The Award Committee - Keti Arakhamia-Grant, Elaine Rutherford and Craig Pritchett - has decided to make the award to British under-16 Girls Champion and founding organiser of the innovative and exciting Dalguise Activity Weekend Junior Congress, Lynsey Shovlin.
Reasons for the decision
In the period of the award (September 2004-August 2005), the Award Committee considered that there were two outstanding candidates, as well as two other nominees who deserved special mention.
The Committee gave Lynsey an edge due to her outstanding organisational and promotional achievements in the period as well as her success over the chessboard. She has raised the profile of chess for girls and for chess generally and is an excellent role model for all aspiring juniors.
The jewel in Lynsey's organisational crown is the Dalguise Activity Weekend Junior Congress. The first Dalguise event took place in October 2004 and was an immediate hit with Scotland 's young players.
Dalguise mixes off-board sports and social activities with serious chess at a first-class venue. It is an example of an exciting way forward in chess for all of us, adults as well as juniors.
Numbers for the second Dalguise Congress were well up on last year's, with a high proportion of girls in both events, indicating just what a considerable innovation this tournament has been.
Lynsey's organisational and promotional activities also extended to a wide range of other events and administrative tasks.
For example, she organised the 2005 Scottish Girls Championships, assisted in organising the Fair City Chess Challenge, captained Fair City Juniors, acted as a local area grader, raised funds for junior coaching, obtained media coverage in the Perth Courier and Aberdeen Press and Journal and writes regularly about events at www.ChessScotland.com .
Lynsey also played extensively, raising her rating significantly. She won the British under-16 Girls championship in August, played in the Scottish Girls team and as an individual in the World Youth Chess Championships, and won the Scottish Girls Championship (jointly) and Scottish secondary Girls Championship.
Lynsey deservedly won a Perth and Kinross Young Achiever in Sport Award for her chess achievements in 2004-05. She impresses everyone with her positive attitude, enthusiasm and warmth for the game and all who play it.
A second outstanding candidate
Lynsey faced a strong challenge from Amy Officer , who shone as a player this year and made her own organisational and promotional mark in many areas. With a 1500+ rating, aged only 13, Amy is one of Scotland 's brightest junior prospects.
Internationally, Amy played for Scotland in the Trinations tournament and in two World Youth Chess Championships. She was the sole Scot to compete in the strong Ampleforth College Junior Masters and captained the Scottish Girls Team, as well as playing on board one, in England last March.
Amy won a number of prizes in major UK open events, including the women's prize in the Blackpool International Congress. The English Chess Federation gave her a special award for her contribution to chess. She also captained Carse of Gowrie Club B team.
Off the board, Amy coached and encouraged beginners at Carse of Gowrie and Hillside Primary clubs and became an arbiter for the first time, including managing pairings, at an under-8 regional event in Stonehaven.
Amy also gained wider recognition and sponsorship for chess, by establishing contacts with the Council, local trusts and Westminster MP Annabelle Ewing.
Like Lynsey, Amy is also a frequent contributor at www.ChessScotland.com . Most recently (in October, just outside this year's Award period), she launched a new Chess Scotland Juniors web page, which is a must for junior news, views and fun. Go visit!
Amy also obtained a Perth and Kinross Young Achiever Award for her chess achievements. Scotland is fortunate to have had two such outstanding girl performers and chess ambassadors this year, as Lynsey and Amy.
The Committee commends two other (younger) nominees
Two other (younger) nominees for the Award caught the eye of the Committee. Rhian Hughes , also short-listed last year, continued on her upward playing trajectory. Still not yet 12 years-old, Rhian, moved towards a 1400 rating in the Award period, and has since continued rising.
Among her achievements, she won the 2005 Primary Girls Championship and led her primary school team, as captain and board one, to a number of wins, including the Primary schools championship, Bankton teams and Lothian Primary championships.
Internationally, Rhian, who plays board one for the Scottish u-12 team, scored an excellent 6.5/11 in the 2005 World Youth u-12 Championship.
Rhian also plays in the Chess Edinburgh adult league. She is very involved in her very active primary schools club and has undoubtedly inspired many girls (and boys) to take up the game.
The even younger Ali Roy , just 10 years old, has also seen her rating rise sharply to over 1000 in the period (and still rising). Ali played a phenomenal 110 rated games in the period. She is a very promising talent. And she just loves the game!
Steady improvement in chess frequently comes to players who have a straightforward joy for chess and a degree of objectivity about results that transcends “ego”. Ali has that joyous approach in abundance, and she is getter better. We shall follow her progress in the next year or two with great interest.
The Award Committee December 2005
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.