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28 May 2012
Scottish Schools Championship Report

This report on the Championships was kindly submitted by Arun Sharma:

Balloch's chess team went to the Scottish Primary School Team Championships near Glasgow at the weekend.  There were teams from around 20 other schools there.  Matches took place between four players from each school - each player was allowed 25 minutes for all their moves.  After 5 matches we came to the last round thinking that we might be in with a chance of coming 2nd or 3rd.

The leading team from Sciennes, Edinburgh unexpectedly lost their last match, which meant we had a chance of winning the tournament!  We were winning our match 2-1 with one game still to be decided.  All the other 150 children had finished for the day with only the one game left playing in the hall.  The two players did not know the other results or realise what was at stake, but the increasing crowd of parents and children did.

Our player was down on pieces, but his opponent only had a couple of minutes left on his clock.  (If a player runs out of time, they lose the game).  As the tension mounted and the clock ticked down, we tried to keep the crowd back and quiet to allow the players to concentrate.  Suddenly our opponent freed his trapped rook and increased the danger for us.  But our player was defending well and it looked like he might win on time.  And then, with only a minute left on our opponents clock, he pulled out a killer move and our player was checkmated. 

This meant that we were tied in first place in the Championship, but ended up coming second in Scotland on points difference.  This was a super achievement for the Balloch P7s who were missing our best player Nathan Crush through last minute illness.  Nayeem Hussain had the hardest challenge playing the top players from other schools, and came away with two important victories.  Garry Scott-Lodge had an outstanding tournament by winning all six of his games on 'Board 2'.  The team performance was underpinned by Alistair Watson with three wins, and Lewis MacGowan with three wins and one draw.  (With one player short, Lewis had saved the team after we picked him up from a family weekend in Stirling.)

We also put a team into the 'P5 and Under' championship.  Christopher Watson (P5) had brilliant result winning 5 games out of 6 against the best players from other schools.  His only defeat came to the top player from the winning school.  Michael Sturrock (P5), Kyle Brown (P4) and Ryan Thom (P4) all played well to come away with two or three victories each. (The younger players have only been playing chess for a couple of terms)  The team came mid-table winning 3 matches out of 6.

Thanks to parents Forbes Scott-Lodge and Dianne Sturrock for driving and accompanying the trip.  And Brian Crush for running the club on a weekly basis.

The school chess club has now been running for six years, but the children of the three parents involved are all leaving Balloch this year.  The club needs new parents to keep it running for the future.  The kids love playing the game, making new friends and winning medals and certificates.  Chess develops good thinking and social skills which can help them in many other areas of school life.

Parents don't need to be good chess players but just willing to support and supervise the children.  Without new parents the club is at risk of folding which would be a great shame for the kids.  Please contact arun.sharma1605@gmail.com or 0771 969 6704 if you can help the club in any way for the future.  Support and guidance would be available.

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