Has there ever been a new year with so much uncertainty? 2020 has been a tremendously difficult year for so many people and heading into 2021 there is still a great deal of uncertainty for families and businesses.
Whilst we are a bit later than usual we are happy to confirm that the UK Chess Challenge will be going ahead in 2021 for its 26th consecutive year. Delancey have again agreed to support the competition and we look forward to putting on good show for the 1000’s of children who enjoy this competition each year.
1) Team competition in addition to traditional individual competition
All schools are automatically registered into the team competition where they get to compete in regional and national leaderboards. No additional work is required from the school or coach – players’ scores are collated at the Megafinals and beyond to count towards the team score. A range of prizes and bragging rights are available for the top teams. Leaderboards will be available online so players, parents, teachers and coaches can track their team’s progression.
2) Free Basic School Entry
Basic school entry is free – for this the school gets access to digital materials for running a chess competition and the school is registered for the team element of the UKCC Competition. We want to remove price as a barrier to participation in junior chess events and we hope this move will enable more schools and more children to take part.
Please note the Tournament Packs are still available at the same prices as last year under the “Gold Package”.
3) Online Megafinal Entry from £5
Children will be able to compete in an online Megafinal from £5 if they enter individually. If schools or coaches register players in bulk they may be able to claim a discount. We’ll be publishing details of the bulk discount scheme separately.
Premium tickets and season tickets will be available in addition to the basic ticket with additional features.
4) Qualification for the Megafinals no longer required
This is perhaps the biggest change – all children who know the rules are encouraged to take part in the Megafinals and to represent their school in the team element. Everyone who participates will be helping their team and those reaching a qualifying score will qualify for the National Gigafinals.
The School Stage can therefore be considered a ‘preliminary stage’ – a great opportunity for children to get used to playing in a competition and a chance to determine the school champions. Plus everyone in the school stage gets a certificate and prize (if the school has registered for the “Gold Package”).
5) Megafinals, Gigafinals and Terafinals will take place online (until further notice)
Our default option is that the latter stages of the competition will be taking place online on lichess.org. This may change in the Spring if the health situation improves and we are advised it is safe to run large scale junior chess competitions again. We will also take a local approach regarding Megafinals – if some local organisers are willing to run over the board Megafinals and it is safe to do so then some Megafinals may indeed go ahead over the board. In this case players will have a choice of online or over the board (local prices set by the organisers and may vary).