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NYCA Under 18 Saturday, September 25
Keith Tunstall writes:

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Once more we had glorious weather for our eight intrepid Berkshire players to travel to Telford to compete in the NYCA Under 18 Championships at the Abraham Darby Academy. This is a four round, rapid play, team event that uses a 'Jamboree' pairing to give as fair a spread of games against all the other teams. There were only six teams entered in the Under 18 section this year, but the standard was as high as ever.

Just like last year, the first round provided the team with the largest points haul of the day. Max Papachristos won (on time) with seconds remaining on his clock - a knife-edge finish in a rook and pawn ending. Monish Sudhakar had the better of an interesting queen and knight endgame but his opponent held on due to the threat of perpetual check. Meanwhile Daniel Noel kept the balance in a complicated queenless middle game to secure a draw. David Starley nearly drew after his tenacious defense, but he just couldn't hold on.

Round two saw just two points. These were both wins that came from excellent middle game play after queens were exchanged. Daniel Noel was first to win with a neat tactical exploitation of the positional edge that he had built up. James Adair built on his early central pressure and sacrificed two pawns leading to a well calculated sequence which won material thanks to back rank threats. This was quickly converted into a win.

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Despite the teams efforts round three also yielded but a couple of points. One whole point came from the dependable James Adair (in his last appearance in the NYCA Under 18 event). James had provoked his opponent, in an unusual variation of the French defense, into advancing his pawn to its fate on d3. After this over extension, James calmly neutralised the remaining activity from Black before coordinating a neat mating attack on the kingside. Valuable draws from Daniel Noel and Robert Starley kept the team just above the bottom slot!

The final round was an improvement on the previous two, although again there was just one win. This was from George Tunstall who totally dominated his opponent leading to a crushing kingside attack resulting in massive material gain and the win. Both Robert Starley & David Starley along with Max Papachristos chipped in with hard fought draws as did James Adair, who was the only Berkshire player to be undefeated on the day. This is turn earned James a medal as 'the highest scoring player on the team'. A sensible change by the NYCA to avoid the winning team from also walking away with the majority of board prizes too.

At the end of the day we avoided the wooden spoon position by half a point. However, the effort and spirits were high in the Berkshire team room all day. This is still a delight to see even after being involved in county chess for ten years.

As ever a big thank you everyone. The parents who drove to and from the venue and the players for trying their hardest as always.

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The Under 14 team finished 5th out of 10 teams, with their midfield quartet at boards 4 to 7 all scoring 3 points out of 4. Ryan Wong and Ragulkrishna Sudhakar deserve hon menshes for being unbeaten.
Related links

Under 18:
Last Season's Results

Under 14:
Last Season's Results