National Schools Championships Final

National Schools Championships Final 2022
(pictures by Richard Buxton; more pictures at

After a gap of two years the National Schools Chess Championships returned, with the finals being played at the new venue of Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon. The event was enlarged due to the increased entry of teams in the Autumn term and 20 school teams qualified for the finals. Due to a late change of venue one qualifying team unfortunately could not attend.

Another change this year was the introduction of live boards, for which we thank Matt Carr who also ably controlled the whole event with the help of Richard Buxton. The games can all be found at

With 19 teams playing the finals were played as a 5 round Swiss (not, as previously, a knockout with extra results) and so drawn matches were allowed, which became important as the event progressed. All the match results can be found at

Round 1, as expected, produced clear wins for the stronger teams, but with some close individual encounters. None more so than that between Ian Gao (QEH) and Yichen Han (MCS) which lasted 120 moves, which with the Fischer (incremental) time limit slightly delayed the start of Round 2. The top 5 matches of Round 2 again went with the seeding means that Round 3 looked to be the round for some crucial matches. However, with the top three matches all drawn 3-3 (along with two drawn other fixtures) the first day’s play ended with 5 teams still in join first place, with three more teams just one point behind.

On the second day round 4 had four drawn fixtures, including the top two matches. But Westminster School won and so entered the last round in the lead with 5 teams just one point behind. The crucial fixture in round 5 was therefore between Westminster School and the top seeds, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School. Westminster School proceeded to win this fixture 4 – 2 and therefore are this year’s National Champions, the first time they have won this championships. Earlier in the season they had defeated the last winners (in 2019), City of London Boys School. 

In matches 2 and 3 King’s College School (Wimbledon) and Wilson’s school (Wallington) both won 3½ – 2½, and so came joint second. However, a tie break was required to decide who would win the Richard Haddrell trophy for the runner up. This was awarded to KCS for the better ‘Extended Sonneborn-Berger for Teams’. KCS did also beat Wilson’s School in the regional stage so this seems a fair result. Wilson’s School also demonstrated that, due to the repechage opportunities, teams can still achieve excellent final results even if defeated in the regional stage.

The final trophy to be awarded (in addition to a chess clock to every qualifying team) was the ‘Plate’ chess board for the highest placed team who lost their first round match. Despite Brentwood losing their first fixture 6 – 0 Brentwood School kept playing their best chess, winning both fixtures on day 2 by the close margin of 3½ – 2½ to get a total of 6 match points to come 4th (equal) and win the Plate trophy.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Bridge Foot, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6YR

20 teams qualified, 16 from the zones, plus 4 from the repechages. The tournament will be a 5-round Team Swiss System tournament, with 2 Matchpoints (MP) for a won match, 1 MP for a drawn match and 0 MP for a lost match. The time limit for each game will be all moves in 50 minutes, plus 10 seconds per move.

The schedule will be as follows —
Round 1 – Thursday 30th June – 1300; Round 2 – Thursday 30th June – 1530; Round 3 – Thursday 30th June – 1800
Round 4 – Friday 1st July – 0900; Round 5 – Friday 1st July – 1130; Prize Giving – Friday 1st July – 1430

The pairings and results can be found on Swiss Manager at the following link –

Watch live via these links
Chess24 – –
Lichess –

1st Championship Trophy
2nd Richard Haddrell Trophy
Plate Plate Trophy (awarded to the highest-ranked team who lost in the first round)

The Tie-Breaks will be (a) Extended Sonneborn-Berger for Teams (EMGSB); (b) Gamepoints; (c) Sum of Opponents Matchpoints.

These tie-breaks are commonly used in Team Swiss tournaments.