So your child wants to play chess, but you have very little or no idea about how the chess tournament system works in England? Here is a handy explanation to help you!
The school year is split into 3 terms, and there are certain tournaments to play in each term:
Term 1: September-December
Here the aim is to try and qualify for the London Junior Chess Championships which are held every year in December.
There are plenty of these qualifying events held between September and December of each year. Please check the LJCC website for more details, as well as my calendar page for details of which tournaments are on and when/where they are taking place.
Term 2: January-April
This is when schools chess begins in England. In January there are the EPSCA qualifiers (EPSCA is the English Primary Schools Chess Association).
These are teams of 6 children representing their school (an under 9 competition i.e. year 4 or below, or an under 11 competition which is year 6 and below) and there are local qualifiers in each area nationally where every school can take part and enter a team. These are quite fun and the children really like it!
Top 3 in each qualifier then goes through the 3 semi finals, which are held at Pontins holiday resorts around the country. These happen in May and June time.
The best 8 schools from the semi finals go through to an under 9 and under 11 final, to find out the national schools champion which is held in the beginning of July.
Further news here on the EPSCA website:
Term 3: April-July
Every July, the British Chess Championships take place. This is a prestigious national event where most of the top juniors (and indeed, the top chess players in the country) turn up to play chess.
For a complete list of chess tournaments in the UK, visit the ECF calendar here:
If your child is playing regular tournaments and you want to look further afield for a chess tournament or even if your child wishes to be in contention for selection for the English Youth Team, these links may help.
For all those interested in whether their child can participate in the above tournaments or not, I recommend reading the official documentation from the ECF about it here: