ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay Chess Tournament 2018
Sunday 23rd September 2018 at Eton College, Berkshire
Winners – RGS Guildford A
2nd – Gonzaga College, Dublin A
3rd – Hampton School A
Plate winners – Heathside Prep School
It’s a day out at Eton College – with a tour included for adults. It’s 48 teams of six from 37 schools from right across the country (and even an international element) – dozens of games of chess all going on at once. And somehow, it all comes together with such amazing speed. Volunteer schools bring sets, boards and DGT1000 clocks and the whole thing gets set up in minutes and then we’re off, always slightly late but never mind, and five rounds later everything disappears even faster than it was set out. Of course, it’s not mysterious and is a result of much organisation from Neill Cooper, a man who makes the Duracell bunny seem lethargic.
2018 was my fifth visit to the Eton Rapidplay. The first time we came, my school had only five rated players and only two who played regularly. Forever our board three has been known as the ‘death spot’ – they are usually playing against someone much stronger and get crushed even when the team wins.
A great feature of the tournament is that you have some of the strongest junior chess players at one end of the room and some who have never played with clocks at the other end. The first couple of rounds can be very one-sided; the team returns beaming from turning one school over, not realising perhaps that it means their next match may pit them against a team who will do the same to them. Before long it has evened out and rounds three to five see some very competitive chess played – at all levels.
Team chess can be a great leveller. Before a round starts, a team of older teenagers can be seen grinning with the anticipation of victory as their nine and ten-year-old opponents sit down in front of them. Then they discover that there are some very strong nine and ten-year-olds and, crushed 6-0, they retreat to the team room with bruised egos. Well, it gets them used to it when they are adult players I suppose.
It’s never easy being the team manager at Eton. My A team revel in telling me which opening they are going to play in advance – it usually involves an early g4 – displaying such levels of hubris that I know I’m going to be saying “I told you so” in 20 minutes time. On a couple of occasions, the final match has been critical and I have to stress out quietly while a player breezily plays through an endgame a pawn down.
Now we have more than twenty rated players and I have to play a careful political game of who to leave out. Everyone loves the Eton Rapidplay. The atmosphere is very friendly and it is the most laid-back tournament I have been to. The chess is competitive but, being rapidplay, the top players aren’t too worried about their rating and aren’t afraid to experiment. Parents chat with teachers, teachers chat with other teachers (probably about education) and the children get on famously. It signals the start of the chess ‘season’ and a chance to introduce your new players to school chess. Everyone keeps coming back – I see a lot of the same faces each year – and they bring more and more players. That has to be good.
Many congratulations must go to the winners for the second year in a row, RGS Guildford, who have built a formidable chess team, Gonzaga College – the ‘international’ element from Dublin and Hampton, both recent winners, who came second and third respectively. KEGS were just half a point behind them – if only James hadn’t played the Grob …
Report by Tim Worrall
|1||RGS Guildford A||1105||24.5||16:06.0||20:05.5||03:04.0||09:04.5||02:04.5|
|2||Gonzaga College SJ A||984||21.5||24:06.0||19:05.0||06:05.0||04:04.0||01:01.5|
|7||St Paul’s School London||877||20.5||21:05.5||17:05.0||09:02.5||22:05.0||06:02.5|
|8||Wilson’s School A||853||20||29:06.0||27:05.0||05:02.0||18:03.0||14:04.0|
|9||Brighton College A||860||18.5||28:06.0||11:04.5||07:03.5||01:01.5||10:03.0|
|10||Gonzaga College SJ B||813||18||30:03.5||13:03.0||20:03.5||29:05.0||09:03.0|
|13||St John College Cardiff||776||17.5||34:04.5||10:03.0||15:03.0||26:04.0||16:03.0|
|14||The Judd school||734||17.5||36:06.0||03:00.0||24:04.5||25:05.0||08:02.0|
|15||North London Collegiate A||640||17.5||41:05.0||25:03.5||13:03.0||17:02.5||22:03.5|
|16||Heathside Prep School||609||17.5||01:00.0||33:05.0||28:04.0||27:05.5||13:03.0|
|17||King Edward’s School A||660||17||40:05.5||07:01.0||27:04.5||15:03.5||12:02.5|
|19||Westminster Under A||721||17||44:06.0||02:01.0||11:01.5||31:04.0||30:04.5|
|20||City of London School||823||16.5||33:06.0||1:.5||10:02.5||30:04.0||26:03.5|
|23||Bristol Grammar School||557||16||06:00.0||45:06.0||30:01.5||42:05.5||21:03.0|
|24||Wilson’s School B||570||16||02:00.0||44:06.0||14:01.5||38:04.0||41:04.5|
|25||RGS Guildford B||691||15||39:05.0||15:02.5||26:03.0||14:01.0||29:03.5|
|28||The Skinners’ School||554||14||09:00.0||37:05.0||16:02.0||46:06.0||11:01.0|
|29||Brighton College B||522||14||08:00.0||47:06.0||42:04.5||10:01.0||25:02.5|
|30||St. Paul’s Girls’ School||526||13.5||10:02.5||32:03.0||23:04.5||20:02.0||19:01.5|
|31||The Latymer School||620||13.5||48:05.0||4:.5||38:03.0||19:02.0||35:03.0|
|33||Hereford Cathedral School||504||13||20:00.0||16:01.0||48:06.0||41:04.0||34:02.0|
|34||Nonsuch High School for G||441||12.5||13:01.5||38:01.5||43:05.0||21:.5||33:04.0|
|36||St Peter’s Guildford||422||12.5||14:00.0||42:00.0||45:06.0||37:03.0||39:03.5|
|37||Norwich School B||303||12||11:00.0||28:01.0||39:04.0||36:03.0||46:04.0|
|38||Westminster Under B||512||11.5||12:01.0||34:04.5||31:02.0||24:02.0||32:02.0|
|39||King’s School Gloucester||272||11.5||25:01.0||41:00.0||37:02.0||48:06.0||36:02.5|
|40||Hinchley Wood School||259||11||17:.5||21:03.0||35:00.0||43:03.5||42:04.0|
|41||St Thomas More High School||210||10.5||15:01.0||39:06.0||18:00.0||33:02.0||24:01.5|
|42||Norwich School A||603||10||03:00.0||36:06.0||29:01.5||23:.5||40:02.0|
|43||Bishop Luffa C of E School||370||9.5||26:00.0||35:03.0||34:01.0||40:02.5||45:03.0|
|44||North London Collegiate B||380||9.0||19:00.0||24:00.0||47:06.0||32:03.0||27:00.0|
|46||King Edward’s School B||263||9.0||18:01.0||48:06.0||22:00.0||28:00.0||37:02.0|
|47||Lenham School A||2||5.0||27:00.0||29:00.0||44:00.0||45:00.0||48:05.0|
|48||Lenham School B||1||2.0||31:01.0||46:00.0||33:00.0||39:00.0||47:01.0|
Time: Registration from 10.15am, play starts at 11.00am and finishes about 5pm
Event Format: 5 round Swiss rapidplay tournament. Digital chess clocks. All moves in 20 minutes + 5 second increments from move one. All games will be ECF graded.
Teams: Teams will consist of 6 players in school years 7 to 13. Schools can enter one or two teams. Squads can have up to 8 players with 6 playing in any match. Schools which have no pupils beyond year 8 are allowed up to 2 players from years 5 and 6.
Chess Supplies: Tim Onions will be running a chess and bookstall – www.onionschess.co.uk
Reserve games: We may need to include a team of reserves in the tournament. We will also be able to play reserve games in the playing area and arrange for these games to be graded.
Cost: £25.00 per team
More information from Neill Cooper – firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrants as at 11/09/18 — Abingdon, ACS Egham, Archer Academy, Bishop Luffa C of E School, Brentwood School, Brighton College, Bristol Grammar School, Chepstow Comprehensive, Churchill Academy, City of London School, Eton College, Gonzaga College SJ, Hampton, Harrow School, Heathside Preparatory School, Hereford Cathedral School, Hinchley Wood School, Homefield, King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, King Edward’s School, Mill Hill County High School, Millfield, Nonsuch High School for Girls, North London Collegiate, Norwich School, Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, RGS Guildford, Sevenoaks School, St Peter’s Catholic School, Guildford, St. Paul’s Girls’ School, The Abbey, The Judd school, The King’s School, Gloucester, The Latymer School, The Lenham School, The Skinners’ School, Westminster Under, Wilson’s School
ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay Chess Tournament 2017
ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay Chess Tournament 2016
September 18, 2016 at Eton College – 5 rounds for teams of 6 players.
Pictures by John Upham can be found here – https://johnupham.smugmug.com/Chess/ECF/ECF-Secondary-Schools/
Congratulations to Gonzaga College, Dublin on winning this exciting tournament by the narrowest of margins.
Position / Name / Total game points
1 / Gonzaga College A / 24
2 / Hampton School A / 24
3 / Millfield / 23
4 / RGS Guildford A / 22
5 / Haberdashers Omega / 21
6 / Wilson’s School A / 19.5
7= / City of London Boys School, KEGS A, Winchester College A, Haberdashers Alpha, QE Barnet, Eton College / 18
13 / Sevenoaks School / 17.5
14= / King Edwards School A, Chepstow School, Simon Langton GSB A, Wilson’s School B / 17
18= / Abingdon School, Sir Thomas Rich’s, Brighton College / 16.5
21= / Gonzaga College B, Mill Hill CHS / 16
23 / North London Collegiate / 15.5
24= / Reigate GS, Horris Hill / 14.5
26= / Hampton School B, Dame Alice Owen’s School, Westminster Under School, King’s School Grantham, King’s School Canterbury, The Hall, Bristol Grammar School / 14
33= / Winchester College B, Heathside Prep School, St Paul’s Girls’ School / 13.5
36= / RGS Guildford B, ACS Egham, King Edwards School B / 13
39= / Nonsuch, Churchill Academy / 12.5
41= / KEGS B, Simon Langton GSB B, Guildford County School / 11.5
44= / Sir William Borlase, Bishop Luffa School / 10.5
46 / The Abbey School / 9.5; 47 / Hereford Cathedral School / 9; 48 / Basildon Upper Academy / 8; 49 / Reserves / 7.5; 50 / St Francis College / 3
ECF Secondary School Rapidplay Chess Tournament
Sunday 20th September 2015
Eton College hosted the fourth annual Secondary School Rapidplay Chess Tournament in their magnificent school hall. 250 players made up 40 teams representing 33 schools from fourteen counties, from Lincolnshire to Somerset, Warwickshire, Lincolnshire to Kent. Over 600 rapid play games were played across the five rounds.
Schools featured included National School Chess Champions Haberdashers’ Askes and past winners Hampton School. As well as some very strong teams, there were many others of a range of strengths seeking to do their best. Whilst the top players were graded over 200, the median grade was closer to 100.
The event was opened with a short address from Phil Ehr, Chief Executive of the English Chess Federation. Play went remarkably smoothly with any issues being quickly resolved by arbiters Chris and Matthew Howell. The draw for each round and scores were clear for all to see on an enormous screen at the end of the hall.
The scoring system was based on games points (so every game counted towards the total) rather than match points. This proved popular with the weaker teams who found that their scores were increasing even when they were losing matches. Also the Swiss system lead to many close matches – half the results being 4 – 2 or closer, even though the first round matches were all more one sided than this.
However, a downside of this scoring system was shown this year. Whilst Hampton won all 5 matches, including beating Habs, they scored a lower game point total. So whilst Hampton were match point champions, the game point (and therefore event) champions were Haberdashers’ Askes by half a point. Third, a further half point back, were QE Barnet with RGS Guildford a further half point behind. Fifth place was taken by King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford in their best ever chess result. Sixth place were North London Collegiate, the best result that I have seen by a girls school team in an open tournament. Seventh were City of London Boys School, making an impact as they return to school chess, whilst our hosts, Eton College, came eighth.
Prizes were presented by Dr John Nunn, world class GM and twice World Champion in Problem Solving.
|1||Haberdashers Askes School||Herts||173||23.5|
|2||Hampton School A||Surrey||161||23|
|4||RGS Guildford A||Surrey||155||22|
|6||North London Collegiate||Middx||116||19.5|
|7||City of London Boys School||Middx||130||19|
|9-11||Westminster Under School||Middx||113||17.5|
|Wilson’s School B||Surrey||113||17.5|
|13-14||RGS Guildford B||Surrey||114||16.5|
|Simon Langton GSB A||Kent||101||16.5|
|15||Wilson’s School A||Surrey||140||16|
|Hampton School B||Surrey||91||15.5|
|16-19||Sir Thomas Rich’s||Gloucs||123||15.5|
|20-21||Dame Alice Owen’s School||Herts||84||15|
|Mill Hill CHS A||Middx||130||15|
|22-23||Bristol Grammar School||Avon||81||14.5|
|Simon Langton GSB B||Kent||55||14.5|
|24-25||Heathside Preparatory Sch||Middx||62||14|
|St Paul’s Girls’ School||Middx||90||13.5|
|29-31||The Abbey School||Berks||94||13|
|The King’s School Canterbury||Kent||95||13|
|Witham Hall School||Lincs||37||13|
|36||King Edwards School||Warks||80||10|
|37||Laxton Junior School||Northants||39||9|
|38||Mill Hill CHS B||Middx||65||8|
|40||St Francis College||Herts||30||3.5|
Below is some feedback I received from teams shortly after the event. I hope that the knowledge that even teams who came near the bottom still greatly enjoyed the event will encourage more schools to take part next year.
“Thank you for an excellent tournament. The girls had a really good time and are inspired to improve for another year.”
“Just wanted to say thank you so much for a well organised event at a fabulous venue. I know a lot of work goes into making these events run well and to ensure that all the schools, children and parents have a good day. The team and parents certainly had a great day!
Many thanks also to Eton College and Mr Moston – in particular for the hot drinks and the tour. Tea and coffee on tap was very welcome. The tour was an amazing insight into the history and workings of the college.”
“Once again, many thanks for your hospitality yesterday. In amongst all of the demands of such a tournament both you and Justin made us feel extremely welcome.”
“Many thanks Neill for yesterday. A super organised day well done to you and your team.”
“On behalf of the teams thank you very much for all you did to make Sunday’s event so much fun. The players enjoyed their chess and socialising and their families enjoyed their day out in Eton and Windsor. The friendly atmosphere generated by Eton as a venue and the relaxed competitiveness of the chess made it a great day for everybody.”
“It was nice to spend time with the reserves as well who were not great players and didn’t win many games but were able to play a real part in the tournament and have fun. Next year I want to also bring a team from a local comprehensive as watching the chess at the bottom end confirmed a weak team would still have a good day.”
“All my boys came away with at least one win and they all had a very positive experience of the day. It has become a firm fixture in the school diary.”
“My boys had a great time and I was really pleased with their performance despite them narrowly missing out on qualification.”
Finally thanks to Eton College for providing fantastic facilities that is a draw for many schools.
Neill Cooper, ECF Manager of School Chess Email: email@example.com
ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay
– from Neill Cooper
[pictured – ECF Director of Junior Chess, Phil Ehr, presenting the winner’s trophy to Saravanan Sathyanandha, captain of the Haberdasher’s first team]
The inaugural ECF Secondary School Rapidplay Chess Tournament was a great success. 15 schools took part, some travelling over 2 hours each way, and fielded a total of 17 teams with 6 players in each team. There were lots of reserves so and 18th team was formed so that all teams played in all 6 rounds. A total of 112 players played 330 games of chess, which have all been rapidplay graded.
It cannot be said to have been a close contest for first place – a strong Haberdasher’s Askes first team won all 6 matches and scored a total of 30½ points. Two of their players, Ravi Haria and Roman Mitra, were the only players to win all their 6 games. In contrast second place was a 3 way tie between Wilson’s School 1st team, RGS Guildford and Winchester College, all of whom scored 22 games points.
The scoring system was based on games points (so every game counted towards the total) rather than match points. This proved popular with the weaker teams who found that their scores were increasing even when they were losing matches. Also the Swiss system lead to many close matches – almost half the results being 4 – 2 or closer, and 9 fixtures ended in 3 – 3 draws.
Feedback from schools who took part has been very positive, including:
“I just wanted to thank you for an excellent competition today. My boys thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and the whole experience generally. I’m in agreement with the other teachers that this kind of competition is much better for my school. Meeting lots of teams in one day is much better from an economies of scale perspective and it would certainly be appreciated in other competitions.”
“A belated thanks for Sunday! The boys really enjoyed it and are keen for the next event, we have a series of quick plays across our county during the year. These are all individual, but team events are so much better! “
“Thank you again for organising what was a most enjoyable day of chess.”
“Many many thanks for organising such an excellent day. Our team really appreciated it.”
“Many thanks for a fantastic tournament; very well organised and a great venue”
“Thank you so much for yesterday’s event. My team (despite being relatively weak), had a great day and learnt a lot.” “This sort of event is great for us: Several graded games and meeting lots of schools and their chess teams and managers”
Most teams thought the time for each round (1 hour) was about right, though slightly longer should have been allowed for the whole event. Everyone preferred playing in one large section rather than being split into smaller all-play-all sections. Some schools would have preferred the scoring to be done by match points not game points. Most teams would like to play in a similar event within the next sixth months, preferring Sunday to Saturday (to avoid clashes with other school events). Many schools felt that they may be able to host a similar event in the future.
We are very grateful to Eton College for providing their facilities free of charge. One unique feature of the event was to hear the fantastic organ music at the end of their morning chapel service.
Final results table:
|2=||Wilson’s School A||Surrey||22|
|8||Dame Alice Owen’s||Herts||18|
|9=||KE Camp Hill||Warks||17.5|
|9=||Wilson’s School B||Surrey||17.5|
|11||The Abbey School||Berks||17|
|14||All Sorts [Reserves]||16|
|17=||St Paul’s Girls’ School||Middx||10.5|