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Law Society of Scotland

Secondary Schools Allegro Team Championships

Perth Race Course

Sunday 17 February, 2008

The first Law Society of Scotland Secondary Allegro Chess Championships was won after a thrilling last round, up to the wire finish by St Margaret’s High, Airdrie.

Tourney HallGoing into the final round, Robert Gordon’s, Aberdeen, needed to draw their final match to take the title. But despite being the form team in the earlier rounds, the Aberdonians’ previously steely nerves failed them, and they unexpectedly collapsed, 0.5-2.5, to a rampant St Aloysius College, Glasgow.


This slip allowed, St Margaret’s High to equal both of these teams on match points and win the silver Law Society of Scotland Trophy on a close, game point tie break. To do this, the Airdrie team, led by their British u-15 champion, Connor Woods, managed an equally unexpected, high last round 3-0 whitewash against Bell Baxter High, Cupar.

St Margaret’s, St Aloysius and Robert Gordon’s all scored 8/10 match points in the five round event. They respectively scored 12, 11 and 10 game points out of a possible 15, deciding the outcome of the first three places.

Full final results (match points only): St Margaret’s High, St Aloysius College and Robert Gordon’s (all 8/10); Aberdeen Grammar (6); Bell Baxter High and James Gillespie’s A (both on 5); St Augustine’s High and James Gillespie’s B (both 4); Dunfermline High (2); Loretto School (0).


Douglas Mill presents Winners plus Douglas Mill and Gordon Brewster of LSoS

On behalf of the Law Society of Scotland, Douglas Mill (Chief Executive), presented the prizes and expressed delight at the enthusiasm as well as the quality of play of the participants. Teams travelled from all over Scotland to play in this event and all can be proud of their achievement.


Lynsey ShovlinOn behalf of Chess Scotland, which organised the event, Lynsey Shovlin (18), the tournament director, an events management student at Napier University, Edinburgh, and herself a strong player (junior internationalist and Scotland’s Girl Chess Player of the Year in 2005), warmly thanked the Law Society for its generous support and commitment to this welcome new event for Scottish schools.

St Margaret’s High won the Law Society of Scotland trophy (to hold for one year), 3 chess clocks and sets and a cup for the school, and medals and £50 for each player.

Second-placed St Aloysius College won three chess sets and a cup for the school, and medals and £30 for each player.

Robert Gordon’s (third) won a cup and three chess books for the school, and medals and £15 for each player.

Prizes for the best scores on each board (which excluded players from the three winning teams): Board one – Ian MacDonald, Aberdeen Grammar (who scored 3.5/5); Board two – David Newton, St Augustine’s, Edinburgh (3/5); Board three – Hamish Olsen, Aberdeen Grammar (4/5).

Rhian Hughes, James Gillespie’s A, won the Best Girl prize (scoring 3/5 on Board one). Dunfermline High won a special “slow starter” prize. All players received a certificate of participation.

Nelson StandThe event was held in the splendid surrounds of The Nelson Stand, Perth Race Course on Sunday 17th February.


The Philip Hogarty Memorial Allegro The Philip Hogarty Memorial event was organised to celebrate the life of friend, fellow chess player and Chairman of the Irish Chess Union, Philip Hogarty, who sadly passed away on New Years Day at the age of 19. Though from Ireland, he was was well known in the Scottish junior chess community following numerous internationals and foreign Celtic adventures.

The tournament with 16 participants from throughout Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales was especially strong with all entrants being previous junior internationalists who are now in or applying to institutes of further education.

It was a tough fought contest with Ivan Stokes of Bearsden managing to edge ahead of a closely packed and highly competitive field, scoring 4/5 to take outright first place. Main Runners up: Daniel McGowan, Hugh Brechin, both Edinburgh, Karl McPhillips, Ireland and Calum McQueen, Giffnock (all on 3.5 points); Andrew Green and David Oswald, both Edinburgh (both on 3).

Our thanks go to all those who participated and made kind donations, totalling almost £200 which shall be given to Tallaght chess club where Phil passionately coached junior players. Grateful thanks are also due to Chess Suppliers Scotland for generously donating prizes to the tournament.

Two Games from the events All games were played at the rate of 25 minutes per player per game, so that excitement and large swings in fortune were common … not to speak of hardly any, even half complete game scores!

In the last round of the schools event, Jonathan Wright, mixed up his anti-Sicilian Taimanov Systems – Be3, Qd2 and f3 go together, but Be3 and Bd3 tend to go together better with 0-0. That said, Daniel Rocks’s provocative 7… Bb4?! (instead of the usual …Nf6) could have been met simply by 8.Nde2, rendering the early pin somewhat pointless. Other White moves are also good, but walking into the self-pinning 8.Qd2!? gave Black further aggressive options in the centre. White failed to see the strength of the …d4 threat (retreating his Bishop to f2 after 10…e5 would have been best). With his clock ticking, White then blundered away a piece - after … d4, he could still play 14.Bf2, and if …dxc3 Qe3 regains the piece (for a pawn) but with practical chances. Black’s play from then on was remorseless.

Wright,J (Robert Gordon’s) - Rocks,D (St Aloysius), Law Society Secondary Allegro (Bd 1, Rd 5): 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Qc7 7.Bd3 Bb4 8.Qd2 Nf6 9.f3 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 e5 11.Be3 d5 12.a3 Ba5 13.b4 d4 14.bxa5 dxe3 15.Qxe3 Qxc3+ 16.Ke2 0–0 17.h4 Be6 18.g4 Rfd8 19.h5 Bc4 20.g5 Qxc2+ 21.Qd2 Bxd3+ 22.Ke3 Qc5# 0–1

Ivan Stokes’s solid performance was typified by his win in round 3 against Lloyd Hughes, albeit Black might still have struggled on at the end, although in serious trouble, by playing 23…h6 Stokes,I - Hughes,L, Philip Hogarty Memorial Allegro (rd 3): 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4 c6 4.h3 Nbd7 5.e3 e6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Nbd2 c5 9.c3 b6 10.Ne5 Bb7 11.Qf3 a6 12.Rad1 Re8 13.Rfe1 Bf8 14.Bg5 Qc7 15.Bf4 Qd8 16.Rc1 Rc8 17.Qe2 c4 18.Bb1 b5 19.Ndf3 Qb6 20.Ng5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Ne4 22.Bxe4 dxe4 23.Qh5 1–0

Connor Woods Rhian Hughes Taylor Panton
Donald Wilson observes Ivan Stokes IM Craig Pritchett
Joe McGreechin Matthew O'Donnell

photos by Stephen O'Donnell, Lynsey Shovlin


Perth RacecoursePREVIEW: The Law Society of Scotland is pleased to announce sponsorship of a major chess championship for Scottish secondary schools. The Law Society of Scotland Secondary Allegro Team Championship will take place in the splendid surrounds of the Nelson Stand, Perth Racecourse, in Scone Palace Park, on Sunday 17th February.

Chess Scotland is organising the event on behalf of the Society. Retired senior Scottish judge, Lord Kirkwood, will attend as a guest. As a student in the 1950s, Lord Kirkwood represented Scotland internationally. He once played against the legendary Viktor Korchnoi (USSR), on top board for Scotland in a World Students' Match.

Craig Pritchett, of Chess Scotland, said: “Many people have a stereotypical view that chess is a dreadfully slow game. In this event, however, teams will play five rounds of 50 minute chess for the entire game – overstep your individual 25 minute time allowance and you lose.”

Douglas Mill, Chief Executive of the Society, is also a keen player, who starred in one of Scotland 's top school teams in the 1970s.

He said: “Chess is a great game for young people. It enhances life skills, such as problem solving, critical analysis, concentration and teamwork. But, of course, fundamentally, like all great games, at its root it's just great fun.”

The main tournament organiser, university student Lynsey Shovlin (18), is one of Scotland 's top young players and organisers. A member of last year's winning Scotland Girls team in the Faber Cup, ahead of favourites England , she won the Cherie Booth QC Scottish Girl Player of The Year Award in 2005.

Many legal minds have turned to chess for recreation. The then Scottish Chess Association was founded at Sheriff Walter C. Spens' chambers in Glasgow in 1884. Sheriff Spens once defeated the incumbent world champion, Emanuel Lasker, in a friendly game played in the Glasgow Chess Club in 1899.

Lord Kames, pillar of the Scottish Enlightenment, is also understood to have been partial to the game in the 18th century; once he presided in a murder trial against Mathew Hay, an occasional chess opponent!


The entry form for the Law Society of Scotland Secondary Schools Allegro Team Championships has now been finalised and added to the Chess Scotland Calendar. We look forward to a great day out in the splendid Nelson Stand at Scone Race Course, on Sunday 17 February. The Law Society of Scotland's generous sponsorship has enabled Chess Scotland to guarantee a first-class prize fund of over £500 plus a superb new trophy. The Law Society of Scotland also sponsors the very successful annual Donald Dewar Schools Debating Championship and hopes to encourage similar participation in chess in secondary schools throughout Scotland. Chess Scotland encourages all secondary schools to consider playing in this new event. The substantial prizefund is well distributed which is hoped will act as an incentive for players of all abilities. Secondary players will also have an opportunity to watch some of Scotland and Ireland's finest junior players compete in a new event in the memory of Philip Hogarty for those either in or applying for further education, college or university.

Chess Scotland and the Law Society announced the new Championships last month at an upbeat chess achievement presentation by Stuart Maxwell, Minister for Communities and Sport, last month in the Scottish Parliament - see report

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