West of England & South Wales County Team Championships (u9,u12 & u14)


This weekend we had the West of England & South Wales County Team Championships (u9,u12 & u14) of which Josh and Nathanael had been invited to be a part of the Somerset County Team.

They both had successful matches, with Josh having 3 wins and 1 draw and his u9’s team winning overall.  The u14’s didn’t have such a good time after Gloucester decided to submit a team and subsequently took Somerset’s top four u14 players with them.  This was a big hit for them.  The u14’s team unfortunately came last even though some long hard fought games were made on higher boards than they would usually play.  Nathanael however had a successful day coming out with 2 wins and 1 loss.

Well done boys!

Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix No.1 – Oct 2019

The first of the Somerset Junior Grand Prix started today at Prior Park College in Bath, a very grand venue with an amazing view.

This time we had 4 juniors taking part, Nathanael, Harvey, Joshua & also Ryan (one of our future juniors).

Nathanael has now moved up from the u12’s to u16’s which is quite a jump when you are 12.  Today there were only 6 of them in his age group so they all got to play each other.  He had many challenging and long games.  He finally came out with 1.5 points.

This was Harvey’s first tournament and as he’s only been playing for 3 months he was very brave to give the tournament a try.  Even though he didn’t come out with a win this time he definitely gave each of his opponents a run for their money by keeping them playing for quite a while, a great achievement for a beginner.  We look forward to seeing how he progresses as he learns more at the club.  Welcome onboard Harvey!

Joshua, our little rising star, at age 5 was also attending his first tournament.  He was placed in the u7/u8 group and seemed to end up playing the u8’s most of the time.  This didn’t matter as he was able to clock up 4 wins out of 6!!!  It was all down to the last game  and fortunately his main contender lost his last game which placed Josh as joint winner of the u7’s group.  What a great achievement at such a young age.  I think Arnold (Dad) is going to have to do some DIY and put up a shelf in his room as I feel we are going to see many more trophies coming his way!

Ryan another new promising junior is not really known to anybody in the club yet.  He is currently waiting for our junior side to start up at the club so he decided to join us at the tournament and it was good to meet him and for us to get to know his family,  Ryan, taught solely by a computer so far, put up some good games for his first tournament in the u8’s.  He came out with 4 wins (one loss against Joshua!) and was awarded the runner up trophy.
20191013_171453So all in all it was quite a successful day and it was lovely to have a team going from Taunton Chess Club.

The next tournament is at Bristol Grammar School on the 10th November 2019.  Make sure you are signed up to the Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix newsletter to receive your entry form link.

Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix & Finals


Last Sunday was the last in the series of tournaments for the Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix.  It was a little mix of emotions this year having missed one tournament due to sickness and snow cancelling another.  Nathanael knew this tournament was a tight competition amongst the stronger players.

This time it was held in Twerton, Bath where there are a lot of additional players that join the tournament from the chess hub of Bath!  Competition was strong with some long games.  Nathanael came out with 2 wins out of the 6 which meant he came 5th overall in the tournament for the year.

Unfortunately he missed out on gaining one of the top places to gain a place in the final……or did he?

It turns out one of the top four could not make the final so Nathanael has now been invited to take part in the finals on the 30th June 2019 at Millfield.  He plays 3 games against the top player first then depending on the result will play the loser or winner of the other game.

Congratulations Nathanael on making it the final again this year.

Somerset Junior Chess Grandprix no. 3


It’s seems a long time since we last attended a grandprix game, with sickness causing us to miss the second one just before Christmas and the snow postponing the 3rd.

This time there were a few new faces gracing the boards of the u12’s row, which were really good!

Game 1 & 2 went well with a win.

Game 3 – was a new face and a longer game with his opponent touching his Queen by accident forcing him to move undefending the rook which Nathanael was attacking.  Nathanael declined three offers of a draw from his opponent, then later he, himself offered a draw which was rejected.  A small error at the end on Nathanael’s part resulted in a loss.  (regrets not accepting the draw!)

Game 4 – was a close game, both having lost to Nathanael’s opponent in game 3 so it was inevitable that they would play each other.  Unfortunately it was another loss.

Game 5 – another loss .

Game 6 – a WIN.

All in all he finished with 3 points which was a decent result against some good players.

Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix Tournament 1


So the Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix begins another season, consisting of 5 games over the coming months.  This time there are some new incentives to get juniors involved with prizes for those who attend every tournament and also a new schools cup for those involved with school chess clubs.
20181111_083026This month was another long journey with a glorious rainbow following us to the other side of Bath at St Saviours Junior School.  In the past this has been one of the hardest and most well attended tournament due to the hub of junior players in the Bath area.  This year they have changed things slightly so the u11 and u12’s were split into their separate age groups which was a lot better.  Nathanael found himself in a group of 11 x u12’s.  After arriving quite early Nathanael warmed up with a quick game against mum, needless to say he won, but there were some moves in there to make him think a little.  (Give me some credit please!!)

Game 1 was up against last years winner and very good player, Bentley.  Nathanael gave him a good game lasting 40 minutes of the 50 minutes allocated.  Unfortunately he lost but was happy as he gave him a good fight.

Game 2 was again against one of last years finalists, a mistake caused him to lose his Queen and cost Nathanael the game.

Game 3, an easy win & game 4, a bye (Happy face)

Game 5 another long game with his opponent asking for a draw twice.  Nathanael refused and stuck to his guns as he knew he had plenty of time on the clock and his opponent was running low.  With 12 minutes left on his clock and his opponent, 1 minute, Nathanael finally got a check mate.

Game 6 saw a game with another of the top seeds resulting in a loss.

All in all it was a good & close performance and with a total of 3 points he came joint 3rd with 5 other players.  No medals this time as you need 3.5 points for a medal, so prizes were awarded to 1 winner and 1 runner up.  Next tournament is in High Ham on 16th December 2018.

Somerset Junior Grand Prix Finals – 17th June 2018


Today we had the finals of the Somerset Junior Grand Prix.  Both Frank and Nathanael have had the opportunity to attend 5 tournaments throughout the year with both gaining 1 of the 4 places in the finals today.

The event took place at Millfield Senior School in Street and we can safely say this venue was very good at spoiling us all, with cakes and refreshments throughout the day and an all day breakfast for lunch!


Enough about the food, what about the chess?……oh yeah.  The semi-finals consisted of 3 games and the winners went through to the final.

Frank had to quickly get his head back in the game after having a break of chess during his GCSE exams. His first game of the semi-finals was quite long but he succeeded with a win, along with a quick win in the second game and a loss on the third.  Next up was the final.  His opponent was just starting his games after having had a bye for the last 3 rounds and he proved too strong for Frank for the first 2 games.  In the third game Frank decided to try an opening he had recently learnt, the “Bong Cloud Transvestite”, (maybe a teachable moment for a chess club night) and came away with a win.

Nathanael had beaten his opponent in previous tournaments so went in with a winning attitude starting out on black.  He was soon able to win the game.  The second game Nathanael was able to take the game with 3 pawns up and 9 minutes remaining on the clock and his opponent giving up the game with only 36 seconds left.  The third was a very quick win.  The final was against a very good opponent, one Nathanael has never beaten, his first game went well with him holding him off for 40 minutes but unfortunately he lost all three games against him.


Well done both Frank and Nathanael, you have done so well to get second place against some really good players.  You can be proud of yourselves for all the hard work you have put in.


Junior Members Through to the Finals


Last Sunday was the last tournament in the Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix in Bath .  Frank was unable to attend so Nathanael was on his own this time.

His first opponent was a regularly known u12 player who has recently been selected for the England team and had a grade of 123.


Nathanael went in with a positive attitude as they had had some good games in the past.  With 25 minutes each on the clock the game went to the full 50 minutes.  Unfortunately Nathanael ran out of time with his opponent having 23 seconds remaining.   A game I think he can be proud of.

Next came an u11 player who was currently second in the league table, Nathanael had an easy win in 5 minutes. Third was another u11 contender for the top four spots in the league final and Nathanael played well winning in 10 minutes.  His fourth and fifth opponents were back with tough u12’s who beat Nathanael quite quickly.  Then he ended the 6th game with a stale mate.  He ended the tournament with 2.5 points, so no award this time.

But all is not lost, we can “CELEBRATE” because both Frank and Nathanael have gained 1 of the 4 places in their age group in the grand final on the 17th June 2018 at Millfield School.  Well done boys!!

Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix #5 – Frome

Another month and another Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix for Frank and Nathanael is quickly upon us.  For those of you with a keen eye might have noticed that the last Grand Prix was #3 and now this is #5.  #4 was unfortunately cancelled in January.

This time we were a little further afield in Frome.  On paper it doesn’t seem to be too far away, but on wheels it seems a very different experience and wondered if we would ever get there as it seemed to take an age to drive there.  This is what we call the biggy tournament out of the 6 monthly tournaments.  The school there has a flourishing chess club so there were many participants.

Frank’s U16 group had 6 entries and Nathanael’s U11/U12 group had 27.

We tried a new approach to get a quick match re-cap after each game so roving reporter ‘Mum’ recorded a rundown on her phone from Frank and Nathanael after each game (I think parents were wondering who the stars were to have the privilege of an interview !!).


Ready for Round 1

Round 1:
Frank – an equal game until he got to the end, had a slight winning position with a few pawns up and a King and Rook end game, then he lost on time!!!!!!  Arrggghhh !!!!!
Nathanael – Opponent got a fork and took Nathanael’s bishop.  At the end of the game he had a King, Knight and some Ppawns and Nathanael only had a King and Pawns, then his opponent managed to trap him and then got a Queen.  Check Mate!

Round 2:
Frank – Fairly messy game but managed to get an exchange at the end and get a ‘cheeky’ check mate.
Nathanael – It was an equal game with a rook up but then his opponent managed to get a Queen and kept checking him.

Round 3:
Frank – Very quick game and his opponent blundered in the opening and gave Frank a check mate.
Nathanael – Quite an easy game this time.  At the end he had two rooks and his opponent had no major pieces so he was able to check mate.

Round 4:
Frank – A bye !
Nathanael – Opponent had a Rook and Nathanael had a Bishop and his opponent managed to get a Queen and just kept checking and taking the rest of his pieces.

Round 5:
Frank – He was up a Bishop and it was a Queen and Bishop v a Queen and his opponent kept checking eventually capturing his Bishop.  They then agreed on a draw.
Nathanael – Another easy game and won fairly quickly.

Round 6:
Nathanael – A trickier game than the last two games.  He attacked and trapped his opponents King with his Queen and Bishop.

Frank only had 5 rounds to play so the U16’s presentation happened in the reception area during Round 6.  There was a clear winner with 5 points who had won every game.  Frank unfortunately lost to her on time in the first round, if he had won that game we could have seen Frank coming home with the winners trophy but we can’t dwell on the ‘what if’s’.  Frank can still be proud with his performance and came away with a runner up prize with 3½ points.  Nathanael came away with 3 points.  It was quite close on the results with 2 joint winners at 3½ points and then 5 players on 3 points.  Unfortunately you have to gain 3½ points to qualify for a medal and so he came away with nothing but with his head held high!


The last Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix tournament will be a little closer to home in Bishops Lydeard on Sunday, 15th April 2018.

Then 4 players in each age group with the highest points totals will be invited to a finals day in June.  On the finals day, 1st will play 4th, and 2nd will play 3rd in a best of 3.  The winners of each of these matches will play a best of 3 matches Grand Final to decide the overall age group winner.

At the moment Frank is top of the U16 league table and Nathanael is currently 3rd in the U11’s but all could change in the last tournament as there are some strong contenders.  (See League Table)