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St John’s chess players sweep the medals board

A record number of over 90 children came to St John’s School on Sunday 1st February to take part in the 3rd annual Somerset Primary Schools Frome chess tournament.  

The event, part of the ‘grand prix’ tournaments that take part across Somerset throughout the year, attracted young players aged between seven and 12 from all over the county, with a strong turnout from Frome.

Pupils and ex-pupils of St John’s school won more awards than any other school, scooping nine medals and five trophy shields between them.

In the Under 8 section, which had 27 competitors, Tom Grogan of St John’s came joint first, with classmates Angus Alcorn, Spencer Coates, Artie Scholefield and Eben Tomkins joint runners up. Tom Wright, just half a point behind, also won a medal.

In the Under 10 section, Jacob Roberts, of Oakfield school and Frome Junior Chess Club, won 4½ games out of six, placing him 4th out of 34 and earning him a medal. Evan Davies, also of Oakfield, and William Osborne of Selwood school, both Frome Junior Chess Club members, won medals for winning four games.

Organiser Sally Somers said, “It’s great to see so many children loving chess, and especially competing at this level. It’s really taken off in just the last few years, locally and nationally, with many schools now offering not just after school chess clubs, but chess lessons as part of the school curriculum.

“The benefits of chess for all areas of learning are now widely recognised, and the children’s natural enthusiasm for the game makes it a very rewarding and fun experience for everyone. Research shows that just a year of chess on the curriculum raises educational standards in every subject and for every pupil, not just the ones who go on to play at competition level.”

Following strong performances over the last year, several Frome players have been selected to represent Somerset county: Tom Grogan and Eben Tomkins of St John’s for the Under 9 squad, and Jacob Roberts and Onni Macleay (Oakfield) and Jamie Keil (St Louis), all from Frome Junior Chess Club, for the Under 11 squad.

Frome Junior Chess Club takes place every Tuesday evening at the Rugby Club. For details please email