Dunottar’s Big Chess Weekend

3rd October 23

This weekend saw Dunottar’s chess team in action in two separate events. Friday night saw the school making its debut in the BP Chess League. As a new entrant to the competition, the school currently plays in Division 2 of this competition but are keen to push hard for promotion. The first fixture was a success, with the school recording a 7-5 victory over Trinity B. This performance was notable for Rufus M making his debut on Board 1 with two confident victories in hard-fought endgames. The league campaign will run throughout the Autumn and Spring terms and will have some tougher fixtures ahead. However, a little warrior spirit goes a long way, and spirits remain high.

Sunday saw the team setting off for the august surroundings of Eton College. Such is the school’s emerging reputation in the chess that it was offered an invitation to this prestigious event that sees top schools from all over the UK meeting in friendly, but fierce, competition. As relative novices, the school found the day tough going. Dunottar played five games; they won once (Brentwood) and drew once (Bancroft); in the other matches, teams from established chess schools such as Wilson’s, Latymer proved too strong. However, the day was an invaluable learning experience. If Dunottar wants to establish itself as force at a national level, it now knows the high standards it has to reach; nothing worth achieving comes without hard work and getting through tough days. On the results of Sunday, the school can claim to be ranked as one of the top 50 chess schools in the country – but ambitions are for a better performance than that! Matthew C retains his remarkable record of having won all of his first six games in competitive chess; let’s hope his winning streak can continue.  

Around the school, a lot of chess is happening. Monday (after school) sees Dr McClure working hard with the competitive squad. However, Mrs Gentle is also running a session for girls in M5 every Monday lunchtime. Mr Cooper and Mr Huxley have also been offering invaluable help with beginners in the main Friday lunchtime slot. Chess, like everything in Dunottar, is open to all ages, aptitudes and abilities: everyone is invited! The Dunottar teams playing over the weekend have included pupils from Year 7 all the way to Year 12, with both girls and boys acting as impressive ambassadors for their school.

The rest of half term sees more league fixtures, entry to the English Schools’ Championship and Dunottar hosting a qualifying round for the National Schools’ Teams competition.

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