LONDON 14th August 2017  saw the dramatic final of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge take place, with Harry Grieve from Royal Grammar School, Guildford taking the top spot, becoming the 2017 UK’s Junior Chess Champion. He won all of his six games against a strong field; defeating the top seed Koby Kalavannan in the final game. Harry aged 16 years received a £2,000 cash prize in recognition of his accomplishment and Aditya aged 13 from Nottingham who came joint second with Naomi Wei aged 17 from Essex, both receiving a £1,000 cash prize.

Former Deputy Chair of the John Lewis Partnership and MD of Waitrose, and current Minister of State for International Trade, Lord Mark Price, helped fund the junior chess competition, and was in attendance. Lord Price awarded both winner and runner up with their monetary prizes.

As an avid chess player himself, Mark understands the importance of learning Chess at a young age and says, “I was astounded at the high level of chess played on Sunday – the focus and silent determination is incredible. Harry is a worth winner and I full respect for him. Well done!

“Playing chess regularly can help improve critical thinking skills and cognitive function, whilst building confidence and coping strategies that will be useful in later life. Why wouldn’t you get your child involved in this wonderful and engaging game – today has been testament to that.

“I’ve played chess since I was a young boy and after teaching it to my own children, I felt compelled to do something that would introduce the game to other children – in a fun and interactive way – my book The Foolish King does just that.”

Mark, supported by Fayrefield Foods, sent a copy of his book, The Foolish King, to every school that signed up to the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge for them to house in their school library for children to read and explore the world of chess. In addition, over 200 copies of his book were sent to each Megafinal (the regional heats), for attending parents to read to younger siblings, whilst waiting for their child to compete.

Sarah Hegarty comments on the day, “The high quality level of chess has been outstanding – it gives me such pleasure to see so many children participate in such a great game. ”

“It’s also been super having Mark involved in our school’s chess challenge. His involvement has helped us get the message out there about the importance of playing chess and the life skills it teaches you.”

Knowing the importance of making everything accessible, there is also a Foolish King app available where children, all over the world, can download the book, for free, and participate in fun interactive chess games.

The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge, owned by previous UK Chess Champion and England international Sarah Hegarty. The event has been running for 21 years and this year was bought into the 21st century with all games broadcast live on the chess24 server. It  has seen over 1,100 schools sign up to the challenge this year.

-       Over 40,000 children took part in the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge

-       Harry Grieve from Royal Grammar School, Guildford won the tournament with a fantastic 6/6; receiving £2,000 cash prize

-       The two top prizes were donated by Lord Mark Price, Minister of State for International Trade and author of The Foolish King