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Tom fears stalemate as he steps down after 30 years

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The future of chess in schools, and the annual school championship, hangs in the balance after Tom Lawson’s retiral after 30 years as organiser.

Aged 79, Tom oversaw his last Borders Primary Chess Championship on Friday, when Glendinning came out on top.

Seventy-two pupils from across the area competed in this year’s tournament, which was established by Tom, a former community education worker, in 1984.

He has being going round Border schools encouraging children to take up the sport during that time as well.

Having said he would retire last year, Tom stuck around for one more year, but now fears nobody will come forward to run the competition.

“I would obviously help if someone else took it on, but it needs to be someone with a bit of chess knowledge who can also go in to the schools and encourage them to start playing more chess too,” said Tom.

He sees the ideal solution being a small number of people splitting the responsibility across different areas of the Borders.

“The benefits of chess are numerous,” said Tom. “Certainly mathematics improves, concentration and problem solving. It ticks a lot of boxes.”

David Matthews Associates has sponsored the competition for over a decade, providing a chess set to every school taking part each year, but has indicated it also intends to pull out, meaning a new sponsor is also needed.

Scottish international master Craig Pritchett attended on Friday and judged the best game of the day, which was won by Matthew Comiskey of Stow.

Tweedbank and Broomlands won the second and third tier sections of the competition and Ben Rutherford of Broomlands won the best individual prize.

 

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