Warwick Junior School Receives Award for Outstanding Chess Achievements
Every year since 1914, the English Chess Federation (ECF), the governing chess organisation in England, has issued awards to schools for outstanding achievements in chess, with funds administered by the British Chess Educational Trust (BCET). Warwick Junior School received this prestigious award for 2023.
The ECF was deeply impressed by the chess profile which Warwick Junior School has carved in recent years. Approximately 80 boys across all age groups play chess in lunchtime clubs running from Monday to Friday. Activities include internal competitions with prizes, demo-board displays, game analysis and puzzle-solving. Boys receive end-of-year awards for overall achievement, conduct and progress. A Master chess club was created for boys to receive additional high-level coaching and an online club and tournaments were set up during lockdown, with members regularly playing and practising on Lichess. An annual Blitz chess tournament has been co-organised with Warwick Senior School. Strong links have been established with the Coventry Chess Academy, offering pupils a pathway to chess out of school, as well as links with local schools to play friendly fixtures. Warwick Junior School became the only primary school to enter a team in the Coventry Schools Chess League for 2022-2023 and finished second in division 2.
There have been some tremendous individual successes. Members have medalled in ECF-rated junior chess tournaments and even won games in the local adult chess league, the Leamington & District Chess League. Several have gained selection for the county junior squad. The award selectors were also impressed by the exploits of Billy, the school's leading player, on the international front. Billy represented England on numerous occasions, including the European Youth Championship, the European Youth Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship, the Glorney Cup and the World Cadets Rapid & Blitz Championship. He also won prizes in two successive international tournaments in which he played alongside some of the world’s top Grandmasters.
Billy has just joined the Senior School and the announcement of the BCET award at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year was an appropriate note to sign off on after four fantastic years. The popularity and status of chess within Warwick Junior School is at an all-time high. The boys are going from strength to strength and this recognition from the ECF is testament to their talent, hard work and dedication.