January 15th


The Welsh Girls Championships were held at Inglefield House, Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls. 



UNDER 12 - Megan Richards

2nd Nudhara Yusuf

3rd  Mary Racz


U12 Winners

Nudhara Yusuf (R/Up) Megan Richards (Champion) Mary Racz (3rd)

UNDER 11 - Stephanie du Toit

2nd  Imogen Camp

3rd  Anna Lena Barth

Under 11 Champion Stephanie

 UNDER 10 - Shayanna Sivarajasingham

2nd  Alice Tang, Shahana Yusuf

3rd  Jessica Jukes


U10 Winners

(left)Alice Tang (R/Up) Shayanna Sivarajasingam (Champion),

Shahana Yusuf (R/Up) Jessica Jukes (3rd) 

 UNDER 9 - Aishwarya Lutchman-Singh

2nd  Neya Govindaraj, Emily Wang


U9 Winners

 Aishwarya Lutchman-Sing (Champion)           

 and Emily Wang believe in being crowned!

UNDER 8  - Venetia Sivarajasingam

2nd  Ophelia Light, Eloise Rathbone-Jones

3rd  Olivia Armstrong


Under 8 Winners

    Eloise Rathbone-Jones U8 - R/Up and

     Venetia Sivarajasingam - Champion          



28 Girls competed in the Welsh Girls’ Rapidplay Championships at Inglefield House in Monmouth.  Many of these started chess taught in school by Kevin Thomas, but there were some other entries including Imogen Camp, a British Champion from 2008 and 2010 for what I think was her first playing visit to South Wales. It was rather disappointing that we had no entries in the U14 event, but hopefully several of today’s players will be competing in that event in future years.    


There was the usual problem for this event, with numbers borderline between all-play-all, Swiss and combining age groups, and some players not turning up, whilst others entered on the day that I didn’t know about earlier.  Most of my original plans had to be ditched, and we eventually got started at about 10:30am rather than the advertised 10am.  I wasn’t confident at this stage we would get my hoped for 6 rounds fitted into the day.  The final format was a combined U8/U9 Swiss, an U10 Swiss, and a combined U11/U12 Swiss.  The top graded player present on the day Stephanie du Toit (actually U10) was moved from U11 back to U10 before finally being settled back in the U11’s, when we had got all the players there.   


Round 1 caused a few upsets.  I hadn’t realised who Imogen was, so was rather taken aback by an ungraded ‘newcomer’ beating one of our World Youth players Nudhara Yusuf.  One of the top seeds in the U10 Shayannah Sivarajasingham also came unstuck losing on time to Jessica Jukes.  Two of the U9’s Emily Wang and Neya Govinderaj also dropped half points by drawing their game.


There were no significant surprises in Round 2, but again because she was ungraded as far as I was concerned, Imogen had been paired against another of our World Youth players, Stephanie du Toit, with the game coming down to a Queen and many Pawn ending where with both players running out of time, Stephanie found a mate.


Stephanie moved into a clear lead on 3/3 by beating Megan Richards in a game lasting nearly the full hour.  Megan, Nudhara, Imogen and Anna-Lena Barth were left trailing a full point behind.  In the U10’s Jessica also reached 3 points followed by Shahana Yusuf and Alice Tang who drew their game.  Aishwarya Lutchman-Singh (the eventual U9 winner) beat Venetia Sivarajasingam (eventual U8 winner) to reach 3 points in the U9/U8 tournament.


Round 4 produced no real surprises, Nudhara and Stephanie drew, and Shayannah continued her recovery beating Alice Tang, to leave Shahana in the lead after 4 rounds, whilst Aishwarya was the only player still on 100% after beating Neya.


Shahana (right)v Jessica

Shayanna v Alice



 Stephanie v Nudhara

Imogen on right


Round 5 produced two mild surprises for me.  Emily Wang played ‘her sister’s opening’ the Caro-Kann to defeat Aishwarya, whilst Megan Richards showed how promising she is by beating Imogen. 




Ophelia v Olivia      

Eloise v Asha


Aishwarya v Emily   
   Neya behind

Trying to run 6 rounds with so few players caused a bit of a nightmare for me in doing a 6th round draw.  I thought I’d managed to pair Megan and Nudhara for a last round decider, but when the players sat down, one pairing was a repeat of an earlier round, and on repairing, it proved impossible to keep those two together.  There were also some high scoring Byes needed by this stage.  Emily needed to win her game to catch Neja (who had the Bye) in the U9 Runner’s Up spot and Jessica reached 3rd highest score in the U10’s by virtue of her Bye.


Ladies Director Beryl Hughes had been there throughout going over games with some of the players, and presented the prizes at the end.  She was delighted to see so many playing in the event, and hoped that many of these would be playing for a long time to come.


I’d like to thank the players for playing good competitive chess in a sporting spirit throughout, the parents for bringing their children to compete, and our two Kevin’s – Thomas and Staveley for doing the organisation to get so many to play here, and for the help and cups of coffee Kevin T provided which kept me going throughout the day.



John D Thornton - Arbiter 





GM Hou Yifan

Women's World Champion