Galashiels youngsters prove to be kings of chessboard

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Youngsters at Glendinning Terrace Primary School in Galashiels proved themselves to be kings of the chessboard, and definitely not rookies with a rook, at a tournament contested by 15 teams.

They emerged as champions after seeing off a team from Stow Primary in the final of this year’s annual Scottish Borders Council chess competition for primaries, held last week at the authority’s Newton headquarters.

The other schools out to secure checkmates were St Peter’s and Balmoral primaries in Galashiels, St Margaret’s RC Primary in Hawick and St Joseph’s RC and Knowepark primaries in Selkirk, along with their opposite numbers at Clovenfords, Denholm, Fountainhall, Heriot, Lilliesleaf, Melrose, St Boswells and West Linton.

George Birbeck and Atholl Innes were the event’s adjudicators.

Glendinning Terrace Primary’s victorious team was presented with its winner’s trophy by council depute leader John Mitchell, and fellow Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison, the authority’s executive member for education, was also there to congratulate them.

Mr Mitchell said: “This year’s turnout exceeded all our expectations, and it was heartening to see so many young chess players together, clearly appreciating the chance to compete against fellow pupils from across the Borders and thoroughly enjoying the experience.

“Congratulations must of course go to the winners, Glendinning Terrace Primary, and their runners-up, Stow Primary, but also to everyone who took part, as I have no doubt that each team did the best they could on the day and deserve to be praised for their efforts.

“Many thanks to everyone involved in organising the event, including those who have volunteered their time to spread the word about the game and get people interested in improving their skills.

“As always, our aim is to ensure that next year’s event is even better, and we will be working hard to encourage more schools to join in the fun, although it might mean that we have to find a bigger venue for the final – something we will gladly do.

“What is important is that all pupils are given the chance to discover the many benefits that this game can bring in terms of developing concentration skills, improving mental agility and providing an opportunity to take part in a highly enjoyable and sociable activity.”