Forget the Teesside Championships; forget the Megafinals and the Gigafinals of the UK Chess Challenge. We saved the most competitive event of all until our last school day of 2017-8.
Yes, today brought the highly-aniticpated Park End Primary Staff Chess Championship.
It has been a long time coming and such was the interest it took three weeks to register all of the names. Even then, one of the 16 participants of this most difficult of knockout tournaments sustained an unfortunate calendar clash and had to miss out due to a course (never mind Mrs Gaskarth; there's always next year).
It is typical of Park End to entertain a new and eccentric idea. One can't help but love them.
Here are the full results.
The first round was tense as the staff entered the world of competitive chess for the first time.
The game between Mrs Butterworth and Mrs Richardson lasted over an hour and a half. Rumour has it they just didn't want to return to their respective classrooms but the truth of the matter is they were so well matched that it took a long time before a clear advantage emerged for Mrs Butterworth.
Elsewhere, Mr Holmes claimed he didn't want to play his best because he didn't have much free time as he 'had to get on with my painting'.
Everyone was taking the tournament very seriously. So much so that I had my vocabulary extended considerably at various moments.
The eight players left in the competition after the first round suddenly knew they were but three more wins away from becoming the champion.
Mrs Bennsion 0, Miss Ridley 1
Mr Tapner 1, Miss Crossley 0 (after a replay; first game drawn by stalemate)
Mrs Johnstone 0, Miss King 1
Mr Lovatt 1, Mr Holmes 0
Mrs Richardson 0, Mrs Butterworth 1
Mr Storey 1, Mr Hallett 0
Miss Rennison 1, Mrs Moore 0
Miss Hampton 1, Bye 0
With a place in the semi-finals at stake, the players were all on task for their second round of tough battles.
There were certainly no easy games and all four winners and to earn their victories the hard way. I was beginning to think we might need another day to finish off the event.
Miss Rennison 0, Mrs Butterworth 1
Miss King 0, Mr Lovatt 1
Mr Storey 1, Miss Hampton 0
Mr Tapner 0, Miss Ridley 1
Talk about compettive. These games were ferocious encounters.
Mr Lovatt took an early lead by winning Mrs Butterworth's queen, but the latter stabilised the position well and started to fight back. Eventually Mr Lovatt's advantage told - but it wasn't easy.
Meanwhile, in one of the day's closest games, the advantage oscillated between Miss Ridley and Mr Storey until a late surge saw Mr Storey achieve pawn promotion and then engineer an excellent checkmate, with his new playing a starring role.
Mrs Butterworth 0, Mr Lovatt 1
Mr Storey 1, Miss Ridley 0
The big final was played in front of a large crowd. We had only just announced a new trophy was at stake and this led to a further increase in concentration from the two competitive finalists.
Once again we saw a game in which the advantage changed hands several times. Suddenly, Mr Storey seemed to have obtained a decisive advantage. Mr Lovatt's queen had gone and he appeared to be in terrible trouble. Then something incredible happened. Mr Lovatt's two passed pawns caused confusion in the enemy ranks and Mr Storey, in trying to stop them both advancing to promotion, allowed a deadly skewer on his king and queen.
This allowed Mr Lovatt to gain a huge advantage, with two new queens about to appear via pawn promotion.
Mr Storey 0, Mr Lovett 1
Very well played, everyone!
Wheels are already in motion to produce an inter-school staff tournament next year.
Meanwhile, enjoy viewing the gallery from today's historic event. Observe the concentration and try to work from the expressions and body language who is winning each game in the pictures.
|The deadly skewer!|
|Congratulations, Mr Lovatt!|