27th February 2015

Chess at Oundle School and Laxton Junior School (LJS) is going from strength to strength with a number of pupils winning county competitions and qualifying for national finals.

Oundle currently sits at the top of the Northamptonshire County League Division 2, with three wins, two draws and one loss and with only two matches left to play. There have been some good individual performances from William Connellan (14), Kyle Lo (18), James Low (15) and Joseph Meisner (11).

Visiting chess coach at both schools, Geoff Crook, commented, “This is an exceptional performance given that the league is for adult teams. Generally our team is made up of only one adult and four juniors of whom most are under the age of 15.”

Earlier in the year, two teams competed in the regional heats of the National Senior Schools competition in Grantham, where they finished runners up.

Fifth former (Year 11), Sam Herring (16) has continued to impress with his results and during the summer came an impressive 4th place in the Open Section of the British Championships. He has also just won the County U18 championships.

Outside of competition and as part of Oundle School’s Community Action programme, Kyle Lo and Aditya Menon (15) are running a bi weekly chess club at the public library in Oundle and Sam Herring is assisting in the coaching the Year 2 pupils at LJS.




Back in July, the LJS U9 team repeated the success of the previous year by finishing 7th in the National Primary Schools competition. 

Geoff commented, “As all of the other teams in the final were from London this was an exceptional performance as regular strong competition is something we struggle to find in rural Northamptonshire. The team was also complimented on their behaviour and sportsmanship at the tournament.” 

This year LJS also fielded three very good U11 teams in the qualifying tournament at Nottingham High School together with two U9 teams. They had a great day's chess and all three of the U11 teams and the top U9 team qualified for the National Semi-Finals which will take place in June.

Due to the success of LJS pupils, they recently welcomed Alan Bailey, Chairman of the Northamptonshire School's Chess Association, who spent a day looking at how chess is taught to the different age groups, with a view to trying to replicate what LJS do in the rest of the county.

Geoff commented, “If we can help in bringing chess standards up locally then this will also help in providing better local competition. Alan certainly went away with a number of new ideas to try and I have agreed to help put together a training programme for the county U11 team.”

Individually William Caskey (9) recently won the County U10 Championship and his brother Thomas Caskey (10) was runner up in the County U11 Championship. Laxton Junior School also won the Team U11 competition. 



Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.


The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015. 


There are currently 1100 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11. 

You may also be interested in ...