Christopher MacDonald – the 2006 winner
Chess Scotland is pleased to announce that this year's winner of the Jonathan Rowson Award for the Scottish Boy Player of the Year is Christopher MacDonald.
This is a new Award and the judges had a difficult decision to make in a year in Boys chess, where more than one good individual result commanded attention - see below, for example, for one particularly first-class result that augurs well for the future in the “commended” section.
On balance, the judges went for Christopher on the grounds that he was clear number one in Scotland in the under-18 age group throughout the Award period (September 2005-August 2006).
In addition, Christopher has always had time to discuss games with and motivate his junior peers. He helps others enjoy chess more and has a good chess teacher's grasp of communicating to others how they might play better.
Christopher is a quiet, modest and hard-working player, who played at home in club and congress chess and abroad for Scotland at a consistently strong level that took him comfortably to 2100 plus rating strength.
This rating, however, underplays Christopher's sound grasp of the game and clear potential for further improvement. He poses a real threat to many with much higher ratings.
To sum up, Christopher is a first-class representative for Scottish chess and a model for all aspiring players. He has a highly mature approach to the game and an impeccable over-the-board chess-playing demeanour.
Other commended nominees
The judges also gave serious consideration to the claims of two other nominees, whose playing strength may not quite have matched Christopher MacDonald's in the Award period, but whose wider contributions to the game must be applauded.
David Oswald and Lloyd Hughes are both strong players who give a lot back to chess in differing ways. David both organises and coaches fellow juniors. In addition he became the youngest-ever co-editor of Scottish Chess Magazine in the Award period.
Lloyd is the main organiser of the South Morningside Chess Academy . He teaches and runs tournaments, including fun events. He is a key member in the team that runs Lothian Schools Chess, and is in sole charge of the computer pairing system and gradings. He also represents juniors on the Council of Chess Edinburgh.
The judges also considered that Connor Woods' stunning 7/7 score in winning the British under-14 championship in August 2006, capped a year for this young player that underlines his potential to go much further.
In this first year of this Award, the judges would like to extend special thanks to everyone who took time to nominate a player and provide a few thoughtful paragraphs on how each nominee met the playing performance, organisational achievement and wider profile Award criteria. We look forward keenly to next year!
Duncan Grassie, Graeme Kafka and Craig Pritchett