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Under 9 EPSCA Final Saturday, April 28
Michael Lubienski writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

The U9 season culminated with a trip to The Malcolm Arnold Academy, Northampton for the EPSCA county final on 28th April. This year it was to be contested with Barnet, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire and North Wales, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Manchester, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oldham, Oxfordshire, Richmond, Sussex, Wey Valley, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire, with Tameside pulling out of the event.

The squad was confident after their bronze medals at the zonal that we could achieve the goal of improving on last year – but how close could we get to Berkshire’s best ever finish of 5th? Practically everybody invited was able to make the trip, and many players were keen to play for Berkshire even if it meant playing in the reserve tournament – a team spirit that was great to see and easy to manage. Even on the day, one or two members were quite ill and yet still wanted to make the trip to compete.

Round 1 saw a solid start with the team achieving 6/12 in the main tournament and 2/7 in the reserve tournament. This put Berkshire in 9th place. In the next round we aimed for 7 and 4 in both tournaments, and succeeded in the second tournament but achieved only 5½/12 in the main. Even so we were up to 8th place. In the final round we resolved to try our hardest in our final game of the season and scored 7/12 in the main tournament and 1½ in the second. This put us up to 7th place – and only ½ away from Kent in 6th place (though it was gratifying that we scored 2/2 in the games we played against Kent). Of note, Harry Grayson and James Beckinsale were both undefeated on the day, and Euan Miles faced Wey Valley three times in the day – and managed to take 2/3.

This signified going up 10 places from last year – an achievement to be proud of, and a result that I believe can be improved on still further in future years – particularly if we can manage to convert all our won endgames.

Thanks to all the players for securing this result, and thanks too to all the parents for getting the players there and supporting their chess activities this year. It has been a real pleasure to manage this squad of players throughout the year, and I wish them all the best in representing Berkshire next year in their respective U9/U11 teams.

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Results
Last Season's Results