Chess Champions Crowned at Palace

The country’s brightest young chess players took part in the 26th Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge at the Palace at the weekend.
Chess Champions Crowned at Palace

The event was the culmination of months of online tournaments, which saw more than 2,250 students, representing over 800 schools and chess clubs competing throughout the summer

Sixty players from across the UK were able to final meet up at the Palace to compete over real chessboards for the top spots in their age groups.

A series of marathon games were played, with Keerthi Kumar Advait from Watford winning the Under 8 category, Elis Denele Dicen from Warwickshire the Under 10, Rajat Makkar from Middlesex the Under 12, Frederick Gordon from Scotland the Under 14 and Balaji Aaravamudhan from Kent the Under 18 title.

“The whole weekend was fantastic; seeing the children play live and interacting with one another after a tough year of playing online made the games all the more special,” said Sarah Longson, Director of the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge.

“Everyone played amazingly well, huge congratulations. I must also thank all the players for their continued enthusiasm and passion for Chess as this wouldn’t be possible without them,” she added. 

The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge has been held every year since 1996, with title winners including Peter Poobalasingam, Marcus Harvey, IMs Yang Fan-Zhou, Lorin D’Costa, Thomas Rendle, Adam Hunt, Felix Ynojosa and Grandmaster Stephen Gordon.

The Palace has a long and illustrious connection with the game of chess. In 1851 the 5th Duke of Marlborough was President of the first ever international chess tournament which took place in London.

Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Sir Winston who was born at Blenheim, was also one of the founders of the Oxford University Chess Club and vice-president of the British Chess Association.

Sir Winston himself is also said to have played chess during the Blitz in WWII.

L to R age group winners Frederick Gordon, Keerthi Kumar Advait, Balaji Aaravamudhan, Rajat Makkar and Elis Denele Dicen in the Great Court at Blenheim Palace Age group winners Keerthi Kumar Advait,  Rajat Makkar, Frederick Gordon, Elis Denele Dicen and Balaji Aaravamudhan Knight moves at the Palace Play gets under way in the Under 10 tournament at Blenheim Palace A study in concentration during the 26th Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge at Blenheim Palace