Justin Turner from Aspley Shines in Spanish Chess Scene

Justin Turner, originally from Aspley, has made a significant impact on the chess scene in Spain. He earned recognition as his club’s Most Valuable Player and has achieved notable success in recent tournaments.

Achievements in Valencia

Now playing for a club in Valencia in Spain, Justin was named the Most Valuable Player for his performance in the Valencia State 2nd Division. As the 7th-ranked member of the club’s A Team, he played a crucial role in keeping his team near the top of the division, narrowly missing promotion to the 1st Division. 

Justin moved to Spain in 2020 and dedicated himself to intensively studying chess during the COVID lockdown. He attended Aspley East State School and worked as a civil engineer in Brisbane before retraining as a Teacher of English as a Second Language, now makes a modest living by giving private English lessons in Valencia.

“Between the dozen tutorials each week, I can fit in the three hours daily chess-study that I need to do to compete at this level.”

Justin Turner
Photo Credit: Supplied

Chess Celebration in June

In June 2024, the Valencia City Council sponsored a chess celebration to mark the end of the school year. Justin was one of four club members who participated with 20 other players from various clubs, playing simultaneous games against about 350 junior players. Each senior player played against 12 to 15 juniors.

Justin performed well in the recent Under 2400 Rating chess tournament in Spain. With a rating of 1937, he won all his games against lower-rated players and drew two games against players rated above 2100. Of the 158 entrants, including 21 Masters across three categories, Justin was ranked 52nd and finished in 40th place. Despite a challenging final match against a Master rated 2325, where he lost after 3.5 hours, his overall performance is expected to increase his rating by about 20 points. Justin aims to reach a rating of 2000 by the end of the year.

Club Awards and Farewell Party

The club’s final party and the closing of the chess EEDD were held recently, with an awards ceremony in the conference room of the Petxina cultural and sports centre. The best boards of the interclubs 2024 received rewards, and all players took home a small souvenir of the season. Justin was recognised as the best board for Basil A.

Other notable players included Lucas Ainsa Jiménez, Pablo Sánchez Navarro, Héctor Valero Crespo, Ángel Del Campo Hernández, Marco Penadés Chuluunpurev, Magnus Larson, David Cortijo, and Theo Clark Sanchez. A special award was given to Héctor Sirit, with a farewell tribute to Nestor. After the event, attendees enjoyed a snack, including paella, in the chess room.

In August, Justin will travel with a team from his club to compete in tournaments in Poland.

Published 22-June-2024

Former Aspley Local Justin Turner Climbs in Australian Chess Players Ranking

Justin Turner, a former Dux of Aspley East State School, has climbed the ranking of Australian chess players after gaining a chess rating of 1873 following two successful tournaments in Spain.

The son of Madeleine Turner of Aspley is now in the top 160 Australian chess players after he managed to tie in 6th place at an Alicante tournament for Under 2200, where he won in the final game against a player with a 2020 chess rating. 

Prior to the tournament, Justin was ranked 26th among the entrants consisting of 89 players from 10 countries. 

He then competed in the Under 2400 tournament in Valencia, where he finished 3rd place among 101 entrants, beating the 4th seed with only 15 moves. His competition was a 12-year-old prodigy, who had gained 800 points in a year to be currently rated at 2214. 

The wins come after Justin had a successful season at the Valencian Chess League, where won against a player rated 2040 in the final round in May, where eight teams from 70 clubs in the Valencia Region competed in five divisions. 

Justin worked as a former civil engineer before deciding to shift careers and re-train as a teacher of English as a second language. He flew to Valencia in Spain a few days before the pandemic lockdown in March 2020 and found a place to live off his savings for more than a year.

The move, however, accorded Justin a Spanish Government contract as an English language teaching assistant for the 2021 to 2022 school year, which was recently renewed for another full year until 2023.

“The primary school at which I worked last year, and again for another year from this October, has a special focus on chess,” Justin said. “I did not know that before being assigned to that school. There is a dedicated room for chess tables and about 80% of the children play regularly.”

Justin Turner
Photo Credit: Steve Buissine/Pixabay

Students who finished their tasks in the classrooms may choose to play chess. During the end-of-school-year activities, Justin played 12 games simultaneously in each class.

Justin Turner has pretty much established a routine in his life in Spain: three hours of chess study; three hours studying languages, Spanish and Italian; and five hours at school.

“Despite the frustrations, I find the successes that come with working with young people are more enjoyable than being bound in an office faced with computer-aided design for much of the working days.

“For example, in May one new student arrived from Ukraine. I played some chess with him. Teachers are struggling a bit, given that he speaks Ukrainian and a few words in English, but zero Spanish. Not ideal but at least he’s safe from bombs.

“I decided to let him win the second game. It’s amazing how hard it is to lose on purpose, given I spend 3 hours a day studying how to win. Winning is like a natural reflex. 

“I let him take my Queen but it got a smile out of him when he checkmated me.”