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NYCA Under 18, Under 14 and Under 14B Sunday, October 07
Keith Tunstall and Chris Archer-Lock writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo
The first of the National Youth Chess Association (NYCA) outings this year was certainly a day to remember for the three Berkshire teams that went. Yes, Berkshire sent an under 18 and two under 14 teams to Birmingham. The largest contingent of chess players (28) to travel out of county for quite some time.

In the usual 'inclusive' fashion, the under 18 team contained some guest players from neighbouring counties since they were not entering teams. The first round saw some tough games that yielded 4 points (50%), leaving Berkshire in 4th place from 6 just half a point behind Cheshire and North Wales (CNW). Round two was just as well contested, again giving Berkshire 4 points. This left three teams in equal 2nd place, 4 points behind leaders Warwickshire. Ever consistent the third round produces 4½ points to leave Berkshire in clear second place, just half a point ahead of CNW. On to the final round... Warwickshire led by 4½ points so catching them was mostly a mathematical possibility. However, with just 1 point separating second to fifth place there could be no let up. The team delivered. Scoring more than every other under 18 team in the last round, Berkshire scored 6/8 to finish in a deserved second place. This was a hard fought event where a large number of the games approached the full 90 minute distance. Which in turn caused real problems in trying to get the whole team together for a photo!


Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo
The under 14 team was made up of a team of 12 (A) and a team of 8 (B) players. Slightly disappointingly there was only one other under 14 'B' team. However, the competition was no less fiercely contested. Despite South Wales late arrival, it was Berkshire that started slowly taking just 2 points from 8. The second round turned this around with 5/8 to pull the lead back to 2 points. The third round was shared, so the last round was going to be tough. As the round progressed, after a series of very close battles, it came down to the last match, also a finely balanced game. South Wales won this and came out on top by a single point, 16½ to 15½. A great effort with a rally in the final round.

The under 14 (A) team started their campaign with a superb 8½ points from 12. Yet this still saw us in second place behind a strong Sussex team (10/12). We needed to score more points to close the gap! Wow, round 2 and just a single loss to give us another 9½ points - more points than our strongest round in the NYCA under 14 competition last year! Sussex managed 10½ points in the second round - the gap was going the wrong way! Round 3 was a crunch round with 3 games against Sussex. With only 1 point from these games and 8/12, we were still in firm second place, but now 4 points adrift from Sussex. Was the game up? Certainly not. As the results came in it was looking good. 6/6, 7/7, 8/8 could we do the unthinkable? Surely not. 9/9 and by this time players who had finished were scouting out the remaining matches for both the Berkshire and Sussex teams. In this round we had just one match against Sussex. A win for James Holland - 10/10! Just two matches to go. The tension in the team room was rising. Sussex kept on going with 8/10, there was little hope left of catching them. However, 11/11 and we could at least hold our heads up high. What made this even more nerve wracking for me was the final match involved George and there had been reports that it was 'at best even, with time against him'. Have faith. It happened. Berkshire recorded a perfect 100% round with 12 points from 12 games! Yes, we came second, but a very proud second.

In each competition we had strong final rounds to finish with three second places!

It was a very long day, but well done to everyone who made it such an enjoyable event. As usual a special mention to the players unbeaten on the day:
Andrew Winchcombe
Julian Ryan
Adrian Archer-Lock
Ben Vandersluis
Roy Zhang

and especially the players who scored 100%:
Tom McFaul
Akash Jain
George Tunstall
James Holland
Daniel Noel

Finally, thank you to all the transport agents (parents) for getting everyone there and back.

Related links

Under 18:
Results

Under 14A:
Results
Last Season's Results

Under 14B:
Results