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52nd Berkshire Junior Championship

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Berkshire Junior Championship

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ECF U18 and U13 Championships Saturday, June 30
Chris Archer-Lock and Lucy Head writes:

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Berkshire fielded one Under 18 team and three Under 13 teams at the ECF Under 18 and Under 13 County championships, which were held for the second year running at Eton College under Berkshire Junior Chess organisation. Notwithstanding a circa 70% increase in attendance compared with 2011, the event ran well and received very good feedback, and we express our thanks to Eton College for providing the excellent venue, and to the Berkshire Junior Chess community who provided great support to enable the day to pass smoothly and enjoyably.

Berkshire fielded one of its strongest Under 18 teams, with an average grade of around 160 across the twelve boards, and consisting of players, younger or older, with many years’ experience playing for the county. The popularity of the event ensured that the competition would be formidable from many counties, and games often took much of the 150 minutes in each round to reach a verdict. Many of the fifteen county teams had travelled a distance to take part, with Devon, Greater Manchester and Norfolk particularly notable in this regard. In the first round, Berkshire accumulated 8½ points from 12 games, which ranged from a powerful early attacking win with black by Louise Head, to a steady conversion of a skilfully gained material advantage by Max Papachristos later in the session. The strength of the middle order was demonstrated by a run of wins on boards 5 to 10, which also featured impressive play from Matthew Wadsworth, Daniel Noel, Robert Starley and Alfred Wong.

The half way mark was reached with Berkshire placed joint second alongside Surrey A and Kent, and just a half point behind leaders Sussex. We knew that an even higher total would be required to retain the trophy won previously in 2010, and the players certainly rose to the challenge. First William Foo quickly devastated his opponent’s Sicilian Kan position with a sacrifice against a hastily advanced pawn on b5, and punished his opponent’s lagging development. Daniel Noel added to this soon after, registering his second point of the day, a feat in which he was joined by Roy Zhang, who broke through neatly in the centre. Monish Sudhakar and Ragul Sudhakar each won tenacious games, which were added to by Adrian Archer-Lock’s win over Surrey A in a controlled Queen’s Gambit battle. Our total of 9½ points from 12 second round games was very impressive, and saw us overtake Sussex and pull away from Surrey A, half of the team completing 100% Scores. Hope turned to mild disappointment when we discovered that Hertfordshire had enjoyed a phenomenal last round, amassing 10½ out of 12 points, and 18½ out of 24 in total, and deservedly taking the title by just half a point.

Nevertheless Berkshire’s total score of 18 secured the second place trophies on tie break from third placed Kent, since Berkshire had scored more wins. Congratulations to the team on a fine effort which took us within a whisker of winning, and also to Hertfordshire on their success. Additional congratulations are due to the players from Reading School, whose results within the Berkshire team saw them share with Haberdashers Askes the prize for the best national school.

U13 Championships

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On a rare sunny day, 18 children represented Berkshire in three U13 teams comprising of an open team and two minor teams, at the ECF National Team’s Championship, hosted once more at Eton College.

Open Team – The round started strongly with Jeff Abraham quickly getting an advantage over his opponent and completing his game with a swift knight and rook mate. The remaining five team members were amongst the last to finish taking most of their 45 minutes on the clock. Nikolei Hinterreither set a cunning trap with just a few minutes to spare, which successfully toppled his opponent. Richard Zhu was also short of time but managed to apply pressure and win his game. Anthony Zhang had a long and well fought game against a fellow England team member, who will be competing alongside Anthony later in the year at the World Youth Chess Championships, but sadly the game didn’t finish his way on this occasion. Isabella Roper fell to a stronger opponent but she didn’t make it easy for him and battled throughout.

In the second round, Anthony Zhang was the first out with a past pawn and queen/rook checkmate. Nikolei played his Sussex adversary who he had come up against six times this season, but with a piece down, was defeated. Jeff had a forced mate from his opponent and lost. Ryan Wong admitted to spending too long in the opening and then running out of his time offered a draw, which was accepted. Richard’s opponent fell for a queen trap and after losing his queen for a bishop, the game went swiftly Richard’s way.

After the customary team photo, we went in for the last round of the day. A minor blunder from Jeff changed his strong position and he was delighted when he was offered a draw and accepted. Ryan’s opponent took advantage and had two passed pawns. Poor Ryan had nothing that he could do to prevent the inevitable. Anthony had another close game from another England contender and with both under time pressure, managed to take control.

Well done to all the team for playing some challenging games and particularly to Richard Zhu who remained unbeaten with 2½ out of 3. We finished with a final result of 8½ and 7th place.

In the Under 13 Minor, the Berkshire ‘Stags’ team scored 9 points and secured 8th place out of 15 counties, while Berkshire ‘Lions’ finished in 13th place with 5½ points. The Minor event provided great experience for a number of younger players, who enjoyed competing in such a large event at a fine venue in Berkshire, with 330 players entered.

Related links

Under 18s:
Eton College
Last Season's Results

Under 13 Open:
Eton College
Last Season's Results

Under 13 Minor:
Eton College
Last Season's Results