An Elstree schoolboy has beaten off the competition to be crowned the Under Nine British Chess Champion 2008.

Ravi Haria, 9, of Deacons Hill Road, started playing chess at the age of six.

As his interest grew the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School pupil joined Barnet Knights Chess Club and in May 2005 he entered his first competition.

Several tournaments later, both for his chess club and his school, Ravi was awarded the bronze medal in January after competing as part of the England squad sent by the English Chess Federation (ECF) in the Commonwealth Chess Championship in New Delhi, India.

Then last month Ravi spent two weeks in Liverpool competing in the annual British Chess Championships organised by the ECF where he secured top spot in the under nines category. He also came second in the under ten group and missed out on joint first place in the under 11s section by half a point.

He said afterwards: “It was quite nice to be leading everyone and I felt proud of myself. I’m not sure how I control my nerves but it feels really good to win.”

And now Ravi has been selected to represent England at the world youth chess championship in Vietnam this October where he will play against the best junior chess players from each country.

Sonal Haria, Ravi’s mother, said: “It’s a bit overwhelming but we just support him. It means you have to give up a lot of time for him but it’s really nice to see that he’s getting somewhere.

“Seeing him win the trophy last month was brilliant.”