Meden School’s chess club was able to keep opponents from across the country ‘in check’ to finish as the number one-ranked state school at the English Chess Federation Team Rapidplay Chess Tournament.
Held at Eton College, the tournament included 40 schools, with the Warsop academy placing 25th in the tournament overall, bettering players from their illustrious hosts.
“We really showed that we deserved to be rubbing shoulders with that level of player,” said Maths teacher Tom Smith, who coaches the team. “The conduct of the kids was fantastic, it was a really great day. Every kid won at least once, so they all tasted success.”
He added: “We had three players who had never played chess a year ago. The kids can come and play every lunchtime which helps them develop quickly.”
Mr Smith, who joined his old school chess team when he was eight years old, set up the club - which features children from all years including post-16 - in 2011.
“It fits into the whole school ethos of raising aspirations and taking away that ceiling, because now they know that kids at Eton who may one day become the Prime Minister are kids just like them.
“They can be anything they want to be, and go anywhere they want to go. I think it really opens their eyes.”
Chess club captain, Bradley Arnold, 15, said: “I used to play chess before, but not properly. I didn’t really know the rules, and I wanted to properly get into it. The tournament was a bit scary at first, but once I had a couple of games I started to get more confident. I’m thinking of joining the Mansfield team – my teacher said I should go for it.
“When you go to Eton, it’s a great experience to go to a really nice school and be able to be in a competition with loads of other people to play with.”
James Spencer, 14, the club’s vice captain, added: “I got involved through Bradley - he’d played for a couple of years before me. We did a ranking system and I came second, so I became vice captain.
“In Meden’s chess club, you get to meet loads of people and you can go to loads of places, like visiting Eton.”