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)

South Wales and West of England Jamboree (U9, U11, U14)

Last weekend Nathanael attended the South Wales and West of England Jamboree as part of the U11 Somerset County team.  Somerset had 3 teams entered (U9, U11 & U14).  He was a little happier with this tournament as he had more time on the board with 40 mins and 10 sec increments.   Nathanael was on board 14 and the team consisted of 16 team members plusd 2 reserves, so to make it fair, board no.s 13-18 took a turn at being reserve so all could have 2 games that counted towards the teams score.

1st game against Devon: Nathanael secured a win, only taking two of his opponent’s major pieces and loosing none of his own resulting in a check mate.

2nd game against Gwent: this time Nathanael was a reserve, unfortunately the opposing team didn’t have enough players so Nathanael got paired against an U14 reserve.  This game was a bit trickier but he was able to secure another comfortable win.


Nathanael keeping his head in the game inbetween matches

By this time we were starting to see that Glamorgan were the obvious stronger team with a score of 25½ , Somerset-16, Devon-12 & Gwent-10 and we were up against them in the last round.  We knew we had to win a lot of matches to secure first place.

3rd game against Glamorgan: Nathanael came away with a loss and it didn’t stop there.  Many came out with losses against the strong side but it came down to the last few games on whether we would secure at least a 2nd place.

Final results for U11:

Glamorgan – 37½
Devon – 21½
Somerset – 20
Gwent – 17

For the other teams the U14’s came away with a comfortable win of 26½ out of a possible 30.  Gwent-17, Glamorgan-9½ & Devon-7.

The U9’s team missed out on a win by ½ point with 29 points and Glamorgan taking first place with 29½, Gwent finished 3rd with 13½.

Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix #3


Last Sunday when all the country were either out making snowmen or staying bundled up in the warm, Frank and Nathanael ventured through the blustery gales to High Ham, Langport for their next tournament in the Junior Grand Prix.  Frank only had 5 entrants in his age group and Nathanael had 14.

Round 1 – Frank was set for a bye on his first round then it seemed only 2 had turned up for his age group.  Things were shuffled around and he ended up with a game.  He looked set to win then the dreaded time on the clock let him down and he lost on time.  Nathanael was up against a player who has just been selected for the England Squad but he knew he had given him a good game before so went in positive.  He held him off for about 25 minutes and was a close game not on pieces but on position.  Early on his opponent took a knight but Nathanael was able to nearly check mate by lining up the bishop and queen.  Unfortunately his opponent  kept attacking his queen not allowing him to line it up and he lost the game.

Round 2 – 2 other players had now turned up for Frank’s group and he won his game.  Nathanael up against an U12 player who actually won the U12 group so his loss didn’t hurt so much as he held him off for 20 minutes.

Round 3 – Frank now on the last opponent of his group won the match easily.  Nathanael had a good game and won easily with lots of easy takes of unprotected pieces.

Round 4 – Frank now in the position of having played everyone it was time to play everyone again!  Next he was up against his opponent from the 1st round and he was determined to not loose on time this time round.  He needed a win to keep in the running for first and successfully won his game.  Nathanael had an easier game and managed to get a fork with his Queen against the Bishop.  His opponent moved the bishop and didn’t realise the Queen was open to being attacked, another win.

Round 5 – Frank a very quick win.  Nathanael’s opponent got a draw against Nathanael first opponent so he knew it was going to be a tight match, but unfortunately it ended in a loss.

Round 6 – Frank has his last win and Nathanael won an easy game taking the Queen at the start.

Result – 
Frank: Joint First
Nathanael: Joint Runner Up

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Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix #2 – Taunton

On Sunday, 12th November 2017 we had another successful day for our junior club members at the 2nd Somerset Junior Grand Prix which was, fortunate for us, held at the Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton, so no long journeys this time. This time Frank and Nathanael were joined by Angie, our newest club member from Switzerland.


Round 1 – Angie with a quick win, Frank losing on time and Nathanael loosing a close match with a surprise move putting him off his plan.

Round 2 – Angie won a closer match than previously, Frank had a bonus bye and Nathanael won by losing a rook early, placed his bishop to threaten two rooks. The opponent brought out their queen exposing a knight, which was taken by the bishop and trapping the king in checkmate.

Round 3 – Angie won her match in the last 50 seconds.  Frank lost after winning early on in the match, a surprise move by his opponent lost him the queen and he had to resign a short time later having lost several main pieces.  Nathanael was quickly defeated by an oppenant he played the last time in the Bath tournament, although he got a bit further into the match this time.

Round 4 – Angie won her match in a solid match.  Frank (awaiting result).  Nathanael wins by trapping the rook with his bishop and in the end had two rooks against a rook and bishop beating his opponent (a Rapid Play Graded 71 player) who he lost to last time in Bath – result!

Round 5 – Angie now at 5-0.  Frank (awaiting result).  Nathanael 2-3 now going for a runner up tie in the last round!

Round 6 & Results:

Angie (U16) came 1st finishing with 6 points,  The organisers made a special mention that they had all received a lesson on how to play chess from Angie but we secretly think the amazing luxury hot chocolate that was on sale in the cafe might have been her extra hidden secret to winning. Well done Angie !!

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Frank (U16) having had quite a few tougher matches compared with the last time came through with a medal for 3½ points.


Nathanael (U11/12) came joint runner up with 3 points.

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Well done all of you!

The next tournament is on Sunday 10th December 2017, 10:00 – 17:30 at High Ham C of E Primary School, High Ham, Langport  (Google Map), click here to enter.

Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix – Bath


Today our junior club members were in Bath attending the 1st of 6 Somerset Junior Tournaments that are part of the Somerset Junior Chess Grand Prix.  This was Frank’s first tournament on the Somerset Junior front and following his recent performance on club nights we were quite excited to see how he will fare against some of the more experienced Somerset U16 players.  For Nathanael, this was his second year and now playing in the U12’s so he knew what to expect but transitioning from long games on a club night to 25 minutes for each player took some adjusting.

In the first round many junior players filed out of the hall as they completed their games but time went on and on and there was no sign of Frank or Nathanael !!!  It ended up with their matches being the only ones left playing in an empty hall.  Nathanael finally came out with 4 minutes left on his clock and 2 minutes left on his opponents, both down to pawns, his opponent was able to get her queen which then resulted in a loss for Nathanael.  20171015_110923

Frank continued and it wasn’t long afterwards that he came out with a smile on his face after a win.

In the rounds to follow, Frank continued to come out smiling as he successfully won 5 tough games and drew 1 game.  Nathanael faced a graded 96 player in the 2nd round who demonstrated to him how to beat a player quickly but Nathanael came away having learnt another tactic to store for another day and definitely doesn’t want to be caught out by that in the future.  He finished with a win of 2 games and a loss of 4.


All in all it was a great day and a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Frank for being a joint winner in the U16’s, a fantastic achievement.  Those Somerset Juniors better watch out.

20171015_170939Their next tournament is on the 12th November 2017 and is going to be on home territory at the Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton.  Pop in if you’re passing.