CLEVER Poppy Boyd made all the right moves as she won a regional chess competition - just seven months after learning to play the game.
The delighted seven-year-old proved she was the queen on the board as she outplayed her rivals to win the under-seven age group at the North East Mega Finals.
And now the Throston Primary School pupil is preparing to pit her wits against even better players at the Northern finals in Manchester, in July.
There she will be joined by her checkmate Victoria Lynn, 11, who finished runner up in the under 11 age group at the regional finals in Newcastle, and also guaranteed herself a spot in the next stage.
“I didn’t really know how I was going to do before the competition,” said modest Poppy, a Year 2 pupil who lives on Hartlepool’s Bishop Cuthbert estate with dad Adam, the former Hartlepool United striker, childminder mum Chamene and younger brother Jacob, four.
She added: “I just wanted to do my best and it went really well.”
Poppy first got her hands on the chessboard when her granddad, Kevan Turner, taught her how to play the game last year.
She then joined Throston Primary School’s thriving chess team, who excel at all of the competitions they enter.
Eighteen of the school’s pupils made the trip up the A19 for the North East competition - a team decided after an inter-school contest to determine who qualified.
Neil Voisey, maths co-ordinator and Year 6 teacher at the school, in Flint Walk, expressed his huge pride in all of the pupils who took part, and praised Poppy for her ability to take to the challenging game in such a short space of time.
Mr Voisey said: “Poppy has done extremely well.
“She’s a very studious player, very thoughtful with great levels of concentration.”
He added: “The standard of play in our school has been exceptional.
“The 18 who played in Newcastle did very well, especially Poppy and Victoria.
“But we had more than 50 pupils playing each other in the inter-school competition to see who we would take to Newcastle, which shows how keen the children are to play the game.”