Amy Officer – the 2006 winner
Chess Scotland is pleased to announce that this year's winner of the Cherie Booth QC Award for the Scottish Girl Player of the Year is Amy Officer.
Amy plays for the Carse of Gowrie Chess Club and Scotland . Her main achievement as a player during the period of the Award (September 2005-August 2006) was at the Turin Chess Olympiad, where she qualified for a Women's FIDE Master title (WFM). At 14 this made her the youngest Scottish player ever to hold an international title. She is the sole titled Scottish junior at present.
Amy has many other playing achievements to her credit in the Award period. These included playing top board for the Scottish under-18 Girls' team at the European Youth Team Championships in July 2006. She has played in numerous congresses in Scotland and in England and has significantly increased both her Scottish and FIDE ratings.
Aside from playing chess, Amy has developed and applied her skills as a coach and arbiter in an increasing number of junior chess settings. She designed and launched the popular Chess Scotland juniors web-site, drawing in many adult and junior contributors and providing an excellent mix of light and more serious articles and photos.
Many of Amy's exploits have excited media interest and she has been a first-class spokesperson for girls and junior chess. She has also drawn sponsorship money into the game, including backing from a local Perth company to finance her participation in the Smith & Williamson British Championship.
Lynsey Shovlin and Rhian Hughes – highly commended
Last year's Award winner, Lynsey Shovlin, and Rhian Hughes also caught the judges' eyes this year.
Lynsey consolidated and extended her reputation as one of Scotland 's top organisers, young or old, and her innovative Dalguise Activity Weekend continues to be one of the brightest jewels in the junior tournament circuit, with its winning mix of physical activities and competitive chess.
Lynsey picked up a British Championship title for her grading group and national representative honours. She plays, runs tournaments and grades games, coaches, raises funds for chess teaching in schools and was invited to speak on chess at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. She gives a great deal back to chess and is a huge asset.
Rhian, still 12, took a huge step forward in strength this year. She qualified for a place alongside Amy Officer in the Scottish women's team at the Turin Olympiad and registered a very high FIDE grade for this age of just over 1800. These are exceptional playing achievements.
Rhian also gained junior Scotland representative honours and won the under-12 girls section of the UK Land Chess Challenge Gigafinal, followed by jointly sharing the top girl's spot (and £500) in the Terafinal.
She puts a lot back into organising and motivating her peers in junior chess and is an excellent role model for all young girls in Scotland .
The judges would like to thank everyone who took time to nominate a player for the Cherie Booth QC Award. They also thank every girl who took part in chess events in Scotland throughout the Award period, who in a real sense are all winners!
Keti Arakhamia-Grant, Elaine Rutherford and Craig Pritchett