Tournaments for Juniors

Children are ready to play in tournaments once they have reached a satisfactory level of chess competence. They should have a confident understanding of chess moves (including the ‘special’ moves such as castling and en passant), and the ability to execute simple combinations and mating attacks. They should also be aware of the rules of competition, such as the touch move rule, and of the importance of courtesy to opponents. It’s advisable that they record the moves of their games though this is not always a requirement for entry.

Junior tournaments are usually organised by age range, starting at Under 8 level (though there are a few events for Under 7s). Some junior events also have special sections for children playing in a tournament for the first time.

Juniors who play tournaments usually join the English Chess Federation (ECF) as it ensures their games are graded. ECF membership is free to juniors in their first year, and it reduces the cost of entry to many tournaments.

There’s a calendar of junior tournaments on the ECF website here.

In the Autumn term primary and secondary school children compete to qualify for the London Junior Chess Championships, held each year in December. Qualifying tournaments are held throughout Surrey and the London area.

In the Spring term many children participate in the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge. This is a national competition for primary and secondary schools. Over 2,000 schools from across the UK compete, and there is provision for children who do not attend chess-playing schools.

Children up to the age of 11 can also take part in the Champions’ League Chess qualifiers in the Autumn and Spring term, which is both an individual and a team competition.

During the summer holidays several of Surrey’s stronger juniors compete in the ECF’s annual British Chess Championships.

Coulsdon Chess Fellowship, Richmond Junior Chess Club and Wey Valley Chess organise chess tournaments for juniors - please contact them for details.