The children (and their parents!) enjoyed two lots of coaching sessions before the tournament began.
First of all CSC tutor Jerzy Dybowski showed everyone some very useful tips and then he performed a simultaneous display.
Jerzy, who works with our Teesside team every year at the Classic, praised the skills of our team and was an inspiration to our players.
Next it was time to head into the main auditorium for the Chris and Lawrence Show, in which the Grandmaster and International Master continued their famous shows, which always feature a little bit of everything but are mostly fun.
IM Lawrence Trent, a world-renowned chess commentator in addition to being a presenter, author and, of course, very strong player, is already delighted to be famous (via this blog) on Teesside and he has an open invitation to come to our area for a simultaneous display, talk or anything he wants.
Tournament time! Our players were, by now, itching to get stuck into their serious games. They found themselves in the main playing hall with approximately 380 more juniors from a whole range of schools.
Everyone played well and the overall performance was fantastic. Alex won a silver medal and Matthew took bronze. Brilliant! The icing on the cake was still to come. The team won a trophy for finishing in third place! Even though we usually return to Teesside with medals, this was CSC Teesside's first-ever Classic trophy.
I still had one last surprise up my sleeve. Shortly before heading back to the auditorium to watch the elite players in action, I broke it to Alex that was going to make the ceremonial move for former world champion Vishy Anand against Sergey Karjakin.
In 2016, when Alex was in Y4, we spent some time each week talking about the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin. We wrote the latest scores on the board and discussed the match and the history of the championship.
I don't think Alex could have guessed that within a short period of time he would be on the stage in front of a worldwide audience making a move against Karjakin while Carlsen watched from another board.
We conclude this report with a gallery from our second great day.
|Sam and Matthew are ready for the tournament|
|Alex on his way to earning a silver medal|
|Alice was determined to make a great score - and she did!|
|Benjamin - composed and ready for action, as always|
|Alex, receiving his medal from Grandmaster Chris Ward|
|Putting Westgarth and CSC Teesside firmly on the map|
|Back to the elite players. Anand is dreaming of someone coming to play a good opening move for him|
|Aronian vs. So|
|Enjoying the coaching|
|A pair of likely lads (possibly Under-18s) join the chess fun|
|Pleased to be in the auditorium|
|IM Trent at his entertaining best|
|Samuel's name on the big board|
|Tournament leader Caruana keeps a careful eye on Vachier-Lagrave|
|Alex meeting former world champion Vishy Anand...|
|...and making his opening move!|
|A very proud moment for us all|