The Last Chance Saloon was open to all school teams that had been knocked out of their Zone without qualifying for the national stage; and also to teams that had not played at the Zonal stage.
A total of 28 teams from 20 schools had initially entered this event. Even after some late withdrawals there were still 19 teams from 14 schools, making this the largest ever ‘Last Chance Saloon’. With a total of over 110 school chess players a large room was required. As is shown in the photographs, Eton College provided a fantastic and spacious playing hall.
With four places in the national stages of the National Schools Tournament at stake, competition for all places was fierce. Going into the last round half the teams still had a chance of qualifying. Even with the new provision to allow drawn matches, the qualifiers for the National Plate had to be decided on tie break. With a strong team, Eton College were worthy winners winning all their matches.
Richard Haddrell smoothly ran the tournament whilst the use of digital clocks with Fischer timings eliminated the need for claims under the ‘2 minute rule’. The tournament was enjoyed by players of all abilities and teams did not mind losing most or all of their games as they had positive individual results. With 19 teams playing there would have been byes so Wilson’s School split their 4 teams in to 5.
We are very grateful to Eton College for the provision of such a great playing area and also the team rooms. The ambiance of the college adds to the enjoyment of the occasion.
1 Eton College A 5/5: qualify for Championship place
2 K Edward’s School Birmingham 4/5: qualify for Championship place
3= Hampton School B 3½: qualify (on tie-break) for Plate place; Abingdon School 3½: qualify (on tie-break) for Plate place; Dr Challoner’s GS 3½; Wellington College 3½
7= Westminster Under School 3; Hawthorns School 3; Kings Grantham A 3
10= Langley GS 2½; Wilson’s C 2½;
12= Kings Grantham B 2; Reigate GS 2; Wilson’s B 2; Worth School 2
16= Eton College B 1½; Wilson’s E 1½
18= Wilson’s D 1; Wilson’s F 1
20 Meden School 0