Junior Team Chess Challenge 2023/24

ECF Junior Team Chess Challenge National Final – Saturday 20th April 2024

A record 18 schools descended on King Edward VI School Aston in Birmingham on Saturday 20 April for this year’s national final of the ECF Junior Team Chess Challenge. Teams came from across the country with players travelling from Kent, Lancashire, Northumberland and Devon as well as others with shorter journeys.

The chess tournament started after a lunch (kindly provide by KE Aston) with five rounds being played at a rate of play of 10 minutes with a 2 second increment. With this rate of play the arbiters, Chris Howell, Venkata Kilambi and John Bowley were kept busy with time scrambles and illegal moves! The winner of the tournament is determined by game points, rather than match points, and so with every encounter counting the result of every board was important.

Round 1 saw many one sided fixtures but matches quickly became more evenly balanced. The two top seeds, Wilson’s School and King’s College Junior School (KCJS) Wimbledon were also the only two schools to have previously won this tournament. They met in round 4, when they were both on 10½ /12. A very close match ensued with 3 of the 4 games being drawn, with Wilson’s winning the one decisive game. In round 5 Wilson’s consolidated their hold on the trophy by winning 4 – 0, leaving KCJS as runners up.

Full results can be found at https://chess-results.com/tnr924249.aspx

Place School Game Points Match Points
1 Wilson’s School 17/20 10-Oct
2 KCJS Wimbledon 15,5 8
3 King Edwards School 11,5 7
4 Nottingham High School 11,5 6
5 Dame Alice Owens School 11,5 5
6 Bolton School 11 7
7 Brentwood School 11 6
8 Bristol Grammar School 10,5 6
9= Torquay Boys Grammar School 10 5
9= Queen Elizabeth Hospital 10 5
11= St Peter’s, Guildford 9,5 4
11= Hallfield School 9,5 4
13 Ashington Academy 9 5
14 King Edward VI Aston School 9 4
15 Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys 8,5 3
16 Redland Green School 8 3
17 Netherthorpe School 4 1
18 Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School 3 1

Junior Team Chess Challenge is aimed at Year 7 and Year 8. Teams will consist of four players (reserves are allowed) at least one member of each team must be year 7 or 8. All players must be in year 8 and below. Junior Team Chess Challenge has been developed as a chess tournament which ALL secondary, middle and preparatory schools might like to enter.

The structure of Junior Team Chess Challenge is that regional events will be held on afternoons during Autumn Term 2022 and Spring Term 2023. The winning school at each regional event will qualify for the one day National Final. The host school will decide the details of the regional event. Typically at each regional event, between eight and sixteen teams will participate. All schools can enter two teams, with the host team having the option of a third team in order to have an even number of teams. Schools can enter more than one regional event but players in a winning team cannot play in a subsequent regional event that season. 

The regional event is normally organised as an afternoon tournament lasting about two hours. The typical rate of play is 10 minutes plus 2 seconds per move. Most event will have four rounds with each round lasting about half an hour. Swiss pairings will be used so that in the later rounds, the leading teams play against each other, and similarly the weaker teams play each other. Every point scored will count towards the team total, so a team winning 3-1 would score three points, and the losing team would score one point. The winning team is the one that scores the most points (out of 16 in a four round event). The host school can decide the starting time of their regional event, which may be during afternoon school or after school has finished. The principal aim of the regional final is that large numbers of school teams enjoy playing chess. The production of a winner to play at the National Final is an important subsidiary to this main aim. Sometimes schools who are runners-up at a regional event are also invited to the national final.

There is no entry fee for the tournament, but the host school may make a small charge for the provision of the refreshments, and possibly trophies, at the regional events. Games are not graded unless the local organiser wishes to do so, and there is no requirement for your team players to be members of any chess organisation.

If you have any questions about Junior Team Chess Challenge then please contact the national organiser Neill Cooper
Email: manager.secondary@englishchess.org.uk

St. Thomas More High School, Southend
Friday 10th November start 4.15pm
Contact: Jason Vitone Email: jvitone@st-thomasmore.southend.sch.uk
Winners: Westcliffe School; 4 teams played

King’s College School, Wimbledon
Thursday 16th November 4.15 to 6.30pm
Contact: Matt Hortin Email: MJH@kcs.org.uk
Winners : KCS Wimbledon; 4 teams played
Results: https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/league_comp/207455/efixtures

Brentwood School 
Thursday 23rd November Arrival from 3.30pm, tournament from 4.00 – 6.00pm
Contact: Robin Slade Email: slader@brentwood.essex.sch.uk
Winners: Brentwood School; 8 teams played

Nottingham High School
Wednesday 13th December from 4.30pm
Contact: Ed Jones Email: jones.e@nottinghamhigh.co.uk
Winners : Nottingham High School; 4 teams played

David Nieper Academy, Derbyshire
Monday 29 January start 4.00pm (in parallel with the open competition)
Contact Alistair Doohan Email: ADoohan@davidnieper.academy
Winners: Dronfield Henry Fanshawe and Netherthorpe School; 4 teams played

Greenford High School
Monday 5th February at 3pm
Contact Will Hirtzel Email: whirtzel@greenford.ealing.sch.uk
Winners: St Peter’s, Guildford; 10 teams played

Torquay Boys Grammar School
Tuesday 6th February 2023 at 2pm (in parallel with the open competition)
Contact: Tim Onions Email: tim.onions@yahoo.co.uk
Winners: Torquay Boys Grammar School; 5 teams played

Dunottar School, Surrey [FULL]
Thursday 22nd February. Tournament from 5.00pm
Contact: Iain McClure Email: I.McClure@dunottarschool.com
Winners: Wilson’s School; 12 teams played

St Albans School
Monday 26 Feb from 4pm to 6pm (provisional date)
Contact Andrew Dexter Email: ardexter@st-albans.herts.sch.uk
Winners: Dame Alice Owen’s School; 5 teams played

Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury
Wed 6th March from 4pm to 6pm
Contact Joe Eagle Email: jeagle@thelangton.kent.sch.uk
Winners: Simon Langton Grammar School; 7 teams played

Manchester Grammar School
Spring Term 2024 – 7th March
Contact Philip Chadwick Email: P.Chadwick@mgs.org
Winners: Bolton School; 6 teams played

Solihull School
Friday 8th March – 4 rounds from 5.00pm – 7.00pm (in parallel with the open competition)
Contact: Alex Holowczak Email: alexholowczak@gmail.com
Winners: King Edwards School and Hallfield School; 17 teams played
Results: https://chess-results.com/tnr904988.aspx

Bristol Grammar School
Monday 11th March 4.00-6.30pm
Contact: Graham Iwi Email: giwi@bgs.bristol.sch.uk
Winners: Bristol Grammar School
Also qualified for final: Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Redland Green School; 34 teams played
Results: https://chess-results.com/Tnr907784.aspx

Ashington Academy, Northumberland
Thursday 14th March 4pm to 6pm
Contact Jonathan Rooney Email: jonathan.rooney@ashingtonacademy.co.uk
Winners: Ashington Academy; 8 teams played

The National Final
The National Final will be on Saturday, 20 April 2024 at King Edward VI Grammar School Aston, West Midlands, B6 6DJ. Further details in due course.