Oh, what a knight – schools’ chess competition ends in a tie

Glendinning Terrace Primary School (Galashiels, in red) and  St Ronan's (Innerleithen) who were joint winners of Borders schools chess tournament, with special guest Craig Pritchett.
Glendinning Terrace Primary School (Galashiels, in red) and St Ronan's (Innerleithen) who were joint winners of Borders schools chess tournament, with special guest Craig Pritchett.

The final of the annual primary schools competition took place in Galashiels last week, where an enthralling finish saw Glendinning Terrace and St Ronans declared joint winners.

A total of 20 teams representing primary schools from Balmoral, Clovenfords, Glendinning Terrace, Langlee, St Margaret’s and St Peter’s (all Galashiels), Denholm, Earlston, Ednam (Kelso), Kingsland (Peebles), Knowepark and St Joseph’s (both Selkirk), Melrose, St Boswells, West Linton, St Ronan’s (Innerleithen), Stirches and Trinity (both Hawick), Reston (Eyemouth) and Westruther (Gordon) gathered in the Volunteer Hall to take part.

Adjudication was by George Birbeck and Atholl Innes, with support from John Mitchell and Ian Thomson.

Special invited guest, Craig Pritchett, from Dunbar, proved a popular visitor with the pupils. An International Master since 1976 and Scottish champion at least twice, he watched the proceedings with great interest and was impressed with the commitment and focus of the players.

In a fiercely-fought final that saw last year’s champions, Glendinning go head to head with St Ronan’s, the outcome was too close to call and a draw was declared for the first time in the history of the contest.

Donna Manson, service director for children and young people at Scottish Borders Council, said: “This competition continues to go from strength to strength, with another outstanding turnout from schools right across the Borders. Its popularity has meant a bigger venue had to be found this year, with ever-increasing numbers of pupils discovering the many benefits the game can bring in terms of developing concentration skills, improving mental agility and being part of a highly enjoyable and sociable activity.”