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Under 11 EPSCA Final Saturday, May 07
Mike Lubienski and Paul Blackwell writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

This year the team made a comparatively shorter journey than some years to Northampton for the pinnacle of the U11 County chess calendar - the EPSCA U11 Final.

Eighteen teams were competing in this year's Final. Berkshire fielded 25 players (the almost unanimous positive response of availability was fantastic) - all in Berkshire blue T-shirts.

Solid Round 1 and Round 2 scores of 12 and 13 really made us believe we were on the cusp of exceeding previous Berkshire performances at this event. Whether games were won or lost, the whole team showed great concentration, character and focus - particularly against the stronger teams. Atro Autio managed to turn around a material deficit to spring a surprising checkmate on his opponent in Round 1, and various players got down to tight endgames which were converted more often than not.

After team photos we headed back to the hall for the final round where we scored 11½ points which gave us a joint 5th place finish on 36½ points (with Nottinghamshire - last year's champions). This equalled Berkshire's best ever finish at the U11 final and (thanks to Isabella Roper's half point in the final game of the competition - interestingly Berkshire's only drawn game) exceeded Berkshire's highest ever points total - a result to be really proud of. Also of note, Matthew Wadsworth, Ryan Wong, Richard Zhu, Anthony Zhang, Azeem Omar-Mufti, Edward McLaren and Helen Archer-Lock all achieved 100% records, with Isabella Roper unbeaten on 2½ points.

We finished the U11 County season by congratulating Victor Suarez who won the U11 Berkshire Master Problem Solver trophy for his answers to the 6 training sheets which were sent out prior to the final.

With 13 of the 25 players being eligible for U11 County chess next year, we wish the team as much and more success next season under the management of Mark Grayson.

Thanks to all the players for their excellent play at the Final and throughout the season, and also a big thank you to the parents for supporting your children (and getting them there!)

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Results
Last Season's Results