Former British chess champion takes on students in Letchworth

PUBLISHED: 12:26 21 June 2018

Fearnhill staff and pupils with International Chess Master Paul Littlewood who played a Chess Simul against them. Picture: DANNY LOO

Fearnhill staff and pupils with International Chess Master Paul Littlewood who played a Chess Simul against them. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Schoolchildren in Letchworth have been taking part in chess tournaments and simuls, including students from Fearnhill School.

Fearnhill pupils play a chess Simul with International Chess Master Paul Littlewood. Picture: DANNY LOOFearnhill pupils play a chess Simul with International Chess Master Paul Littlewood. Picture: DANNY LOO

The secondary school welcomed international chess master Paul Littlewood on Friday, where he played against 13 students at the same time.

Mr Littlewood – who was British Chess Champion in 1981 – took on Year 10 Luke, Year 9s Aeden, Josh and Khalil, Year 8s Josh and Ray and Year 7s Liam, Harriet, Holly, Ellis, Henry, Gabriel and Lewis.

Librarian and learning resource manager Roshan Hunt said: “Chess is very popular at Fearnhill and in addition to those chosen to take part in the simul, we had a long reserve list of students wishing to challenge Mr Littlewood.

“They have been practising hard to take him on and it is great to see our young people showing such focus and confidence.

Matthew Sadler gave a tactic demonstation at the Pixmore chess tournament. Picture: Tom CoatesMatthew Sadler gave a tactic demonstation at the Pixmore chess tournament. Picture: Tom Coates

“Our students were so inspired by Mr Littlewood’s last visit to our school in 2016 that we now hold our own mini simul every Friday lunchtime, with one student taking on up to six of their cohort at the same time.”

One shining star from the day was Year 10 Luke Garner, who was crowned the Hertfordshire Megafinal under-15 Supremo for 2018 in the Delancey UK schools challenge.

“This achievement puts Luke in the top 1,000 juniors in the UK,” said Mrs Hunt.

“Winning means that Luke, who is a self-taught chess player, has qualified to take part in the next round in July.”

On Saturday, Pixmore Junior School hosted the Pixmore Open Junior Chess Tournament for the eighth year running.

International master Natasha Regan and former British champion and grandmaster Matthew Sadler were on hand to give guidance to the 35 children who came along to take part.

The tournament was a joint venture between Letchworth Chess & Go club, Letchworth and Hitchin chess club and Pixmore Junior School.

Headteacher Alex Evans presented trophies and medals to winners and runners-up. In the senior section – aged 11 to 18 – Aaron Dhillon from Eltham College was the winner, with St Francis’ College student Hilary Bexfield coming second.

Alex Sorica, who travelled from Broxbourne, took home first prize in the intermediate level, and Dara Owladi from Hillborough Junior School in Luton left with the runner-up prize.

Finally, the junior section winner was Jairu Xu from St Matthew’s Primary SChool in Luton. Ryan Au from St Albans’ Windermere School came second.

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