Leinster Chess Champions!

Mr. Kilcommons, principal and ace weekend reporter, sends this back from the latest Junior School field of glory:

Saturday, the 12th of March, was a red letter day for chess in St. Conleth’s Junior School, as the school announced itself as a force to be reckoned with on the Leinster Schools Chess circuit. Our “A” and “B” teams were both leading their divisions coming in to the annual Finals Day held in St Catherine’s Donore Avenue. The “A” team got to keep their points total already accumulated but had to play three of the top four teams on the last day. The “B” team were involved in a straight knock out quarter final, semi and final if they could get that far. Their fearsome reputation may have preceded them as CUS failed to show up for the quarter final leaving the path somewhat less daunting. Our A team beat St. Andrew’s Malahide 3-1 but the top of the table was now becoming quite congested. The “B” team faced a very tough challenge from hosts St Catherine’s “B” but managed to come through a 2-2 draw after the 4th board result was discounted. The “A” team were involved in a very tough 2-2 draw with St Mary’s Junior School Rathmines which only added to the congestion at the top of the leader board. As the rest of the schools melted away from the hall, we were left with a Division 2 Final between St Conleth’s “B” and Hollypark Boys and just a few metres away our “A” team playing hosts St Catherine’s “A” in a winner takes last round fixture with St Conleths a half point ahead of their opponents. Despite the nervous energy from staff and parents, the players themselves were positively serene as we came to what Alex Ferguson famously called ‘squeaky bum time’.

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Andrew and Daniel posted victories for the “B” team but unfortunately they were on the wrong side of the 4th board discounting rule in the event of a tie. Their disappointment was somewhat tempered by the knowledge that had already won promotion to the first division next year. All eyes now turned to the “A” team where Richard had posted a very quick victory. The second point which secured overall victory fittingly went to Sean at Board 1. St Conleth’s were now Leinster Primary Schools Chess Champions for the first time in its history. At the prize giving Lukasz Goralski, the tournament co-ordinator, made special mention of the two Hunter brothers who only dropped 2.5 points over the 9 game season. Jamie lost his only match all season in the dead rubber after the title had been sealed, while Richard came up trumps when he was needed most in the final round. A big thank you to Gillian, who took charge of the fixtures this year. With two teams in Division 1 next year, there may be room for a third team in the second division. Onwards and upwards and well done to all!