BUDDING chess Grandmasters came to a High Wycombe school today to choose who will represent Buckinghamshire in the national finals.
Wycombe High School played host to 134 players aged from six to 18 in the county heat of the UK Chess Challenge – which has more than 60,000 entrants nationwide.
And the standard was high, with three players who have represented England taking part alongside a further eight who have played for Buckinghamshire previously.
Organiser Paul Basham said: “They are already all winners – they have qualified as their school or club’s champion.
“We would like there to be more clubs, but it does still have its popularity as the numbers in this tournament show.
“Some have played adult players at county level and beaten them.”
He added: “We don’t have as many players as some counties – Surrey have more than 1,000 – but the ones we have are very good.”
Players win one point for a win, half for a draw and none for a defeat.
Everyone gets a certificate for taking part, with anyone getting three and a half points or higher receiving a rosette.
A score of four or higher qualifies for the year group finals, which take place at Wycombe High School on Saturday May 9 – from where the county representative will be chosen.
The winner of each age group wins a trophy for being their group’s ‘supremo’, with a separate trophy to the highest-scoring girl.
Mr Basham said: “There are far fewer girls who play chess – I’ve no idea why that is.”
Each contestant played six games during the course of the day – which can last up to an hour.
Mr Basham added: “The school has been brilliant, allowing us to host the tournament here. We are using 25 of their classrooms and their sports hall. It’s not a quiet room with people getting up and down all the time so they have carpeted that for us.”