Emmanuel College student James Cummins was one of 40 players taking part in simultaneous matches with tournament ranked expert Jonathan McLatchie.

The Gateshead 17-year-old became the final opponent in a tense match. But as Mr McLatchie turned up the pressure by imposing a five-second move rule, he inadvertently made an error and James forced him into checkmate.

“When you play 40 games at once you do occasionally make a mistake,” Mr McLatchie said. “But I was very impressed with the way James played and the standard in the college’s chess club as a whole.”

James said: “It was really tense. I have been playing for years and usually am quite aggressive. This time I was more cautious.

“It had been a long and complex game and I didn’t really notice his mistake. Then I saw a chance and couldn’t believe it when it was checkmate. I was ecstatic.”

Teacher Dieter Schneider, who runs the chess club, said: “To be able to play someone of such a high standard is an amazing experience for all the players – to win is even better.

“News spread around the college instantly and I am sure will encourage more people to play what is an excellent game that encourages strategic thinking, boosts memory and enriches learning.”

One of the youngest players was Year 7 student Scott Brown. He said: “It was really hard but I think I did quite well; I just got beaten by a better player.

“I’m sure the experience will up my game. I have been playing about five years – my dad taught me. Perhaps now I will be able to beat him.”