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Under 11 EPSCA Girls Saturday, March 22
Mark Say writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

A very young and inexperienced Girls Under-11 Team went to the EPSCA Finals for Girls in Didcot. We were missing two of our top 5 players and so everyone had to shuffle up the boards and found life tough at the top.

In the first round, the team only managed to land 2 points. Anvesha Saxena (who was the Star of the Day for Berkshire) got the first of her 2½ points and fighting draws from Holly Bishop and Rhea Ukil made sure that we were off the mark.

Our second round was much better as some of the ring rust had fallen off and we managed to land 5 points – again Anvesha, Rhea and Holly repeated their Round 1 scores and Arti Lenoir, Elizabeth Wood and Alannah Chadwick fought really hard for their points. Alannah’s match was especially tight – it went on for close on an hour and a half. Alannah’s opponent was about 3 moves from winning, but Alannah kept running very cleverly and when her opponent’s flag fell, Alannah won on time…just!!

Round Three was disappointing – our players were tired and demoralised – Anvesha squeezed out a draw and Alannah fought hard for her second point…but that was the extent of our scoring. We finished in 10th place with 8½ points. We have beaten Wiltshire recently and they finished in 8th place with 14 points – which is much more like where we should have expected to finish.

Saatvika Mahesh, Aylin Gurleyen and Connie Say all tried hard, but were playing some tough opponents – however I was really pleased with how they battled and made life difficult for their quality opposition. Saorla Chadwick, Francesca Blackwell and Saadhikha Shanker also battled hard, but their inexperience and lack of recent practice meant that life was always going to be tough at the National Finals where there were going to be no easy games.

We lose 4 of our team next season to the Age Group cut-off, but with some new blood coming through and the continued improvement of our core players, it means that we should be competitive next season.

Main mentions this season must go to Anvesha Saxena who has blossomed in the last 6 months and is now a really good player. Saatvika leads the team very well and fully deserves her England Trial. Connie Say has battled hard and her Berkshire grading has improved by nearly 200 points in the last year.

I must pass on my thanks to all the parents who give up their time so readily and uncomplainingly to get the girls to far-flung places on time and in good fettle. It would not be possible without you. Finally, I would like to make special mention to Jim Hoskins and Peter Davey – both have given their time freely to coach and run trials / tournaments – they do so for no gain other than seeing young people flourish and develop their chess skills. Thank you both.

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