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EPSCA Primary School Championships Qualifier Sunday, March 02
Simon Robinson writes:

These championships are nationwide with about 350 teams entering made up of 5 main boards and a reserve. Qualifiers are held around the country followed by a weekend semi-final (about 25 teams in each) at 3 locations, and an 8 or 9 team final. All rounds using Swiss pairing based on points obtained not matches won. Berkshire does not seem to have many schools competing which is a pity as we have some strong schools available.

Dolphin school have historically travelled some way to Great Houghton prep school in Northampton for their qualifiers – it is the last qualifier on the calendar giving us time to get our act together, and having qualified twice from there we are loathe to change! (Ridgeway qualified at a more local venue).

We sent two teams (in board order):
U11 – Adam Pearson; Sebastian Hickman; Peter Robinson; Miles Deans; Mac Harding-Laleman; Leo de Frettes
U9 – Thomas Robinson; Henry Leakey; William Pearson; Sebastian Blackwell; Clare Pearson; Toby Deans

The day started badly – having left at 0730 on Mother’s Day we arrived to find that the hosting school had forgotten about the event, had no chess boards available and none of their 4 teams had turned up! Panic phone calls and emergency measures meant we actually only started 30 minutes late, and the 5 rounds were actually completed early – each round gives 35 mins on the clock per player. These events typically have schools of all standards but as with many chess tournaments, it is often nail-biting to the final round:

Our U9 team were paired with the eventual winners in the first round and narrowly lost 3-2 but then found it easier going scoring an eventual 20 points out of a possible 25, 1 point behind the winners, Laxton ‘A’, with Stamford 3rd on 14 points. Star of the team was Thomas Robinson with a perfect 5 points – only 5 people managed that on the day.

The U11 team had a tougher time but fought for every point with some impressive turnarounds from Adam Pearson who managed 4 points on the day. At the final round we were paired against the runaway leaders Laxton ‘A’ but managed 2 points off them to qualify in 3rd place on 16 points, 1 behind Heathside Prep ‘A’ and 4 behind Laxton.

So next we are off to the semi-finals at Brean Sands, Weston-super-Mare, 17/18 May to try to better last year where we managed 6th=/22 in the U9 and 11th/24 in the U11 (Ridgeway were 6th=). Things also look promising for next year with 5 of the U11 and 4 of the U9 eligible for the same teams next year. Hopefully we will see more Berkshire teams there too.

If you want more information about this competition, do or give me a call, or look at the web site www.epsca.org.uk (not updated this year).

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