UK Chess Challenge
John Hipshon of the Yorkshire Junior Chess Association ran a “Megafinal” at York on Sunday 12th June, so it seemed an appropriate moment to apprise anyone interested of the way the UK Chess Challenge works.
The UK Chess Challenge is a national chess competition for juniors, playing as individuals as opposed to in teams, which was started by Michael Basman in 1996, creating opportunities for participation by vastly more juniors than had hitherto been provided by the BCF junior championships. It accommodates 10 age-gender categories: age categories under 8, under 10, under 12, under 14 and under 18, with one each for boys and one each for girls.
Most years there is a sponsor, and the current sponsor is Delancey, hence the current iteration is the Delancey UK Chess Challenge.
It is organised in stages whereby some of the players in one stage qualify for the next stage until the select few reach the final.
Using the traditional nomenclature, which was doubtless originally devised to appeal to young minds, the stages at present are Megafinals, whence some players qualify for Gigafinals, whence some players qualify for the Terafinal.
The Megafinals and Gigafinals are perceived as local and regional championships in themselves, hence the “-final” element of the name. Winners of each age-gender category at each of the three stages are awarded the titles Supremo and Suprema for boys and girls respectively.
In the past there has sometimes been a system operated whereby schools Ran internal events to supply qualifiers for Megafinals, with “Last Chance Saloon” events for those whose school had no chess club. Extrapolating the system of nomenclature backwards would mean these internal school events would be “Kilofinals” but that term seems not to have been used.
This year there will have been 22 one-day 6-round Swiss over-the-board Megafinals run around the country, on a roughly geographical basis, over the period 08/04/2022 to 26/06/2022, and, in a novel twist, two on-line Megafinals. A player may enter more than one Megafinal in an attempt to qualify for a Gigafinal. The local Megafinal was the York Megafinal on 12th June by John Hipshon. The top three in each age-gender group qualify for the Gigafinals.
This year there are to be three Gigafinals:
a Northern Gigafinal at Wright Robinson College, Manchester (9th July for U-8s and U-10s and 10th July for the other age groups),
a Southern Gigafinal at Harrow school (23rd & 24th July), and
an on-line Gigafinal on 3rd and 4th September.
Presumably most if not all qualifiers from York will play in the Northern Gigafinal, but that may not necessarily be so.
The top few players qualify from the Gigafinals for the Terafinal, but additionally some not qualifying for the Terafinal nevertheless qualify for a Challengers event from which they have a second chance to qualify for the Terafinal. The top three in each age-gender group qualify for the Terafinal. (Those already having qualified are encouraged to enter the Challengers as well.)
This year’s Terafinal is to be held at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, the venue used last year, on 15th & 16th October. Each age-gender section is run as an 11-round all-play-all event among the 12 qualifying players. (There is no on-line component of the Terafinal staged.)