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Last Thursday, Wilson's chess A team travelled to Stratford upon Avon in order to compete in the English National School Chess finals. As an outgoing Year 13, this was my last chess event for the school. The tournament was a 5 round event with 14 schools participating and each school had a team of 6 for each round. Three rounds were played on Thursday and two rounds were played on Friday. The team consisted of Shivam, Shlok, Denis, Henry, Balahari, Raghav and myself (William), with one of us sitting out each round to make a team of 6.

For the first time, I had the opportunity to play on 'live boards', a type of chess board where the board tracks the moves and relays them so the games can be viewed online in real time. In the first round, we played St Mary's Catholic School and we came out with a strong 5.5 out of 6 score. My game ended rather quickly as my opponent made an early mistake and allowed me to win a piece.

Mrs Higgs, Henry, William and Denis Front: Balahari, Raghav, Shivam and Shlok

In the second round, we played Nottingham High School and we won 4.5 out of 6. Shivam's opponent in this round was a master level player and as a result, he lost his game.

In the third round, we drew (3 out of 6) against Haberdashers Askes School. In this round, I lost my game after losing a pawn and then allowing an attack on my queenside. Shivam, Shlok and Henry all put in some impressive wins.

In the fourth round, we were paired against St Olave's. I had researched my opponent's games online to see how he played. My opponent, however, played differently than usual and in the end, we ended up drawing. The overall result for the team was also a draw. In the fifth round, we were paired against RGS Guildford. Early on, Shivam obtained a winning advantage against an FM (Fide Master, a strong titled player), however as the position was complicated and Shivam was down on time, he had to settle for a draw. This round proved tense as we were desperately looking to edge out RGS Guildford for a win. Shlok's game appeared to be heading for a draw, however, he was able to push his passed pawn and create a queen in order to win the game. This meant that we ended up narrowly beating RGS Guildford three and a half out of six.

The final result was that we came joint second. Westminster School won the competition. King's College School came second with us but had a higher tiebreak score so they took the second place trophy. All the games and results can be found at this link: https://chess24. com/en/watch/live-tournaments/english-schools-final-2022#live

Article by William (Year 13)

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