Last autumn, Scottish chess lost one of its most enthusiastic supporters, Keith Hoban from Nairn who died tragically young. Keith was widely respected and liked, both locally and nationally, and there was an overwhelming wish to have his name and achievements remembered. In consequence, the North-East Junior Chess Association (NEJCA) decided to award a new trophy bearing his name and for this to be contested annually. This formed the centre-piece of the tournament held on February 3rd at Northfield Academy, Aberdeen .
Mrs Thelma Hoban, Keith's mother, travelled down from Nairn with other close friend and family to watch seventy primary and secondary participants compete in the three tournaments held. A number of other friends of Keith also travelled from various parts of Scotland to show their respect.
As usual all the events were very competitive with none decided until the final round and with some very high quality chess played in the best of spirit – exactly how Keith would have wanted.
Thirteen prizes were awarded for the Novice tournament (under 350), with the Novice Championship Trophy being taken by Mubin Islam (Gilcomstoun), closely followed by joint runners-up, Ian Tait (Perth), Callum Strachan (Tulllos Primary) and Marcus McLellan (Newmachar Primary).
The intermediate tournament (under 700), was renamed Rising Stars and with a new shield also presented as the top prize of the six awarded. The master here turned out to be Michael Adam (St Machar Academy) with 6/6, followed by Sarah Thomson ( Northfield Academy ) and then Emma Grant (Newtonhill Primary).
In the top section the 2nd and 3rd places went to Alastair Grant (Mackie Academy) Lynsey Shovlin (Perth), respectively and, as with all the other prize winners, they received their trophies from Mrs Hoban. Before the final award, Thelma gave a short but moving speech about how much chess had meant to Keith and how much the new memorial was appreciated by the family. The final act was then for her to present the Keith Hoban trophy to the outright winner, Adam Bremner (Robert Gordons).
Mrs Thelma Hoban surrounded by the all the winners
(Adam is beside her holding the new cup while Michael and Mubin proudly clutch their shields).
Keith Hoban Trophy
by Gerald Lobley