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Berkshire Junior Chess

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All stories for 2019-20
NYCA Under 14 and Under 18 Sunday, September 28
Chris Archer-Lock writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

A young U14 team made a cautious start in this strong national event, with many Berkshire games amongst the last to finish in the first round. Oliver Thornley was an early winner, with a discovered double attack leaving his opponent unable to discover a solution, and eventually a number of positive results were harvested. Harvey Zhang had forced his opponent to concede a queen for rook and bishop, and showed mature calmness in growing this to a full point. Charlie Grayson's speculative investment of a piece in the attack eventually returned a full point in a lively game. Nikhil Kadambadi gradually extended his central control to overcome a time pressed opponent in a patient game. Draws from Nicholas Vallis, Helen Archer-Lock and James Beckinsale advanced our first round total to 5.5, at that stage in sixth place out of the ten participating county teams.

Round 2 yielded our peak crop, with an impressive 8 points garnered out of 12 decisive results. Harvey Zhang again showed cool technique in winning a knight ending. Peter Isaksen secured and converted a decisive material advantage. Laura Davidson's promotion of a pawn provided a path to victory. Charlie Grayson's quick win was followed by a battling win from Nicholas Vallis. Helen Archer-Lock won minor pieces for a rook, James Beckinsale notched up an impressive win, and Shruthi Barathan delivered checkmate after sacrificed material had opened up the opponent's king.

The third and final round got off to a fine start with a flurry of wins from the Vallis brothers, each outplaying their opponent in English opening territory. Charlie Grayson completed his hat trick of wins in an interesting game where his central majority got the better of his opponent's queenside strength, and eventually his queen and rook got behind enemy lines to deliver checkmate. Charlie ended as our only player with 3/3, and deservedly won the medal for the best result within the team, after a day of enterprising chess. Helen Archer-Lock also won an interesting game, sacrificing the exchange and eventually winning through the power of her two bishops. Oliver Thornley gained material and dislocated the opposing king, for whom there was no recovery. Our score was topped up by draws from Harvey Zhang, holding equality as black in a positional game, and Jake Bains-Gillespie, who applied pressure to his opponent's London System.

So the day ended with our youthful team fifth in the National Youth Chess Under 14 Championships, a creditable result which promises well for the future. Many thanks to Tanya Beckinsale for organising and managing the team, to Jim Wadsworth, and to the players and parents for their support.

Related links

Under 18:
Last Season's Results

Under 14:
Last Season's Results