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Chess Success

A Year 10 Toowoomba Grammar School student has become the first chess player from any regional area in over four decades to take out the prestigious U18 Queensland Junior Chess Championship, bringing the trophy home to Toowoomba after 42 years.

Making this feat even more impressive, Aanan Shafiuddin is only 15 years old!

Fifty-seven competitors, aged 14-18, from across Queensland were vying for the title which provides direct entry into the Queensland Chess Championships.

Aanan was undefeated in the four-day tournament, playing two rounds per day, with his final score 7 out of 8 – six wins and two draws.

Incredibly, the last player from a regional area to win this title was also a Toowoomba chess champion, David Stephson in 1979, now one of Aanan’s coaches.

Aanan lives and breathes Chess and his training schedule is intense, requiring incredible dedication. He’s grateful for the support and encouragement of his Dad, who is also an avid Chess player. Aanan has two different training regimes, one for school terms and the other during holidays.

During school, Aanan trains at least an hour a day using computers and various books. He attends the TGS Chess Club and trains with other Grammar players under the guidance of coaches, Mr Les Lord and Mr Ben Peach. He also plays with the Toowoomba Chess Club every Friday night, except in Term 3 when he represents TGS in the GPS competition.

During school holidays Aanan will study chess at least three hours a day; this involves solving tactical puzzles, studying various end games and playing through games played by the past chess champions.  He also attends weekly or fortnightly training sessions with David Stephson where they thoroughly analyse Aanan’s past games.

Aanan hopes to compete in the Australian Junior Championship next year, with the dream of taking the national title.