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Scottish Girls Championship 2018
10th March 2018
The North-East was selected to organise the Scottish Girls Championships for a fifth successive year on Saturday March 10th 2018. The Championships were organised and run by the team at the North-East Junior Chess Association (NEJCA) on behalf of Chess Scotland.
Brotherton Castle, home of Lathallan School was again the host venue. The Castle provides a superb backdrop to this prestigious event, with its stunning coastal views from the playing halls, over the gardens to the sea. As in previous years, the facilities were excellent and the free lunches provided by the school were greatly appreciated by players, parents and guardians alike.
Once again, both WFM Joy Durno and the U12 National Coach Richard Jennings coached entrants between rounds. As usual the coaching was keenly attended. Support was also provided by John Shovlin.
This year, as the competitors finished their last round matches they could join the simultaneous match organised by the trainers, with the trainers rotating around the boards. This proved to be very popular and almost all the competitors joined in. Eventually, desperate measures were needed to finalise the matches so that the prize giving could go ahead. As is the custom, the trainers offered honourable draws but in a few cases some of the competitors spotted their chance and insisted on resignations!
Two sections of the Championships (P5 and under, and the Open) were played as an all-play-all and were keenly contested by the girls throughout the day. Such was the closeness of the competitions that once again, some results in all three competitions had to be determined using the tie-break rules. Exciting stuff!
P5 and Under
Alina Tang secured the title outright with a perfect score of 5 out of 5. Natalie Smith took second place and Eilidh Dallas third place with scores of 3.1/2 out of 5 and with the positions decided by a tie-break
1st Alina Tang 5/5
2nd Natalie Smith 3½/5
3rd Eilidh Dallas 3½/5
The P7 and under section was won by Florence Wilson with a score of 4 out of 5 based on individual results with Chelsea Lang taking second place. Third place was taken by Alison Benson with a score of 3 out of 5 based on individual results and countback. Orlaith Shepherd and Megan Macmillan took equal fourth place for which medallions were awarded, again with a score of 3 out of Primary
1st Florence Wilson 4/5
2nd Chelsea Lang 4/5
3rd Alice Benson 3/5
4th Equal Orlaith Shepherd and Megan Macmillan 3/5
Rachel Lorna Smith retained her title as the Scottish Girls Champion with a score of 4 out of 5. The second and third places were decided on individual results with Sorcha Shepherd taking second place and Nandini Dutta taking third place, both with scores of 3.1/2 out of 5.
1st Rachel Lorna Smith 4/5
2nd Sorcha Shepherd 3½/5
3rd Nandini Dutta 3½/5
Rachel's victory in the last round was achieved through a discovered attack by the Queen threatening mate on h8 whilst her knight simultaneously attacked her opponent's Queen and his majesty's escape square. A most elegant and convincing finish!
A hugely enjoyable day of chess, ended with the presentation of trophies and the crowning of three new champions, who received their awards from Duncan Lyall of Lathallan School (P5 and Under), Richard Jennings (P7 and Under) and WFM Joy Durno (Open).
Thanks to all who participated and to the various helpers and to all involved with NEJCA on the successful organisation of the event for the fifth consecutive year. A huge thanks also to Lathallan School and Duncan Lyall for their generosity, hosting the event and providing the free coffee, tea, home-bakes and lunches.
Report compiled for Chess Scotland by Steve Sawaryn