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Under 11 EPSCA Girls Saturday, April 20
Chris Archer-Lock writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

The Berkshire Under 11 Girls team travelled to Channing School where Barnet were hosting the EPSCA Final on, unusually for this year, a fine sunny day. The school proved an excellent venue with a tempting sun trap in the playground and field on the route from the team room to the playing hall: the day was all the more pleasant for this, even if the team management manifesto was about spending time at the board, as we tried to maximise our score in a very tough competition. None the less, given the Highgate location, it was appropriate that our scoring was quick off the marks in Round 1, as Aylin Gurleyen was quick to capitalise on the available means of production to score an early win for Berkshire. This was followed by patient wins from Rhea Ukil and Kateryna Heslington, although our scoring in the team event paused at 3 points for the round, after some perhaps ill fortune in a number of tight matches. The Reserves competition was an individual event, and Francesca Blackwell achieved a nice win.

To Round 2, and a revolution was sought in our results, but not tactics, as the same application would surely yield more output a second time. That indeed happened, with 5½ points achieved, the wins being shared around between Helen Archer-Lock, who finished her game with a neat collaboration of the two bishops; Katy Lawrence with good central play; Alexandra Sayers controlling the centre from a solid fiancetto base; Francesca Blackwell with a powerful endgame pawn against eventual champions Wey Valley no less; and a patient Saorla Chadwick from a solid opening structure. Connie Say scored a nice win as a highlight in the Reserves, with Wey Valley again the defeated party. Shruthi Barathan achieved some recompense for a lost cliffhanger of a game in round 1 but drawing the second round comfortably against Manchester. So we advanced up the day's league table, determined to consolidate this by keeping our concentration in the last round.

This proved the case. As well as a good round of Reserves results, including a nice save of a half point by Isabella Findel-Hawkins accompanying a second win of the day by her elder sister Alexandra, the team competition saw a number of long games which eventually brought 4½ points. Aylin Gurleyen returned to form, gaining an early advantage and being the first winner; Katie Lawrence built up a commanding position to win likewise with black; Saorla Chadwick and Kateryna Heslington each won long games. The half point came when Helen Archer-Lock offered a draw from an advantageous position but with insufficient time left to convert, and her opponent agreed with the good humour characteristic of the day.

So our score of 13 points brought the day to a close with Berkshire established comfortably in 9th position. The competition was won by the impressive Wey Valley team, who edged out Nottinghamshire, who had been joint leaders after two rounds, and Sussex. Thanks are due to the players for their commitment and good team spirit, to the accompanying parents and family for their extensive help, to Nigel Dennis for acting as arbiter of the event, and to our hosts Barnet for an enjoyable and well organised day at a very good venue.

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Last Season's Results