To celebrate the 50th birthday of The Grange in Monmouth the school was challenged to a fifty-board chess match against The Dell School from Chepstow.
This has got to be a record though I can’t find any reference to school matches in the Guinness Book of Chess Records. I don’t think that we claim a world record – that must belong to those pesky Russians who after all can mobilise the forces of the State & the Red Army – unlike the Grange. A Welsh record, though, is likely.
Thanks to the dedication of parents & staff at The Dell, & also St.Mary’s School, Chepstow has emerged as a hotbed of young Welsh chess talent in recent years & the Dell has hosted several key tournaments.
Head of the Grange Elaine Thomas commented: “Chess has always played a great part in Grange life so what a fantastic way to celebrate our 50th birthday! We have had many successes over the years, most notably in winning the British Primary Schools’ Chess Competition in 2004, as well as winning the Welsh Schools’ title on several occasions”.
Although we have always had good numbers in Grange Chess Club this term has seen us breaking all previous records with 64 signing up! And as every schoolboy knows that is the exact number of squares on a chessboard. When I saw that exact number I thought that the gods were trying to tell me something – though exactly what I don’t know. In the Autumn term we can sometimes be in the shadow of the Grange Conker Championships but the enthusiasm of the boys means that chess is once again restored to Numero Uno position for Grange indoor sports.
Dell parent & chief chess organiser Richard Stevenson kindly said that “The Grange were magnificent hosts, and all our children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The strength in depth of the team at the Grange is very impressive. I'm full of admiration for Mr Thomas on setting such high standards.”
“To see so many children playing chess bodes well for the future on Chess in Gwent. Many of the players in this match are under 9s, and judging by the standard of their play, competition will be fierce for positions in the Gwent team that will play other counties in March 2015.”
Although the Grange won 38-12 the result should have been much closer with a great many nail-biting finishes. The afternoon ended with the ritual scoffing of Penguin biscuits & squash. On the whole the games were long ones thanks to our sneaky rule of banning Scholar’s Mate!
By Kevin Thomas