A young girl from Parish Church Primary in Gainsborough has been crowned the best chess player in Lincolnshire in her school year.
Alyssa Morris was the highest scoring girl from year six at the Lincolnshire Chess Championships, held at Lincoln.
She scored five points out of six, which included victory over her twin sister, previous winner Rhian, in the final round and so receievd the elegant Suprema Trophy. She will now travel to Manchester in July to take part in the North of England Championships and if she gets through that, the next step will be the British Championships.
Alyssa said: “Two years ago, I won this same Suprema Trophy but then it was the turn of Rhian, so we are keeping the trophy in the family! This is my final year with Parish to try and get to the British finals. It will be difficult, but I will do everything I can.
“I love playing chess and practising with my family. The teachers at Parish have made me an even better player, and one of them, Mr Anderson, only just beat myself and Rhian when we were waiting between games at Lincoln.”
That Mr Anderson is the school’s chess club organiser John Anderson, who believes the sport is very important for children. “It gets them to think critically in different ways,” he said. “Some countries think it is so important that they have made it compulsory for children.
“To have a child qualify for Manchester for the third year in a row is a real achievement, which we are immensely proud of. But it’s nearly 20 years since a pupil from a Gainsborough school made it to the national finals, so we wish Alyssa the best of luck.”
A merry band of eight children from Parish, and their families, took part in the county championships, where the standard was extremely high. And although all were awarded special certificates, two others also gained enough points to receive medals.
Lucy Hunt secured third place and a bronze medal in the U10 girls’ section, while the aforementioned Rhian Morris was second for a silver medal in the U11 girls’ section. Josh Necesito didn’t win many games, but was lauded by the organisers for showing a fabulous attitude and playing in the correct sporting manner.
Earlier, to determine who went to Lincoln for the county event, the Parish school held its own annual chess championhips, with 26 children battling it out to become king and queen of the black and white squares.
Matches were played during lunch breaks over a seven-week period, with three points awarded for wins, two for draws and one for defeats. Various prizes were also up for grabs and at the end of all the games, eight section winners were revealed, including an overall champion, who was Rhian Morris. Rhian was unbeaten throughout the tournament, winning all seven of her games, including one against twin sister Alyssa, who finished joint second overall.
Lucy Hunt, who has also qualified for the North of England finals before, was in good form too, while Josh Necesito summed up how the youngsters loved playing. “Chess makes me think, and we had great fun playing against a different person each week,” he said.