York Junior Chess Day - 24th September 2016


Sixty junior chess players from the North of England descended upon the Archbishop of York C of E Junior School, Bishopthorpe, York this weekend for the annual York Junior Chess Day.

The Lord Mayor of York Cllr Dave Taylor, with Lady Mayoress Susan Ridley opened the event.

Pictured (left to right) International Master James Adair, Lateefah Messam-Sparks, Lord Mayor of York Cllr Dave Taylor and Lady Mayoress Susan Ridley

The event's special guests were International Master James Adair and chess coach Lateefah Messam-Sparks.

In the morning James and Lateefah held a coaching session and there was "Fire on the Board" as they showed the importance of developing pieces by playing through the fascinating King's Gambit game of Shirov v Lapinsky from 1990.

After the coaching session the sixty juniors were divided into three groups of twenty ;
A development group, an intermediate "Knights" group and a higher "Bishops" group.

The development group stayed in the main hall and were encouraged to have lots of fun playing chess by volunteers from the York & District Chess Association.

The "Knights" assembled for coaching in a quieter classroom with Lateefah and David Baren.

The "Bishops" congregated in another classroom for chess studies with IM James Adair and Ric Woodcock.

Pictured - Lateefah Messam-Sparks teaches the importance of developing all of your pieces and connecting your rooks.

After the morning coaching sessions the players got down to some competitive chess. There was a five round swiss tournament for all the groups.

By Round 5 the chess had become serious.
Three sets of players on the top boards of their respective groups fought for 1st place ......

On top board in the development group were WeiGing and Tamas Novacs. Tamas was in a winning position, but then he made the mistake of allowing "stalemate", leading to shared first placed winners.

In the "Knights" group Sam Barnett prevailed over local boy Joshua Burland.

And in the "Bishops" group rising chess star Mate Ther of Harrogate underlined his future chess prospects with a perfect 5 out 5.

Pictured - James and Lateefah with their respective group winners.

Amy Oxborough received a chess set as the prize awarded to the "Best Girl" on the day. Many prizes (including chess books, chess magazines, medals, badges, pens etc.) were awarded to all the participants.


The event organisers, The White Rose Junior Chess Academy and Peter Cloudsdale, thank the following for their contributions;
The John Robinson Youth Chess Trust.
"Chess and Bridge", Baker Street, London.
The Archbishop of York C of E Junior School.
IM James Adair and Lateefah Messam-Sparks.
The local PTA for all the refreshments and all the volunteer helpers.

A list of future events can be found on the Calendar at the White Rose Junior Chess Academy website here...

And at the end of a great day, the participants were asked if they'd had a fun day.

The resounding answer was a unified cry of "Yeeeeeeessssssssssssssss !!"

If you have any concerns with the content of this report, please contact the reporter Robert Moneagle -