Headteacher gets top marks to lift Borders chess championship

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this year’s Borders Individual Chess Championship lived up to all expectations and once again provided a thrilling finish.

There are five rounds to this event and matches are played over a six- month period. Defending champion Alan Armstrong (Kelso Knights) set the early pace at the weekend’s finale, with Nicole Mullen (Berwick), Nick Duffell (Kelso Knights) and Richard Harvey (Kelso Bishops) following close behind.

With two rounds to go, Alan was leading the event by half a point and faced Richard Harvey, the 2010 champion. In a pulsating encounter, a slight error with the black pieces gave white a positional edge and Richard secured an important win.

Going into the final round, Richard held his half point advantage to be crowned this year’s Borders Individual Champion with 4½/5.

Alan defeated Nicole Mullen and the two finished second and third respectively. There were some exciting tussles for the minor places and, regardless of rank or grading, all games were extremely tough.

Richard (a head teacher in Perthshire) played most of his games during the holiday periods as it was difficult to get away from his school.

He commented: “Despite the travelling, the Borders Individual is a great event with many difficult encounters. The win gives me the confidence to play the pupils at school, all of whom have the potential to be much better than me.”

Borders chess clubs are looking forward to next year’s competition when they hope to welcome players from newcomers Dunbar.