Directors – Sarah and Alex Longson

Alex and Sarah are both active chess players; Sarah (WFM) plays for the England Ladies team and was British Ladies Champion in 2013. Alex plays in division one of 4NCL and is a FIDE Master. Their passion for chess was the catalyst to running this competition. Understanding the chess environment enables them to make the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge the best junior competition in the UK. In fact it was Sarah’s first ever tournament back in 1996!

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Jonny Bennett – Chess Coach & Head of Digital

Jonny started working with Sarah and UK Chess Challenge in September 2019, coaching at some of the schools in the programme. He graduated from Durham University with a First Class masters degree in Physics and Maths in the summer of 2019. He is a passionate card and board games player. As well as chess, some of his favourite games are Bridge, Poker and Backgammon.

Jonny is a more casual player with an ECF grade of 144, but he has beaten Sarah and Alex once or twice and is aiming to improve to a much higher level by expanding his opening repertoire and working on endgame theory.

Tournament and Data Director – Alex Holowczak

Alex Holowczak is the Director of Home Chess for the English Chess Federation. As an organiser, he organises the Festival tournaments of the London Chess Classic, the British Chess Championships, and has organised the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Megafinals since 2014. As an arbiter, he has worked at the World Chess Olympiad in 2016, the World Youth Championships in 2014, the Four Nations Chess League, and numerous other local weekend tournaments and rapidplay tournaments around England.


Pauline Whitehead – Office Manager

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For admin enquiries please email:

Telephone: 0161 485 1729