UK Chess Challenge
The UK Chess Challenge is an annual four-stage chess competition for school-age children from the United Kingdom. Michael Basman is credited with creating the original challenge back in 1996 and is still closely connected with the competition. The director of the tournament is Sarah Longson (née Hegarty) supported by her husband Alex Longson. Longson is former British Ladies Chess Champion and represents England at Olympiads. Over 40,000 children play in the competition at the school stage and the eventual winner wins £2,000 and is crowned as UK Schools' Chess Challenge Champion. In 2017 Harry Grieve won the event and was presented his prize by Lord Price. The competition is generously sponsored by Delancey.
The first stage involves school chess clubs holding a qualifying competition to determine the strongest player for each gender-year combination, e.g. U-11 boys, U-12 girls. Each such player qualifies to enter the county Megafinal competition. For schools without chess clubs, there are alternative competitions within the county that will also enable qualification to the Megafinal.
A one-day Megafinal is held within each UK county to determine the strongest player from the county within each gender / year combination. Each such player is titled Supremo (boys) or Suprema (girls). The top player plus all those scoring 4/6 or better qualify for the Gigafinal.
There are two one-day Gigafinals - one for Northern counties; one for Southern counties. As with the Megafinal, each Gigafinal is held to determine the strongest player for the qualifying region within each gender / year combination. Each such player is titled Ultimo (boys) or Ultima (girls). The Ultimo / Ultima players from each Gigafinal qualify to enter the Terafinal Champions competition. Until 2002, the two runners-up in each category qualified to enter the Terafinal Challengers competition. From 2003, each player scoring 5/6 or better qualifies for the Terafinal Challengers competition.
There are two two-day Terafinal competitions - the Terafinal Champions competition for the Ultimo / Ultima qualifiers from the Gigafinals, and the Terafinal Challengers competition for the runners-up. Over two days, the Champions competition identifies the strongest player in each category. Such players are titled Strat (boys or girls) and usually win a substantial prize.
List of winners
Year Winner 1997 Richard Cleveland 1998 Adam Hunt 1999 Thomas Rendle 2000 Lorin D'Costa 2001 Lorin D'Costa 2002 Lorin D'Costa 2003 Lorin D'Costa 2004 Ben Purton 2005 Stephen Gordon 2006 James Hanley 2007 Peter Poobalasingam 2008 Peter Poobalasingam 2009 Felix Ynojosa (cat, es) 2010 Felix Ynojosa (cat, es) 2011 Yang-Fan Zhou 2012 Kelvin James 2013 Marcus Harvey 2014 Marcus Harvey 2015 Matthew Wadsworth 2016 Joseph McPhillips 2017 Harry Grieve
New 2011 Website