A FIFTEEN year old chess player from Fairlight made all the right moves to earn the title British Under 16’s Chess Champion.
Ollie Wilson, who attends Rye College and plays for Hastings and St. Leonards Chess Club, remained unbeaten in a field of 22 of the finest young chess players in the UK at a gruelling tournament in Torquay.
His victory came over seven games, each lasting up to four hours. He finished with a final score of 5½ points, making him outright winner.
Ollie, of Stock Dale, Fairlight, described himself as “surprised, delighted and amazed” following his victory.
This Thursday he flew out to Gibralter to take on opponents from around the world in the Junior International tournament.
Ollie has been playing chess since the age of eight and has amassed a number of awards.
For Ollie the recent title is the crowning pinnacle for what has already been a very good year.
He said: “At Christmas, I had a successful tournament in the world famous annual Hastings Masters event at Horntye Park. In January, I came third in the ‘South of England Championships’ and followed it up with a win in the Under 16 ‘National Chess Junior Squad Championships’ at Easter.
We made a late decision to enter the U16 at the British Championship, because we had already booked a family holiday for the end of August. I went into the tournament as a bit of an underdog being ranked about 10th, but played consistently well throughout, to enter the final round in joint first place, with 3 wins and 3 draws.
Six players were all in contention to become champion, and my final opponent needed a win. It was a tough game where I had to counter her early attack, but I took my time and struck back winning her queen, and the game was over.
And the results in the other games meant that I was champion outright with 5.5/7, so I am very pleased.
“I hope I will continue my good form in Gibralter and get into the prize money.
As for next year, I’ll be in year 11 so GCSEs will take a bit more of a priority. But I will continue to play in the Kent and Mid-Sussex Leagues for Hastings Chess Club, if selected, and for the U16 and U18 teams for Sussex and for the England team. Of course there will be the Chess Congress at Christmas again.
“I am so grateful to the ‘Isabel Blackman Foundation’, ‘Lions’, ‘Rotary Club’ and ‘Rye College Foundation’ for their continued support enabling me to attend tournaments all over the country and overseas.
“I am also grateful to the organisers and volunteers at Sussex Junior Chess, mostly parents, who provide so much of their time to enable chess to be played.
“And, finally, a big thank you to all the members at Hastings Chess Club, especially Francis Rayner, who have provided so much help and advice.”