Under 11 Girls Team event: Berks, Oxon, Sussex, Barnet
Saturday, January 14
Claire Lawrence writes:
The Berkshire U11 girls' team had its first major outing on Saturday in a 4 county match against Barnet (winners of 2011 National EPSCA final), Sussex (who had come 3rd at EPSCA final) and Oxford (who had come 7th). Thankfully we had no trouble pulling together a great team of good calibre and depth, and we started the afternoon in an upbeat mood.
The Berkshire team faced its toughest challenge in the very first round against a clearly strong Oxfordshire team. Many games were closely contested, and the final return of 2½ points was a little harsh on us after some lengthy battles. The two winners were Rhea Ukil, in a lively game, and Samantha Perryman, who played with great composure against her opponent's attack on the two knights defence, nursing an advantage in material through to endgame victory. Thilaga Narayanan gained a further half point from a difficult endgame, in which she chased the opponent's extra knight into submission and then saved the remaining pawn ending.
Undeterred by the round 1 score, the team more than rose to the challenge against the redoubtable Sussex in round 2. An early win from Elizabeth Hammond set us on our way, and Katy Lawrence followed suit, again with her queen infiltrating enemy lines to great effect. Romina Findel-Hawkins won stylishly in a double-edged position, and further points followed from long games from Aylin Gurleyen, Alannah Chadwick and Rhea. Our half point came from Samantha, who saved a challenging endgame to secure an excellent victory in the round by the narrowest margin.
Round 3 saw us face Barnet, who were last year's national champions but had not mustered a team of their usual strength on this occasion. Nevertheless early difficulties arose on some of the higher boards, and it took a while for Berkshire to turn the balance in their favour. Elizabeth was again the first to win, and Romina followed this up with a powerful display of central play which led to the demise of the opponent's uncastled king. Thilaga added a further point after winning her opponent's queen. A plethora of points from the lower boards was augmented by Helen Archer-Lock, who converted an advantage from a neat bishop manoeuvre into a middlegame checkmate later in the session. Rhea completed her hat trick of impressive wins on the day, consistently building up her position from a solid opening to see it flourish later in the game.
Despite winning two of our three rounds, including beating Sussex and Barnet, we ended the afternoon in 3rd place, an improvement on our 4th place overall last year. Chris and I were pleased that the team got progressively higher scores as we went through the afternoon, and that the girls were not demoralized by a tough start. It was a fun afternoon for the girls, and a good bonding time for the team. We are looking forward to moving towards this year's EPSCA final with a strong team of both girls and their parents!
Last Season's Results