On Sunday 15th January 2017 six girls represented the Abbey in the southern semi-final of the National Chess Championships for Girls held at St. Catherine’s school in Bramley. The event was described by the English Chess Federation as 'the largest gathering of female competitive chess players in English history'. The Abbey’s two teams, each of three girls, were amongst 20 teams in the U19 section of the Championships from schools all over the South of England and Wales. Helen Archer-Lock, Alice Hadjiloucas and Francesca Blackwell were in the A team and Amy Li, Kathryn Thomas and Jodie Legg were in the B team.
The A team won 3 of their 5 matches including notable wins against St. Paul’s B and C teams. The B team won 2 including a good win against a combined St.Paul’s B and Bromley High team. Going into the final Round the A team were 6th in the competition which meant they would have qualified for the National Finals in April if they stayed in that position. Unfortunately they were given a tough last Round match against St.Paul’s A team and so they narrowly missed qualifying for the Finals.
However all the girls can feel very proud of their achievements against the best schools in the South of England and Wales especially considering that they are a very young team and relatively inexperienced compared to many of the girls in the other teams. Their performances augur well for the future.