Under 9 Team event: Berks, Bucks, Barnet
Saturday, February 04
Michael Lubienski writes:
On 4th February a Berkshire U9 team gathered at Dolphin School to play the annual friendly against Barnet, Bucks and Oxon. We quickly understood, however, that it had rather become a 3 Counties match due to Oxon pulling out. This meant that we would have 50% more games against a traditionally strong Barnet team and a strengthened Bucks team.
It was a challenging day (with most players playing on higher boards than at the January friendly fixture) but everyone took home some valuable experience from the occasion. After Round 1 Berkshire was left with 3 points, but we knew we could do better and we improved round by round scoring 4 in Round 2 (with Max Pianta taking a half point from his Barnet opponent – though a full point was deserved, and Jake Bains-Gillespie devising a plan in his endgame with Barnet to equalise after being 3 pawns down – only to cruelly lose on time), then 5 points in Round 3 (with Peter Isaksen forcing checkmate through the use of his black-squared bishop exploiting the weak squares around the g6 advanced pawn in front of Black’s castled king, Oliver Thornley getting revenge on the Bucks No. 1 Board using a clever sequence to win his rook, Siddarth Ramaraju and Alan Gleeson both getting their second points of the day, and Dominic Young and Mannan Karwa both taking points off Barnet). All Berkshire players were impressive throughout the day by taking their time and conducting themselves really well, and any games lost were often very close endgames.
Compared to this fixture last year we made up some ground on Barnet but lost some ground to a good Bucks team, but I am confident that with a full strength Berkshire team we will do well at the Zonal competition.
Thanks again to all the parents for supporting your respective Junior Berkshire players, and for getting them to the venue in good time.
Last Season's Results