FIFTEEN girls from St Edward's Academy in Leek travelled to Cheadle Hulme School in Greater Manchester to take part in the northern semi-final of the English Chess Federation's National Girls' Schools Tournament.
The competition has sections for under-11s and for under-19s, with three girls in each team. The top three teams in each section qualify for the national final.
St Edward's entered two teams in the under-19 section. The A team were runners-up, half a point behind a team from the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The B team finished in fourth place, narrowly missing out on a place in the finals but helping the A team by taking points off King's School, Chester in the last round, to ensure the latter finished half a point behind the A team, in third place.
The under-19s A team line-up was Sian Jones, Bethany Wooliscroft and Libby Sherratt. while the B team consisted of Emma
Scotchford, Eleanor Poole and Emily Wood. Libby won all three of her games while Emma defeated a 17-year-old who considerably outgraded her. Sian, Beth and Emma reached the under-11s finals last year and finished 6th in England.
The under-11 section was very strong this year with 12 teams entered, although two schools did not turn up on the day.
St Edward's had three teams, which finished 5th, 7th and 9th – a good performance against some tough opposition.
Notable individual performances by St Edward's players came from Tilly Thorley and Victoria Sheldon who each won three out of their five games.
The other under-11 players were Marnie Pointon, Priya Shrestha, Louisa Swarbrooke, Fallen Buxton-Rivers, Alisha Deaville, Olivia Eardley and Emily Sanzeri.
St Edward's teacher Colin Able said: "Our girls all behaved impeccably and were excellent ambassadors for the school. They also seemed to enjoy the day.
"As well as some good individual performances, we can be proud of the fact that a quarter of the girls playing at this prestigious event were from our school.
"This shows the level of enthusiasm for girls' chess at St Edward's.
"We are very grateful to Robert Milner, chairman of Cheddleton & Leek Chess Club, who does most of the girls' coaching."