Monday 16 December 2013

CSC Teesside at the London Chess Classic (Part 2)

CSC Teesside at the London Chess Classic 
(Part 2)

OK, time for the chess aspect of our cultural excursion! Following an early breakfast, we headed back across the city to the Olympia for the start of our second very busy day.

Ready for action
CSC tutor Michael Flatt introduced himself to CSC Teesside and almost immediately our players spontaneously split into two teams for a match on the big chess set.

Reggie points the way as Michael ponders
Errington vs. The Rest!
Former Teesside chess star Grandmaster Gawain Jones observes the game 
Next up was a simultaneous display by Michael. It gave our players an excellent opportunity to flex their chess skills in preparation for the tournament later on in the day.
L-R: Jack, Dan and Finn
L-R: Reggie, Nina and Eleanor

Eleanor ended up a pawn ahead and refused to agree a draw!
 Then we headed off to the main playing auditorium for a coaching session with GM Chris Ward and IM Lawrence Trent.

GM Ward, coaching from the stage
Nina explaining the rules of castling to IM Trent
Towards the end, we were allowed to send one of our players to the stage to play a game using the Grandmasters' chess sets! I nominated Jack (CSC Teesside's Under-9 champion).

Jack's name on the big screen
Jack watching the screen to see his move appear

IM Trent commentating on Jack's game 
Later on the juniors went back into the auditorium to watch the start of the next round the London Chess Classic. As a special honour, two of our stars were allowed to make the ceremonial first moves in two of the games. I nominated Eleanor and Reggie for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Waiting in the VIP front-row chairs for their special moment
In front of the audience (both at the venue and around the world via the Internet), Eleanor and Reggie took to the stage.
Eleanor, about to make the first move for former World Champion Anand
Reggie, waiting to play GM McShane's first move
And here it is - 1 Nf3!
GM Anand was so impressed he decided to keep the move as his own
Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Back to the tournament room for the conclusion of the junior tournament...

 How well did our players do? We were all back in the room for the prizegiving ceremony to find out...

A bronze medal for Finn - and a gold for Jack, who won all of his games!

Bronze medals for Nina and Eleanor too!

Four medals for Teesside!
Team photo with the kings and queens

Photo © Ray Morris-Hill

Home time! We left King's Cross at 9.00 p.m. and arrived back in Darlington at midnight.
Happy Christmas from CSC Teesside!

Further thoughts on the London Chess Classic will follow in part 3.

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