Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Team Chess Challenge winners

Team Chess Challenge winners

Our chess team travelled to London this week for the Team Chess Challenge National Finals, with the hopes of becoming national champions.

The team of, James Moreby (Year 10), Joseph Dalton (Lower Sixth), Yichen Han (Year 5) and Jamie McIntosh (Year 8), qualified for the finals by winning the regional event, with the help of Zheming Zhang (Year 11), before Christmas and have been eagerly preparing for the final ever since.

The competition format sees each game played with a very fast time control; just ten minutes per game with an extra two seconds added after every move to prevent players losing on time. 

The team were second seeds for the tournament and had it pretty straightforward for the first two rounds securing 4-0 victories over Highgate School and University College School respectively. 

Top seeds, Hampton School, were next up, and a tense first two games went right to the wire, however we emerged the victors with another 4-0 win.

It would take until the fifth round for the team to drop their first point, but a 3-1 win against Manchester Grammar School still prevailed and the team marched on.

Going into the final round four points clear, the team knew as long as they didn't lose 4-0, they'd be crowned winners. 

Eltham College proved to be the toughest opponents the team faced, and although they won 2.5-1.5, it wasn't enough. Our team were national champions.

The youngest member of the team, Yichen, was the standout performer of the tournament, securing five victories from five and had six or seven minutes left on the clock at the end of every game.

It was a superb effort from everyone on the team and they'll be hoping to build on the success in future events.