King’s School Chess Number One Sam Parry has made all the right moves to earn a spot on the England Elite Junior Player Programme.
The 13-year-old started playing chess aged just seven and was taught by his dad Shane. His selection means Sam now has the opportunity to represent England in U14 international events later this year.
Sam, who is from Buxworth, plays once a week at The King’s School, as the Number One player in the school team which came joint winners in the North-West Schools’ League. He also trains twice a week with Cheddleton and Leek in the Cheshire and Staffordshire adult county League. There he learns tactics and is involved in local, regional and national tournament play on Saturdays and Sundays. His efforts have also seen him become the Cheshire East and Manchester under-13 chess champion.
He said: “I just want to be as good as I possibly can be and hopefully move up from the squad to the under-18 team. Eventually I’d like to play for the full England team.”
In addition to his chess feats, Sam is also a keen pianist, cricketer and runner. He added: “Although Chess is obviously not a physical game, it often feels like a physical battle. You have to concentrate so hard over what can be a three or four-hour marathon to make sure you don’t slip up that it is both physically and mentally exhausting, but I love the competition and tactical skill.”
The England Elite Junior Player Programme is only available to children under 16 who wish to represent England at International level and who have achieved a consistent high English Chess Federation chess grade in English Chess Congresses. The ECF run this as a three-year programme for Junior Chess Players, to help them achieve Chess Master status, Grand Master, International Master or the coveted Fide Master accolade, and to coach them to represent England in European and World Chess tournaments.
King’s Maths teacher Tracy Aston, who helps run the school chess club, said: “We have a number of very talented players who can all give Sam a good game, but his strategic approach has secured his position on Board One since joining the Seniors. His dedicatipon to the team is to be commended and his enthusiasm for the game is infectious. I am very happy he is playing for us.”