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19 May 2011 / HIGH SCHOOL CHESS CHAMPIONS

For Amelia Heather, 10, from Penryn, it was the fourth time she had entered the competition and the fourth time she had won. Molly Machin, 8, from St Erme near Truro, has only been playing chess for a year and this competition was her first.

The UK Chess Challenge involves around 700 schools and approximately 23,000 youngsters.The area Megafinal took place at Perran-ar-Worthal School, Perranwell Station, last weekend. All competitors qualified by accumulating sufficient points at a chess club. Both Amelia and Molly are members of the Truro High School Prep Chess Club, which is held weekly by visiting international chess player, Jeremy Menadue. During the seven and a half hour competition the girls both faced a number of opponents before being declared champions.

Lesly Heather, Amelia's mum, said: "Amelia had learned basic chess at home before she was invited to join the school club in Prep 2. She's very psychological, a strategist and good at keeping her cool. It's great she's done as well as she has."

"Molly really enjoys playing with the school Chess Club," said her dad, Richard Machin. "She's a patient, persevering girl who is getting a lot of pleasure and life skills from the game. She was really excited about this competition, it was her first, but I think she's quite apprehensive about the next round which will include all the area winners from the south of England. I am so proud of her."

Recent studies have shown that playing chess helps with a child's intellectual development, improves critical thinking skills, raises IQ, improves concentration, memory and calculation and teaches the player to take responsibility for their own actions.

Truro High School Headmistress, Caroline Pascoe, said: "We are very proud of both Amelia and Molly and look forward to watching their skills develop even further as they progress through the school. Research is showing how beneficial it can be for a child to learn chess because it helps develop young minds in so many ways. We are very lucky to have Mr Menadue as a teacher."

The Gigafinal, is due to be held in Reading in July. Only Molly will be attending as the date clashes with Amelia's family summer holiday.

Photo: Chess champions Amelia Heather and Molly Machin



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