Hartlepool pupils become speed chess demons

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STUDENTS from a town school showed they had all the right moves when they took part in a speed chess tournament.

The first-ever English Martyrs School speed chess tournament saw 11 students playing a series of games in St Anne’s Hall, with only five minutes each to complete all their moves.

This was a ‘turbo-charged’ form of the game which was new to most of the young competitors – but they coped well with the different demands of the game and the extra pressure of the ticking clock.

In the end, Year 9 pupil Brandon Casey triumphed after remaining unbeaten throughout the afternoon.

Paul Lee, also of Year 9, was a close second, with a very strong performance from Joe Spaldin of Year 7, and Nathan Liddell-Archer was the best performing Year 8 student.

Congratulations also go to Andrew Wearmouth, Jack Buttery, Teige Kidson, James Ellingford, Sam Wheeler, Samuel Bousfield and Teddy Joyce.

Headteacher Michael Lee presented the trophy to Brandon Casey and a chess book to each competitor so they can continue their progress in chess at home as well as the Wednesday after-school chess club sessions in the school library.

School chess organiser David Edwards had a lot of praise for the standard of play and sporting behaviour of the players. He said: “Speed chess is an exciting form of the game, and with more mistakes made and winning moves overlooked at times when there is time pressure, the games remain unpredictable until the time runs out or a checkmate is discovered.

“It’s very much like T20 cricket compared to test match cricket – frantic but fun!

“Having a number of chess clocks at the chess club now means that students can play speed chess if they wish.

“It seemed a good idea to use them for a pre-Christmas chess tournament this year, in addition to the main one later in the school year.

“Well done to all of the competitors, and hopefully we can have more such tournaments in the years to come.”