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The UK Chess Challenge: 2004 Gigafinal

July 10 and 11
UMIST, Manchester

Report by Christine MacGregor

The British Land UK Chess Challenge is still growing and this year over 70,000 players from schools across the whole of the UK took part. The first round was played in individual schools and the top 8,000 players progressed to one of 34 regional Megafinals, where they played in age groups against other pupils from their own area. (In Scotland there were two Megafinals: Scotland North and Scotland South.) The top players from each Megafinal qualified for the National Gigafinal, which was held on 10th and 11th July at UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) in Manchester.

This year 74 Scottish players (up 3 from last year) travelled South for the Gigafinal to compete against the best players from south of the border. There were so many players that the tournament was split into 47 sections, organised by age group and gender, with up to 64 players in each section. Each section was a separate 6 round allegro tournament. The various sections were spread over three separate halls at UMIST. The Under 7 to Under 10 sections were played on Saturday with the older players competing on Sunday. The weather was rather changeable this year but there were enough dry spells to permit the youngsters to play football in between rounds (see photographs) and the venue was close enough to Manchester City Centre to allow parents to go shopping while the games were in progress.

The winner of each section was given the title of Ultimo (Boys) or Ultima (Girls). The Ultimos and Ultimas from each section will now go on to play each other in the Terafinal to determine the overall top UK boy and girl. Those who came second or third will play in a Challengers' Tournament. Both the Terafinal and the Challengers' events will be held in Sheffield in August.

This year four Scottish players qualified to play in the Terafinal or Challengers' events:

1stRhian HughesUnder 10 Girls
2ndAli RoyUnder 9 Girls
Jonathan WrightUnder 10 Boys
Natalie DonohueUnder 13 Girls

Encouragingly, the number of Scottish players scoring 3 points, or more, was up from 38 last year to 44 this year. The other top scores from Scottish players were:

4 points: Wei-Kin Chan (U7B); 4 points: Marc Woods (U10B), Owen Hughes (U11B), Ian MacGregor (U12B), Robert Montgomery (U12B), Michael Boyd (U13B), James Montgomery (U14B), Lloyd Hughes (U15B); 3 points: Connor Blair (U11B), Craig Petrie (U11B), Elliot Harvie (U11B), Michael Miller (U12B), Eason Kalhor (U13B), Sivatharsan Sivasandrarajah (U13B), John Tawdrous (U13B), Christopher Christie (U14B); 3 points: Josh Green (U9B), Callum Roberts (U9B), Kirsten Vipond (U9G), Daniel Brown (U10B), Jonathan Tang (U10B), Andrew Davie (U11B), Robert Dunbar (U11B), Elliot Gillan (U11B), Lewis Montgomery (U11B), Kristian Roberts (U11B), Callum Asher (U12B), Jamie Brock (U12B), Andrew Morrow (U12B), Archie Stewart (U12B), Callum Vipond (U12B), Catriona Leyland (U12G), Mohammed Kandi (U13B), Ian McCulloch (U13B), Anish Deshpande (U14B), Dominic Smith (U14B), William McIntosh (U15B), Lynsey Shovlin (U15G), Marc Magee (U16B), David Deary (U17B);


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Chess Scotland 2003