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Under 11 EPSCA Zone Saturday, March 15
David Herring writes:

The 24 players representing Berkshire in the U11 zonal had a single goal: qualify for the all England final on May 10th in Liverpool. With nine counties taking part including past all England champions Wey Valley and Richmond, a challenging afternoon of chess awaited our county players.

The first round got Berkshire off to a flying start, Chloe Rogers won her match before most had even got out of the opening. A string of Berkshire victories followed, and then a number of players had results go against them. Isaac Herring failed to see the danger in not keeping his rook and queen connected in a complex endgame - always look for unprotected pieces on the chess board. The first round finished with Berkshire in 5th place on 11/20 points.

The second round was tough. We played three Richmond players, three Wey Valley players and three Oxford players. A fine win for Edmond Lote against Richmond and a well earned draw by Sebastian Hickman helped see Berkshire through this round with 10/20 points.

Going into the last round Berkshire remained in 5th place. To qualify you must be in the top six teams, so maintaining this position would see us through. However, we were only three points short of third place. The team walked quietly and confidently into the playing arena ... and played .. and played well .. and played well consistently. With only a handful of matches remaining, it appeared that every game had a Berkshire player involved. The resilience of the team shone through: George Wilks concentrated so hard it was spectacular to watch; Alfred Wong conjured up a mating attack in a horrendously complex position and Chloe Rogers delivered that beautiful rook + knight check mate when playing a queen down. With our final match playing Matthew Wadsworth had to draw to take us just past Oxford and into third place. Tough to watch until finally the draw was won by Matthew.

Berkshire had come third, narrowly beating Oxford on board count.

Well done to the whole Berkshire U11 team. Our four reserves matched this result in the reserves tournament by also coming third.

Huge thanks to all the parents and guardians who supported throughout the day. The Berkshire chess committee did an outstanding job - Thank You.

I'll leave the final words to come from our 24 players:-

"Mum / Dad, I'm taking you to Liverpool !"

Related links

Kennet School
Last Season's Results