Self-taught chess player in running to be British champion

Self-taught chess player in running to be British champion

Lucy Elder

Self-taught chess player in running to be British champion

A self-taught player secured a place at the 2014 British Chess Championship after winning the championship section of the 49th Annual Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Chess Congress.

John Wagner, 59, of Chaseside Avenue in Twyford, was also awarded the Berkshire Individual Champion Cup as the highest placed Berkshire player in the tournament on August 26.

Held at Polehampton Junior School in Kibblewhite Crescent, the tournament saw more than 100 players battle out six rounds across each of their sections.

John, who was playing in the top section of the day, won with four wins and two draws over the two-day competition.

The Maidenhead Chess Club member's deciding match came in the fifth round against former pupil Matthew Wadsworth, which he won.

He said: "Seven years ago I was teaching Matthew chess!"

John has been a member of the club for about 15 years and also coaches at junior training sessions on Saturday mornings, which is where Matthew once played.

Matthew, who finished second overall, is now the top rated under-14 player in the country and has played across the world for England.

"He is higher rated than me now so I was not expecting to win," added John, who was runner up in last year's tournament.

At the age of five, John taught himself chess from a book and first joined a chess club at the age of about 15 when he joined Charlton Chess Club in London.

He now works at Bracknell Forest Council and lives with his wife Jenny.

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