The 17th Yarm Chess Championship took place at Yarm Preparatory School on Saturday 8 October. For the first time, we focused solely on the Primary and Preparatory age groups. I was anticipating an increase in entries at this level due to my work with the Chess in Schools and Communities charity so when Johannes Grundmann of Yarm School and I started the initial planning for the event back in the month of June, it was agreed to postpone the Secondary School section until later in the season.
My hopes were not in vain. The tournament attracted entries from no fewer than 30 teams and 13 teams were making their debuts. Each team consisted of four players, so we had 120 children playing chess. The last time I had a similar number juniors in one tournament was back in 1993, at the height of the publicity generated by the Kasparov - Short World Championship match. Even then, the tally of 130 children was boosted by the addition of sections for Under-13s and Under-18s, so 120 players from the Under-9 and Under-11 groups we had at Yarm makes it our biggest Primary event to date.
By coincidence, the two Grandmasters met in another match this weekend (a Blitz match, won narrowly by GM Kasparov).
We like to give some of the children the extra responsibility of being a team captain. Their job is to organise their teams and report the results directly to me This works well, despite the occasional misreported result (a couple of inadvertently (?) reversed 3-1 scorelines led to one or two crossings-out on my pairings!).
As far as the results went, Royal Grammar School (Newcastle) dominated both sections, as can be seen from the scores.
1st: 20/20 RGS A
2nd: 14.5 RGS C
3rd: 12.5 RGS D
12: Yarm A
11.5: RGS B
11: RGS F
10: Ings Farm A, St. Teresa's
9.5: Whale Hill A, RGS G
9: Yarm C
8.5: Yarm B, RGS E, Throston A
8: Throston B, Darlington
5: Yarm D
1st: 19.5/20 RGS A
2nd: 14.5 RGS C
3rd: 14 John Emmerson Batty A
12.5: Whale Hill A, St. Teresa's
11: RGS B
9: Yarm B
8.5: Yarm A, Yarm C
7: Whale Hill B
5.5: John Emmerson Batty B
Congratulations to RGS and their coach, Paul Bielby, on another very successful day.
Only Redcar's John Emmerson Batty Primary managed to stop RGS making it a clean sweep for the top three places. They were making their tournament debut and produced a terrific team effort. Captain Nina Pattinson was the only person in either section to take anything from an individual encounter with an RGS A team player; she drew - by stalemate!
Photo © Johannes Grundmann
It was a wonderful day of chess and everyone seemed to have a good time, as our group photo shows.
We are hoping for even more entries for the 18th Yarm Chess Championship. Be there - or be square!
There's a great report over on the Darlington Chess Club blog, written by Kevin Wilson. Mark the site as one of your 'favourites' as it is one of the finest junior chess blogs around.