2017

Yarm School UK Chess Challenge

All photos © Mr Grundmann

Yarm School UK Chess Challenge

The UK Chess Challenge is played in hundreds of schools throughout the United Kingdom and is the world’s biggest chess tournament.

We held the the initial part of the tournament last week and attracted 63 entries - very nearly one for each square of the chess board.

Our very competitive children - all the way from Y2 to Y6 - were in action over the course of a very busy day as they challenged for titles and Megafinal qualification.

Our Y2s have been working hard on their chess every Monday since September and this was their first tournament. They all coped very well with the extra rules required for tournament play. Noah Coulman became the new Y2 champion and Natasha Pointon was the Best Girl.

Seth Holland was on tremendous form and won all of his games to win the Y3 section. Niamh Boddy and Isobel McGlade shared the Best Girl place.

Another maximum score was achieved in the Y4 section, with Ajay Selvan storming through to win every single one of his seven games. Grace Crawford kept up her remarkable run of tournament successes when she secured the Best Girl spot.

The combined Y5 and Y6 section featured our most experienced players and was very tough indeed. Henry Parker won the Y5 section and Eleanor Lamb was Best Girl. Meanwhile, Ammar Soni - who has already captained the school team to HMC success and his Arkwright team to the House Chess title - played to his usual high standard and won the Y6 section. Samantha Botterill and Keya Shah shared the Best Girl title. Indeed, they had to play each other in the final round and drew but it wasn’t a bloodless encounter; they fought on until just the two kings were left!

All of the above-named players have now qualified for the prestigious Megafinal, which will take place at the Yarm Senior School on Saturday 6 May.

Joining them will be Aryan Nalawade, Frankie Parker, Ben Meager, Yusuf Syed and Adhi Dinakaran, all whom reached the magic tally of 17 points or more to earn qualification for the Megafinal.

Congratulations to everyone who was there on the day. It was a magnificent day of chess.


One of the good things about teaching in so many schools is that when the children have birthdays they occasionally remember the chess tutor when it's time to hand out the celebratory cakes.

Thursday 23 February 2017

Wheatlands Surprise

Today I made a surprise visit to Wheatlands Primary School to work with my former Y4 students, who are now halfway through their Y6 year.

They are all magnificent people - a real credit to Wheatlands and the CSC - and I received a very warm welcome.

They worked as hard as usual on several different chess activities and a great time was had by all.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Brambles at Broadway

It seems like just yesterday when I was last at Broadway Junior School, teaching the Y4s some chess moves. Ah, it was!

Today I made a return journey to repeat an experiment from last year, when a number of children from Broadway came to Teesside for a day of shared chess activities.

This time, nine Brambles - having already enjoyed their normal morning chess sessions - travelled to Sunderland for a packed afternoon of chess with some Broadway Y4s and more experienced Y5s.
Off we go!
Some players slept on the way there. Believe it or not,
the right hand is playing chess moves as he sleeps.
'Are we there yet?'
Welcome to Broadway!
We started off with an ice-breaker of a wordsearch. The Brambles children bravely introduced themselves to the Broadway players and selected a partner with whom to work.

Following some excellent group work solving quest problems on the big demonstration board, the children paired up to solve some tricky checkmate puzzles.

Then we went through all of the answers on the big board.
We took a break for juice and biscuits before getting ready to play a big match.

We appointed two captains to select players for the teams, mixing Brambles and Broadway stars equally.

The children played very well. They were competitive but the atmosphere was very friendly.

Remarkably, the match ended in a draw - 7-7!

Some Brambles slept on the way home...
...but others were still too excited!
What a magical day! Thank you to everyone who helped to make it such a success and to Mrs Hastie (Broadway) and Mrs Farrell (Brambles) in particular.

Monday 13 February 2017

New Year, New Broadway Visit

Today brought my second Sunderland Broadway Junior School Chessday of the school year.

All three classes of Y4 children impressed me with how much they had remember since my last visit and by how hard they worked today in their new lessons.

Last October we worked with pawns and bishops. This time we introduced rooks and queens.

We enjoyed various activities, including mini-games, quests and a little role-play.

Long-term CSC supporter Lisa Hastie masterminds the chess at Broadway and utilises the First Move programme to teach the children the basics of chess.

Thank you, Broadway! I will return soon...

Friday 10 February 2017

Workbook 2

The arrival of CSC Workbook 2 has caused great excitement in our schools.

Sunday 5 February 2017

London Expedition Reunion

Tonight brought a reunion event for those involved with our most recent chess trip to London.

We returned to Hollywood Bowl at Teesside Park and followed that up with a trip to Pizza Express.

The evening started very well when Paul bought me a cup of tea
Paul hits a strike on his way to a fine second place
Fearsome bowling juniors
More of the same - but slightly older 
One way to stop your opponent winning, I suppose.
However, Farrell picked herself up to win the battle of the junior lane.
Sonia and Zoe are long-term supporters of CSC Teesside.
Sonia was tonight's champion bowler!
Silence descends...temporarily, at least
Enjoying the starters
Would you believe Lily left those peppers!
CSC Teesside and a whole load of pizzas 
Harrison and Paul. Harrison brought some excellent new jokes to the table
My smiling onion 
Aren't they tired yet...!?
Our reunion coincided with Farrell's birthday!
Make a wish: 'I wish we could go to London again!'
What a thoroughly enjoyable evening! Spending time and having lots of fun with one's favourite people is something we should all endeavour to do more often. There is already talk of another reunion...