A QE chess first – and a national champion

A QE chess first – and a national champion

Following the success of last term’s inaugural QE-wide online chess competition, the School has now held its first-ever Blitz tournament, attracting a large field eager to play the high-speed version of the game.

A second whole-school online chess tournament with classical time controls also took place. It was won by one of QE’s youngest and most talented players – Year 7’s Nishchal Thatte – who competed fresh from his victory at the U12 British Online Chess Championships run by the English Chess Federation.

Having first won his qualifier in the national event, Nishchal had progressed to victory across seven rounds at the championships, each lasting about two hours. He was also runner-up in in the national Rapidplay tournament – losing out on a tiebreak.

Congratulating him, teacher in charge of chess Geoff Roberts said: “In our own event, he was competing against players of all ages and his talent was on full display. Although Joshua John, of Year 9, and Yash Mahajan, Year 11, pressed hard, both finishing just half a point behind, Nishchal was a worthy winner.” This event saw 72 boys and two teachers compete, with similar numbers taking part in the Blitz chess competition, which was won by Daiwik Solanki, of Year 8, narrowly beating Yash, the runner-up, by half a point.

“The success Nishchal and some other younger boys had in these tournaments is particularly impressive and bodes well for a bright future for the game at the School,” added Mr Roberts, who oversees QE’s chess provision with the support of a number of external coaches.

Nishchal started playing aged five, taught by his father, and began playing in tournaments when he was seven. “I like to play very aggressively, as I’m good at that style,” he said.

Asked why he enjoys chess, he said: “It is a strategic game. There are only 64 squares, but so many different possibilities.”

He has a chess coach outside of School but also attends QE’s Chess Club, enjoying both the practice it provides and the social side – “a fun thing to do”.

It was his third time entering the British Championships, which was held online this year because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Video technology was used to ensure that competitors were not being assisted by others.