10-year-old chess champion selected for England squad

10-year-old chess champion selected for England squad

Katherine Denham

10-year-old chess champion selected for England squad

An undefeated chess champion is the youngest student to qualify for the England chess squad in the history of Claires Court Junior School.

After taking part in the English Primary Schools Chess Association (EPSCA) trials on April 26-27, 10-year-old Jake Bains-Gillespie has now been selected to represent the country in the under 11s team.

Chess coach Jonathan Tuck visits the school in Ridgeway every Friday to teach students chess-playing tactics.

He is confident that Jake’s ‘exceptional attitude’ means he has what it takes to compete in next year’s European School Chess Championship in June.

He said: “Jake is very strategical, tactful and has good concentration.”

The school prides itself on its chess players and has been training enthusiastic students for the past 20 years, ever since former teacher Eileen Goford inspired the programme.

The school now has three pupils from the school who have qualified for the squad in the last 12 months.

Jake, who lives in Lime Walk, said: "I’m very happy and excited to have been selected.

“To play you have to be aware all the time and you need to think ahead and anticipate.”

His 12-year-old brother Ethan also qualified for the squad last year and the two boys often play against each other at home.

Jake, who is in year five at school and hopes to be an athlete when he is older, is already set to compete in chess tournaments against Wales in June and Belgium in September.

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