Girl will vie for place in UK finals after shining in heats

A girl from Bradford on Avon is moving up in the chess world after finishing as the runner-up in her category in the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Megafinal.

Sophie Cottle, 10, a pupil at Christ Church Primary School, competed in the girls’ under-10s category and qualified for the Giga-final, where she will play other girls from across the South of England.

Sophie, of Budbury Place, said: “I have given up on some things because I have not been too keen on them, but chess is one of the things I really like.”

She became intrigued by her father’s chess set at the age of six and, after he taught her the rules, she started to play regularly, at an after-school club and in girls and mixed teams across the county.

Dad Mark, 45, said: “I am pleased she has got to this standard. She has got a very positive attitude and does not get upset if she doesn’t win.”

Sophie said she likes to play against boys and girls and followed her coach’s advice of ‘Don’t play the person, play the board.’ Mother Sarah, 36, said: “It is very nerve-wracking to watch her and I can never read her face.

“Playing chess has given her confidence and forward thinking, which helps at school. She has always had an amazing memory, which helps too.”

The winners play in the Terafinal, against boys and girls aged seven-18, to win a £2,000 prize.

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