News

Chess Tournament

The house chess tournament is now well underway after a somewhat stuttering start during charity week.

Day 8 - King conquers then conks out, princess pushed off her horsey after a wild ride; Junior tournament decided

As we reached the climatic stages of the tournament, A43 had the atmosphere of the Crucible Theatre during the world snooker championships, only with the clinking of heavy balls replaced by the tapping of boards and clocks and calls of “check!” Spectators were, as usual, very respectful of the players, responding only with the odd gasp or groan after especially strong or questionable moves by the players.

In order to make up for some lost time, the all-Tudor quarter-final between Rob King and Miss Taylor resumed at morning break. This encounter featured the last-student-standing in the competition vs the last-lady-left-in, so something had to give. Missy made mischief in the opening, but King had grown wise to some of her ploys and although occasionally distracted by her jabs, managed to penetrate her central defences for a rapid mate (see photo) and hence a place in the semi-finals. King then returned at lunchtime to take on Dr Winder (W) for a place in the final. The first game was a close one, with Winder gradually accumulating a material advantage without being able to make it count positionally. Then, with Winder’s clock running dangerous into his last minute, he went into turbo mode, forcing the queens off, then playing around 30 moves in as many seconds, involving a dozen successive checks, then a knight sacrifice, then a forced route-march mate with rook and king as Rob King was forced to dance like a cowboy with bullets being fired at his feet! Perhaps spurred on by the slightly ignominious end to the first game, King then matched Winder blow for blow in game 2, which seemed destined to be drawn as the middle game was highly complex. Unfortunately after all his excellent play, King made a blunder which allowed Winder’s bishop to sneak in from behind to seize a critical rook (see photo). After this, the end came swiftly and cruelly for King, Winder subjected him to the same dance as game 1 as he flourished in the finale.

So it will be an all-staff final again as Winder goes on to play whoever eventually wins the sabres-at-dawn style semi swordfight (see photo) between Mr Ollie Daniels (Y) and Mr Houghton (H). Game 2 was one for the connoisseurs with Daniels hitting Houghton hard in the opening, but the champion showing great mettle to repel all attacks and gradually turn the screw in the opposite direction. The middle stages see-sawed a little, but neither player could gain a definitive advantage and then suddenly it became all about the clocks! Daniels remarked afterwards that he spent 19 of his 20 minutes trying to win and then the last minute desperately fighting for the draw, which he just managed to achieve, exchanging the last pieces off so that just the kings remained at the end. Daniels had just 9 seconds remaining on his clock and looked utterly spent at the end. He will be very glad of the chance to recharge before battle resumes today.

In the junior competition, the young pretender Ingyu Yoe (Y) came up against old hand Kieran “Bomber” Balchin (H) in the final. Like some of the greatest boxers, Balchin has seemed at his best in the tournament when pushed back against the ropes and so it was again in the final. The first game produced plenty of drama, with both players mounting strong attacks without bothering with the tiresome necessity of defence! Yoe seemed to have the greater initial thrust and cleaved Balchin’s central defences asunder with a well-engineered multi-piece combination attack, culminating in an apparent checkmate near the centre of the board. Unfortunately your correspondent was unable to take a photo of this situation due to being ensconced in his own game, but as Balchin was congratulating Yoe on the win, Yoe commented that it wasn’t in fact checkmate yet! Having found the escape move, Balchin seemed to have an adrenaline surge and 5 moves later delivered checkmate at the opposite end of the board! By contrast, Yoe understandably found this a deflating experience and capitulated more tamely in game 2. Despite this, he should be congratulated on a superb silver medal performance in a tournament where he was the least experienced by far. If he continues this rate of progress he will be the favourite for next year. The 3rd/4th place match also took place yesterday and saw Harry Taylor (S) take the bronze with two well-crafted checkmates over Annabel Paton (H).

In the senior competition only one match was played yesterday, but it was an absolute cracker between Ethan Prime (W) and Matt Eldridge (Y).  Having lost the first game from a potentially winning position, Eldridge came out guns blazing in game 2 and gained an early advantage, but Prime then resisted him with huge tenacity, turning the game into an attritional siege.  Eventually Eldridge claimed the win to level the match, but unfortunately it seemed to have required all his energy to do so and in the decider Prime did a unusual number on him (boom boom!) to get the crucial win. Eldridge will be left to muse on what might have been, while Prime goes on to face Lucas Joel (Y) in the semi, with the winner of that contesting the final vs Nick Brown (H) or Dom Sturgis (T). 

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Current state of competitions – can tutors remind any of their students listed to attend A43 at any possible spare moment and supply an early lunch pass if required.

6th form/staff

Semi final  Dr Winder (W) beat  Robert King (T)

Semifinal 2 Mr Houghton (H)  vs  Mr Ollie Daniels (Y)  0.5-1.5 so far

Seniors

Semi 1-  Nick Brown (H) vs  Dom Sturgis (T) 1-1 so far

Semi 2-  Lucas Joel (Y)   vs  Ethan Prime (W)

Juniors

Champion: Kieran Balchin (H) ; 2nd Ingyu Yoe (Y), 3rd Harry Taylor (S), 4th Annabelle Paton (H)