National finalists in prestigious chess competition, boosted by strong team ethos

National finalists in prestigious chess competition, boosted by strong team ethos

QE’s team heads for June’s national chess finals after seeing off local rivals in a keenly fought regional final.

Their hard-won North London zonal final victory over Latymer School followed a more comfortable 5½ – ½ semi-final defeat of Mill Hill School.

The six-strong team drawn from Years 9–13 now take on 15 other regional winners in the national final of the English Chess Federation-run National Schools’ Chess Championship. QE has enjoyed some success in the national finals in the past, but not in very recent years.

Teacher in charge of chess, Geoff Roberts, said: “Qualifying for the national final of this tournament is a real achievement and one that confirms our place amongst the élite chess-playing schools in the country. This competition is the one which every school has aspirations to win, so for Queen Elizabeth’s to have made it through to the national final is especially pleasing.”

QE’s 2022–2023 team comprises: Yash Mahajan, of Year 13; Joshua John, Year 11; Jason Tao, Year 11; Andreas Angelopoulos, Year 11; Daiwik Solanki, Year 10, and Nishchal Thatte, Year 9.

“My congratulations to all the boys who have represented the School in this competition and a particular mention to the captain, Yash, in his last year at Queen Elizabeth’s, for his role in creating the strong team environment which has underpinned our success.”

Their place in the national final depended on the boys beating Latymer School in their zonal final. It was, said Mr Roberts, “an exciting match of high-standard chess with the result in the balance throughout – and in a dramatic finish with both players short on time, Jason Tao secured the winning point for a 4-2 victory”.

The competition has been running since the 1957–1958 academic year, with QE marking its first success there the following year, when it came third. It was another 41 years before QE next appeared on the leaders’ board, with a fourth place in 1999–2000. It last won a top place – joint-third – in 2016–2017. QE’s record also includes successes in the Plate competition, in which the trophy goes to the School with the best result from among the first-round losers. QE was a Plate runner-up in 2012–2013 and in 2013–2014, with a third place in 2006–2007.

The national final of the competition takes place at the University of Nottingham on 29th–30th June.