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Old Hallfieldian wins Blitz Chess Tournament

On Thursday 14 October, we welcomed Old Hallfieldians back to school to compete with current pupils in our first blitz chess tournament. It was an evening of surprises, with all players showing true Hallfield spirit in how they approached each match. Our youngest competitors were just 7 years old and they didn’t let the experience phase them one bit!

Diah from Y5 said: “I was super excited to be invited to play as it gave me an opportunity to play with some of the Old Hallfieldian chess players who were my inspiration when I started playing chess a few years ago. 

I was anxious and excited but equally determined to take on the challenge. Thanks to Mr Thomas for his support and guidance, I was very pleased to finish the tournament with the highest tie break points. The highlight of the day was to meet some of my old Hallfield friends. Above all I feel proud to be part of the Hallfield chess community.”

A big well done to all the players and congratulations to Old Hallfieldian Rohan Pal who fought off stiff competition to become our tournament winner. A special thank you goes to Mr Thomas, Mr Holowczak and Mr Sandhu for overseeing proceedings. Read on for a full tournament report from Hallfield Chess Coach, Mr Thomas.

“What an interesting event our first blitz tournament turned out to be. Among the 24 players in attendance were many Hallfield chess stars of old pitting their wits against some of our leading, current players. Ages ranged from 7 to 30+ and the competition was close and fierce but with a large measure of good will and fair play.

“Round one produced a major shock when our super talented Yr5 player Diah, currently the highest rated girl of her age in the country, defeated most people’s pre-tournament favourite Manvith (Yr9) who is a top England International player who captained Hallfield to national success many times during his time here.

 “In round two, Diah continued her good form by defeating Hallfield’s current board two player Farhaan, while our current number one and England International player Kai showed good technique to win against another former Hallfield number one player Elliot (Yr10).

“By the end of round three we had reached the halfway stage and three players were on maximum points: Rohan (Yr8), another England International, former Hallfield board one and former British U9 chess champion; Zain (Yr8) who was the highest rated player in the tournament and Diah who was having the tournament of a lifetime!

“By the start of the final round, several players were in with a chance of winning the tournament but after an extremely hard-fought game between Rohan and Kai it was Rohan who emerged champion ahead of Zain on tiebreak.

“In a moment of weakness some week ago, I had agreed to play the tournament winner in an exhibition game at the end of the event. So it was that an aging retired player sat down to face an ambitious and in form Rohan, desperate to defeat his old chess coach, in a game of blitz chess where all of the moves had to be completed in about 10 minutes. Luckily for me my speculative, sacrificial attack turned out well and I emerged with my dignity intact, but my brain bruised.

“A special mention to our brilliant younger players who gained valuable experience against much older, more experienced players and stayed positive throughout. A special mention to Matthew in Yr4 who defeated two Yr7 players and one Yr8 player to finish on a 50% score, well done!

“Thanks to all the players and parents who attended and to all the staff at Hallfield for their hard work in organising the event.”

This will be an annual event, so please look out for details of how to register for next year.