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Cherie Booth QC Award 2004: for “Scottish Girl Chess Player of the Year”


The Award Committee - Keti Arakhamia-Grant, Elaine Rutherford and Craig Pritchett - has decided to make the award to Scotland 's top rated girl, Louise Macnab .

Reasons for the decision

In the period of the award (July 2003-August 2004), the Award Committee considered that at least three other candidates, Rhian Hughes, Amy Officer and Lynsey Shovlin, also had excellent claims.

The Committee gave Louise an edge due to her promotional achievements in raising the profile of chess for girls and chess generally. It considered that she was a first-class role model for girl players.

Louise attracted significant national (not just regional / local) publicity for chess. This included excellent TV interviews and representative work with Scotland 's First Minister and Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, in connection with the 2004 Glorney and Faber Cups.

Louise also conducted an in-depth interview in Chess Monthly, which attracted many positive comments. This revealed much about the nature of talent, the need for hard work and sacrifice to get to the top in chess, and about handling the inevitable pressures.

Louise was the first girl (in 2003) to achieve a place in the Glorney Cup Boys team. She also captained the Girls team in the Faber Cup (in 2004) and played successfully in other “adult” as well as “junior” events, including a 1 st = at the 2003 Aberdeen Congress.

Louise has also undertaken some useful junior coaching locally for a strong local junior and her own school team. She is warmly regarded and her chess strength acknowledged in the wider UK and internationally.

The Committee commends the other three close candidates

Taking into account age-related expectation, Rhian Hughes' results were outstanding.

An extremely active player, Rhian captained her school team to 1 st in the Scottish primary schools championship and at Bankton, won the Scottish primary girls championship and finished 9 th out of 40 for competitors aged 7-18 and was best u-11 player in the UK Land Challenge (performance rating 1589).

Another first class role model and exciting international representative, Rhian scored best of the Scots at the World Youth championship in Greece (Nov 2003) and in the 2004 Faber Cup. She was 2003 British under 9 champion and clearly has enormous future potential.

Amy Officer , like Rhian, has also had an extremely successful year, including winning the British u-12 girls championship 2004. A most prolific player, including allegro games, she played over 100 rated games in 2003-04.

Amy represented Scotland in the 2003 World Championships, in the 2003 and 2004 EU Youth championships and in the 2004 Faber Cup. She finished 4 th in the BCF Female Grand Prix, 2 nd in the UK Land Gigafinal 2003 and won the 2004 Megafinal in Dunfermline . Amy also won two Scottish congress minors and played for Perth A in Division 1 of the SNCL.

A third splendid role model, Amy is also very active in schools chess, including organisation, teaching and regular competition in schools and junior chess and attracted wide local media interest.

Lynsey Shovlin has also been a prolific player in the last year, and has made a huge jump in rating to 7 th girl player in Scotland . Joint winner of the Scottish Individual Girls championship with Natalie Donohue, she has also played with success in many adult events.

Of the four candidates, however, Lynsey stands out for her organisational flair. Lynsey herself developed the concept for the successful new Dalguise junior event (in October 2004) and did most of the hard preparatory work in the award period.

Lynsey is a talented, hard-working, all-round organiser, skilled in budgeting, PR, and in use of the CS grading system, as well as tactful tournament trouble-shooting, having honed her skills in part through assisting in running the Fair City Tournament.

Our fourth fine role model, Lynsey is an excellent player, organiser of unusual potential and increasingly spokesperson on behalf of girls' chess and juniors.

The Award Committee December 2004

Note on the Cherie Booth QC Award

The Cherie Booth QC Award is a solid silver salver for award to the “Scottish Girl Chess Player of the Year”. The trophy was generously gifted to Chess Scotland by Jane and Gordon Murray of Aberdeen . The first award was made to Louise Macnab by the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Blair, on the occasion of a reception for the Scottish Youth Team at No 10 Downing Street, in June 2003. The name of the award is by kind permission of Cherie Blair.


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