A TEENAGER and chess prodigy is off to Gibraltar next week to battle it out in a chess tournament.
Ollie Willson, 14, of Stock Dale, Fairlight, heads out on Thursday (August 16) and is in the National Junior Chess Squad (NJCS), playing as part of a team against other junior players from around the world in the Gibraltar Junior International Chess Championship 2012.
The schoolboy, who attends Rye College, has played chess since he was eight and already has amassed a number of awards and experience.
He plays in the Sussex Junior Chess team and at Hastings Chess Club each week. Last year Ollie played chess in the NJCS team, in the Czech Republic.
He has played in a number of national tournaments including the British Chess Championships, the National Chess Championships and the London Chess Championships, as well as many squad events around the country.
Earlier this year Ollie entered the Sussex megafinal DeLancey UK Schools UK Chess Challenge, along with 60,000 others. He qualified for the southern gigafinal. This narrowed the field down to the last 2,000 children nationwide. Ollie was one of 103 Sussex players to qualify for the gigafinal stage of this competition.
Last December he entered and gained good experience playing against adults in the Hastings Chess Congress.
In August last year the teenager competed in another adult chess tournament, the British Chess Championships in Ponds Forge, Sheffield. He came joint fourth, ahead of a number of other higher graded (stronger) adult players.
Ollie’s other, Juliette, said: “Chess can be played by people from many schools and backgrounds, with different approaches and styles and is by no means just the domain of independent schools. Through playing chess, Ollie has met so many different people from different walks of life which has been an education in itself. Chess has a great deal to offer, beyond sitting at a chess board.”
Ollie said: “I like chess because you not only get to have fun and play it, you get to meet people from all around the country. It teaches you to have an analytical mind and be good at academic subjects such as maths, science and English.”