National Schools Individual and Team Blitz – Sunday 7 October
(report by John Swain; photos by Phill Beckett)

The second National Schools Individual and Team Blitz attracted twenty-nine players from four schools: Chepstow School, Hymers College, Nottingham High School and hosts The King’s School Grantham.  The event had been scheduled for March, when eight schools were due to arrive, but had to be postponed due to snow; unfortunately, several of the original schools could not make the revised date.

Nevertheless, the Individual Blitz, which was held over six rounds in the morning, proved to be very competitive.  Blitz chess, in this case where moves were made with just three minutes on the clock, plus an increment of two seconds a move, is a great leveller; even rapidplay grades are not necessarily a reliable guide to form.  Players with a tactical style often do well in this type of chess. The event was won by second seed Armaan Gogia (172) of Nottingham High School who won all of his games, ahead of second-placed Aditya Munshi (181) also of NHS on 5/6. George Smith (117) of Chepstow School and Susie Wang (139) of NHS were joint third on 4.5/6; Zayan Baig (85) and Alexander El Khoury (114) both of NHS, together with Sam Goodfellow (98) and Madeleine Smith (123) both of Chepstow, all scored 4/6 to finish joint fifth.  All of these players received plaques.

The Team Blitz in the afternoon proved to be a titanic battle between Chepstow School and defending champions Nottingham High School.  Amazingly, both teams defeated all the other teams 4-0, although the NHS ‘A’ v ‘B’ was anything but a foregone conclusion in the penultimate round.  The showdown between Chepstow and NHS occurred in round 5 when the latter won a very close match 2.5-1.5 and therefore Nottingham HS won the tournament with 26.5/28, just a point ahead of Chepstow, who took home silver medals, in contrast to the bronze ones in 2017.  NHS ‘B’ came third with 17/28 and therefore collected bronze medals, as did King’s ‘A’ on 13.5/28 as the third-placed school.

In summary: NHS ‘A’ 26.5; Chepstow 25.5; NHS ‘B’ 17; NHS ‘C’ 14; King’s ‘A’ 13.5; King’s ‘B’ 11.5.  Reserves rotated in an ‘All Stars’ team which contained two players from Chepstow, and one each from Hymers, King’s and NHS.

Many thanks are due to hosts, The King’s School Grantham, especially Sue Drulia and Fran Ball and the catering team for looking after us so well.  Thanks too to the staff and parents who transported and supervised the players and, not least, the players themselves for their good humour and sportsmanship which led to very few interventions from arbiters Phill Beckett and John Swain.

— John Swain (Individual Blitz Controller) and Phill Beckett (Team Blitz Controller) 

The Second* National Schools Individual and Team Blitz will take place at The King’s School Grantham on Sunday 7th October 2018 from 10.45am to 4.00pm. This is free to all secondary schools and sixth form colleges in the UK.

What is Blitz?
Blitz is chess played quickly! Traditionally this was five-minute chess, where each player has 5 minutes on their clock to complete all their moves. With modern digital clocks, the alternative is that each player has 3 minutes, plus 2 seconds additional time per move. Either way it is fast and furious and fun!

Teams of four (plus an optional reserve) will compete in the Team Blitz from 2.00pm, for a trophy and medals for the three highest placed teams; from 11.00 a.m., all may also participate in the Individual Blitz with plaques for the top five players (schools who do not have sufficient players for the team event are encouraged to enter up to three players in the Individual Blitz and scratch teams will be formed for those who wish in the afternoon Team Event). King’s is just a short walk from Grantham station, on the fast East Coast line and has parking for those who prefer to drive. Refreshments will be available.

Read about last year’s event here

Chess clocks
If you don’t have chess clocks then you can practice use a phone app. A simple one is that provided for free on defaults to 5 mins or can be set to 3 mins + 2 sec increment (you can find it here).

* The event was originally scheduled on 17 March but had to be cancelled due to snow

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