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NYCA Under 16 Saturday, November 10
Paul Moody writes:

Perhaps it was fitting that this tournament should have been played on the same weekend as Remembrance Sunday. I increasingly felt like one of the lieutenants in the First World War when I ordered my little team of troops over the top to face superior odds and (almost) certain death at the beginning of each round.

For the most part the strength of the opposition was overwhelming – at one point, playing Board 7, James Moody (Berkshire 944/ECF 36) was confronted with an opponent with an ECF grade of 106! At the other end of the scale, on Board 1, Charlie Bucknell ("the fight-back starts here") did his best against opponents with ECF grades all higher than his (e.g. 169, 170 and 179!).

The average age of the team was only 13 and we did well to avoid total destruction by coming 7th out of 9 with 11½/36. Only Northamptonshire (7½) and Merseyside (3½) fared worse.

Having said all of that, the team held together very well and, generally, humour levels were high. I was very proud that they all went into bat and kept their spirits up.

The identity of our individual medal winner was not decided until the very last round and the choice lay between Ragul Krishna Sudhakar (Board 2) and Neville Birdi (Board 6).

In the event, it went to Neville who finished with 2½/4. He came away from the last board absolutely amazed with his draw. He said that, despite being 2 pieces up, his opponent was in a really strong position and certain of victory. He could not believe it when he was offered a draw!

Overall, I am proud of what our players managed to achieve but feel that, had some of our more experienced and stronger players been available to me we could have made a better showing.

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