On Tuesday 18th, St Paul’s RCVA Middle School were gifted with a very special award, being the best school in Northumberland for promoting children’s success in chess.
The school’s club, run by Henry Gormally, is also recognised with the fact that very few schools in Northumberland can even claim they have a chess club. Mr Gormally has been taking children to the chess Mega Final held in Newcastle at the Royal Grammar School for almost seven to eight years. The organisation has been so impressed by the performance and aptitude of the St Pauls’ pupils, and the progress some of them have made throughout the years; it’s clear to see why they have received this achievement.
As well as the mix of the years in the middle school, players like myself from the high school have enjoyed the club so much-with its opportunity to take part in the tournament-that we have come back to still take part and help out. And with Mr Gormally providing us with delicious brownies, who’s to argue?
Paul Bielby, the president of the Northumbria chess association, presented the school award to myself, fellow high school player Ruby Juggins, St Paul’s head teacher Maria Wilson and Mr Gormally himself. The school was gifted with a lovely wooden chessboard, customary chess pieces, and a modern digital chess clock as part of the award. Mr Bielby taught chess at the Royal Grammar for twenty years and he’s the one who organises the megafinal at the Royal Grammar School.
I got the chance to give Mr Bielby a game, and I must say I was thrashed; though according to him I did make some good moves, and lots of “interesting” moves. Translate interesting into bad and you can see how the game went! Luckily, he did not beat me, as we ran out of time before the game could end, which to me classes that game as a draw!
As now an ex-student, it is terrific to see the club still going strong, and achieving such great things. Mr Gormally says that when there were potential doubts of the club continuing, seeing high school students arrive and knowing that the club stuck with them, “felt like a vote of confidence” and he knew he could carry on.
It’s great seeing a club much treasured by those who go to it continuing to thrive, and I strongly advise all those who attend St Paul’s Middle to go.