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Inverness pupils tie first in National Chess Championship in last minute of last game (01/06/12)
A chess team of pupils from Balloch Primary school Inverness were celebrating this week with their success in tieing first in a national competition.
Balloch School sent their chess team to the Scottish Primary School Team Championships in East Kilbride on Sunday 27 May. They were up against around 20 other schools from across the country. Each team had four players, and each player was allowed 25 minutes for all their moves.
Chess Club Coach and parent volunteer, Arun Sharma said: "After 5 matches Balloch found themselves in the last round just behind the front runners and hoping to finish 2nd or 3rd. However the leading team from Sciennes, Edinburgh unexpectedly lost their last match and Balloch we were suddenly in with a chance of coming first! They were winning their final match 2-1 with one game still to be decided - one point for a win and half for a draw. All the other 150 children had finished for the day with only this last game still ongoing in the hall. The two players did not know the other results, or realise what was at stake, but the increasing crowd of parents and children did."
"He added: Balloch's player was down on pieces, but his opponent only had a couple of minutes left on his clock. (If a player runs out of time, they lose the game). As the tension mounted and the clock ticked down, parents struggled to keep the excited onlookers quiet and give the players some space to concentrate. Suddenly Balloch's opponent freed his trapped rook and increased the danger. But Balloch's player was defending well and it looked like he might win on time. And then, with only a minute left on the opponents clock, he pulled out a killer move and Balloch were swiftly checkmated."
Mr Sharma explained: "This meant that Balloch finished the tournament tied in first place, but ended up coming second in Scotland on points difference. This was a super achievement for the Balloch P7s who were missing their best player Nathan Crush through last minute illness. Nayeem Hussain had the hardest challenge playing the top players from other schools, and came away with two important victories. Garry Scott-Lodge had an outstanding tournament by winning all six of his games on 'Board 2'. The team performance was underpinned by Alistair Watson with three wins, and Lewis MacGowan with three wins and one draw."