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Young Ukrainian chess player leads Hull team to victory after fleeing war

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A Ukrainian chess prodigy who fled the war in his home country has led Hull chess team to victory at a national event.

Maksym Larchikov, 12, displayed his remarkable talent as part of Chess Fest, the sport’s biggest public-facing event in the UK, after the event’s organiser, Chess in Schools and Communities, invited a team from Hull to take part.

Some of the most promising players from the Hull and District Chess Association‘s new Junior Academy battled it out in a tournament at The Deep on Sunday July 17. The top four would then go on to represent the city in an online game against London’s top juniors.

The tournament was won by Maksym, who came to Hull with his mother earlier this year in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He and runner-up Georgii Dodukh, 7, won prizes of free entry to The Deep.

Maksym then led the Hull team, comprising himself, Georgii, Luke Attwater, 13, and Nicholas Tarasenko, 13, to victory over London in the online game.

The game was shown on a big screen to crowds in Trafalgar Square, London, as part of Chess Fest 2022, with commentary by leading chess personality Malcolm Pein. 

From left, Georgii Dodukh, Maksym Larchikov, Luke Attwater and Nicholas Tarasenko playing chess at a laptop
From left, Georgii Dodukh, Maksym Larchikov, Luke Attwater and Nicholas Tarasenko

Graham Chesters, HDCA President, congratulated the Hull team on a “flawless performance that did the city proud”.

“It’s part of a great beginning for the new Junior Chess Academy,” he said. “Any junior can join the academy at the monthly Junior Academy Sessions or the Summer School.

Junior chess in Hull and East Yorkshire is on the rise. A team from St Richard’s VC Academy primary school in Marfleet recently came away with a bronze medal from an event in Manchester Square, London.

In the East Riding, Nafferton Primary School, Driffield, won the Northern Counties’ Chess Union School of the Year award for 2022.

Both schools have benefited from KCOM’s sponsorship of a new online primary chess league.

Graham said: “Chess is cheap, crosses social, linguistic and cultural divides and brings significant educational and personal benefits to young and old alike.

“Just being invited to Chess Fest is recognition of the outstanding effort that the city is making, with Hull City Council’s support, to make chess central to its regenerative programme.”

For more information on the Hull and District Chess Association, visit hullchess.com.

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