Monday 1 September 2003

Archive: UNCUT! 24

The Sean Marsh Chess Column
Column 24
September 2003

The Chess Links Project

It’s been months in the planning and now it’s actually a reality.

The Links Primary School and Teesside High have won a grant of £22,000 to develop a partnership between the two schools, with chess as the link. The grant covers a two-year period and has been awarded by the Department for Education and Skills as part of their ‘Building Bridges’ award scheme.

Stated aims of the project include:

· Teaching every single child in both schools the basics of chess and creating a suitable environment in which they can develop their skills

· The organization of regular inter-school tournaments and matches, including the official Cleveland Junior Chess Championships

· E-mail chess matches between schools and an ongoing match between The Links and Teesside High in which every child has the opportunity to vote for the next move in the game

· Regular coaching sessions for all strengths of player

· Inviting several Grandmasters to the schools to provide further coaching and inspiration

The project moved into full swing at the start of the Autumn term and great steps forward have already been taken. We have been able to buy lots of new chess sets and other equipment which is already being used throughout the two schools and extra coaching sessions are being run.

Brand new inter-school championships will feature not only The Links and Teesside High, but also several more local schools.

The first Grandmaster visit is already scheduled. GM Keith Arkell, one of the country’s top players, will be coming to Eaglescliffe for special events on the weekend of 29-30 November. Full details to follow – just make a note in your diaries now if you are interested in taking part.

Looking ahead to next term, we have the first of the new Cleveland Junior Chess Championships, which will take place on February 28th at Teesside High.

The Chess Links Project will provide astounding and original opportunities for our local chess juniors. Stay tuned for further developments - and there will be plenty of those over the next two years.

9th Yarm Chess Championship

The latest tournament in this famous series took place on Saturday 20th September at Yarm School and was well attended, with approximately 100 children competing. There were two sections and both featured school teams of four players.

The Primary Section featured 22 teams. Yarm A dominated and deservedly took first place with 29.5 points after the eight rounds.

The battle for the other places was much tougher. Whale Hill A showed excellent fighting qualities throughout the critical rounds to hold second place with a magnificent score of 22.5 points. Whinfield A, Yarm B and Yarm C all shared third place with 19.5.

The remaining scores were:

17.5: Red Rose A
17: The Links
16.5: Meadowside, Yarm F
16: Yarm D
15.5: Red Rose B, Teesside High A
15: Whinfield C
14.5: Whale Hill B, Whale Hill C, Whinfield B
14: Whinfield D, Teesside High B
13.5: Yarm E
12.5: Yarm G
11: Yarm H
6.5: Yarm I

The Secondary Section was a close run two-horse race between Yarm and Hartlepool Juniors. Both teams finished on 10 points after five rounds but Hartlepool Juniors went on to record a famous victory with a 3-1 result in the Blitz play-off. This is the first time that Hartlepool have won the championship and is a timely reward for their fine efforts over the years.