Muswell Hill chess prodigy wins competition final

Stanley Badacsonyi at Fortismere School won the top title after three years of entering the competition, reports Miriam Balanescu

A student from Muswell Hill has won a top prize in a nationwide chess competition.

Stanley Badacsonyi, student at Fortismere School, has been competing in the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge three years in a row and was “very happy to win it this year”, having made it as a runner-up last year.

Last week (17th October), Stanley competed in the season finale in the under 14s’ category for the first time. Five age groups (8s, 10s, 12s, 14s and 18s) headed to Blenheim Palace for the event, taking on chess opponents with a chance to win prizes and trophies. More than 5,000 students representing over 1,000 schools and chess clubs took part.

Stanley said: “This was my third consecutive year in the Terafinals at Blenheim Palace, the last two years have been great experiences and I think I learnt a lot from them, despite missing out on first place by one spot the first year and a disappointing result last year. I was very happy to win it this year amongst a very strong field of kids, who I used to watch before Covid, I was nowhere near their level, without losing a single game! I’m look forward to having a go at defending my title next year!” 

The UK Schools’ Chess Challenge takes place over several months, with under 18s of all experience levels taking part.

Sarah Longson, director of the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge, said: “2023 has seen over the board chess bounce back strongly with lots of new organisers and events popping up around the country. It’s been great to see children playing again face to face and the online chess boom has enabled many children to get very strong very fast as witnessed by the gold medals won by the England team at this year’s World Schools and World Cadets championships. I am so proud of all the players, particularly Elis Dicen for winning U12s ahead of all the boys and Artem Lutdko from Ukraine winning the U18s and remaining unbeaten throughout the whole event. 

“One of my favourite things about The Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge is how we have designed it to cater for all levels, with inexperienced players getting the chance to play in their first tournament at the Megafinal stage and the UK’s elite players congregating for the Terafinal, Once again it has been a great pleasure to host the Terafinal at Blenheim Palace and we’re already looking forward to the 2024 tournament!” 

Founder and chairman of Delancey, Jamie Ritblat commented: “We are delighted to continue our headline sponsorship of the Delancey UK Schools’ Chess Challenge as it reached its 28th grand finale. I attended the final and it was an honour to see some of the UK’s finest young chess players in the tournament play and receive their prizes.  It has been great to see the continued surge in the popularity of chess, spurred on by the success of Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’, and I’m delighted that this challenge can play such a big part in encouraging chess from a young age, and in developing children’s chess skills, as well as life skills.  

“Huge congratulations to all the children who took part throughout the 2023 tournament, and a big thank you to Sarah Longson and her team for running it with such passion and skill.”   

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