Check mate! Sussex Juniors retain title

Sussex Under 11 chess team. SUS-140522-170002001
Sussex Under 11 chess team. SUS-140522-170002001

The Sussex Junior Chess Under 11’s have retained their National Chess title with a record victory at the English Primary Schools Chess Association U11 championship.

Performing in what coach Mike Foster describes as a ‘dominant style’ the team won the premier age-group title with the highest points tally in the history of an event which has been contested for nearly fifty years, and their winning margin was also a record. Mike added: “They scored 52 out of a possible 60 points, and scored eight more points than the second-placed county. With chess scoring awarded a single point for a win, and half a point for a draw, this margin equated to eight more victories than their nearest competitors could manage.”

The EPSCA (English Primary Schools Chess Association) U11 championship has been contested annually by English county sides since 1967 and is considered the most significant of the various age-group titles on offer.

Each county enters a team of twenty U11 juniors who each play three high-pressure games during the day. A squad of 24 Sussex youngsters was drawn from all parts of the county, including two players from Bexhill, with many travelling with their parents up to the venue in Northampton the night before.

And coach Mike said he was delighted: “My view is that 52 points out of a possible 60 is right on the limit of what is achievable at this sort of event. It was only possible due to the combination of an extremely talented group of individuals and the exceptional commitment and support of all concerned, which made all the difference to our team spirit and approach.”

Sussex Junior Chess is a not for profit organisation run by volunteers to promote and popularise chess amongst school age children in the county. It provides training days at venues, and organises tournaments for individuals and schools and also selects and runs county teams who compete in national and international events.