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Middle schools’ chess championship

By Stuart Conquest

The general standard of chess being played by Gibraltar’s youngsters continues to grow - this was the summing-up of UK chess coach and arbiter Peter Purland, who was in Gibraltar a few weeks ago, and who during his stay took responsibility for making sure the annual Middle Schools’ team championship, hosted by the Caleta Hotel, once again ran smoothly.

In this he was helped by his colleague Ian Campbell, who like Mr Purland had travelled from the UK to Gibraltar to teach in local schools for four days before the championship.

There were many close games and close matches. In the championship section there were five teams, meaning each school played four matches.

Teams were composed of five players, with an optional sixth “reserve” also playing (but, according to the competition rules, the results of the sixth board games did not count towards the final standings).

There was also a ‘B’ group, with eight teams, in which five rounds were played.

Winners of the championship this year were St Bernard’s (in board order: Harry Maloney; Ivan Duyunov; Kai Bartolo; Lewis Forster; and Alex McGiven, with the reserve player Giavano Vassallo) who won all four of their matches.

In obtaining this excellent result the team earned the maximum score of eight match points.

Bishop Fitzgerald (Aditya Dhanwani; Dev Mahbubani; Ashton Gonzalez; Ryan Hermida; Evelyn Barrow; Ethan Hermida) finished in second place (six match points), Loreto (Douglas Craig; José Muñoz Alarcón; Carlos Chacón Perez; Harrison Thomson; Chloe Kou), with four match points, were third.

St Anne’s (Russel Holt; Nicholas Gatt; Jack Skillicorn; Susan Da Costa; Omara Azelia; Dylan Rivero) finished fourth, and St Joseph’s (Alex Anderson; Daniel Abramov Jones; Alexander McGibbon; Jonathan Weston; Tobias Francis; Ben Lee) were fifth.

The second group was scored on board points, not match points, and was won by Loreto “B” whose total was 23,5. This placed them securely ahead of runners-up St Bernard’s “B” (17,5), while in third place were Bishop Fitzgerald “B” (16). Following these were Loreto “C” (14), St Anne’s “B” (12), St Bernard’s “C” (7), St Joseph’s “B” (6,5), and Loreto “D” (3,5).

Several players achieved the distinction of winning all their games - a perfect performance!

In the championship division these honours went to: Lewis Forster (St Bernard’s), Dev Mahbubani (Bishop Fitzgerald), and Carlos Chacón Perez (Loreto). In the ‘B’ section there were four players from Loreto who scored 5/5: Hugo Rosso; Antonio Sánchez Gaspar; Cesar Quintanillas Sánchez; and James Dolden. From St Bernard’s Sebastian Collins Rock also scored 100%.

Trophies were awarded to the winning teams, as well as to one nominated player per team (thirteen in all) who in the view of the teacher present had performed especially well.