Junior and Senior Chess Teams in Action in the Regional Rounds of the National Schools’ Competitions

29th February 24

This week saw a both the Junior and Senior teams in action in the regional rounds of their National Schools’ Competitions. In this busy week for chess there were some victories and a few more defeats – but there was also a lot of improvement on display.

Thursday evening saw the Juniors (U13) A and B team in action. The A team recorded two barnstorming wins against Southborough and Wilson’s B. In the first match, they swept inexperienced opponents aside with a resounding 4-0 win. Against Wilson’s B (the second seeds in the competition, such is the chess pedigree of that school) they dug deep and battled through tight-fought games to achieve a 2½ – 1½ victory. Later games saw the side fade a little against Wilson’s A (including one of the best U13 players in the country) and a well-schooled Emanuel. The middle-table finish for the A team was a little disappointing, but the potential for great things in the future is starting to show. Meanwhile, the B Team battled gamely, but couldn’t record a victory in any of their matches. However, George and Oscar recorded their first win in a competitive chess game: a true milestone in life! Enthusiasm remains high. On a personal note, I was very proud of the way our students not only played chess, but how they acted as welcoming and courteous ambassadors for the school.

Friday afternoon, saw the Seniors (U19) travel to the august setting of Harrow School to compete in their regional event. Because of the byzantine administration of the ECF, Dunottar found themselves in the North London for this competition – chess isn’t always logical. This meant they found top independent and super-selective grammar schools pitched against them. Undaunted, they scrapped away against some quality opposition. Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School B were put to the (metaphorical) sword (4-0); Bradfield B were also dispatched (3-1); but Dunottar struggled against excellent teams from Highgate and Harrow. The school eventually finished 13th out of a field of 22: a creditable performance. This event was certainly excellent preparation for the final phase of the school’s first league season. Hopefully, the battle-hardened Dunottar squad can finish with a surge to the top of the table in their division.

It is worth noting that the redoubtable Rufus played in both competitions. Despite being in Year 7, he is one of the strongest players at the school and his appetite for the challenge of competition is infectious.

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