Sunday 24 June saw a squad of 18 players from Copthorne Prep chess club rise early and make their way to the stunning Sandown Park venue ready to participate in the 2018 UK and Ireland Girls and Boys Chess Championships. The event had grown in size this year and comprised over 350 players and over 40 schools. Our Boys team comprised Nathaniel H-B, Taran S, Liam S, Dylan and Oliver W, Arun G, Rex R, Ryan L, Daniel V-H, Rafe C and Rio J. Our Girls team were represented by Kia J, Niamh G, Amelie R, Jasmine O, Bethany H-B, Danni J and Sophie R. Both Copthorne teams had a great blend of age and experience and excitement levels were high. Both Copthorne teams got off to a good start finishing in the top 5 after Round 1 and built their scores with increasing confidence in each subsequent round. There were many outstanding performances but highlights included Taran and Amelie winning the U8 individual titles without dropping a game. Sophie winning the U11 title despite having to play two players aged 14 and 18 in Rounds 4 and 5 respectively. Rex came 3rd in the U9 section with a score of 13/15 whilst Rafe narrowly missed out on a top three placing in the U10 section with a great 12/15. Arun, Rio, Kia and Niamh all won commendations for scoring 11/15, a great result in any tournament. Most importantly, however, Copthorne Prep won the UKI Boys Team Title and Copthorne Prep Girls Team won second place and silver medals; an outstanding result against some top class opposition. Every single player contributed to the success of Copthorne Prep in this event and it was wonderful to see their efforts rewarded. For Captains Rio and Sophie it was a great Last Hurrah as they will be moving to their new senior schools in September. Our thanks must also go to all the parents for supporting the hard work and commitment of their children.