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SCCU U14 Jamboree Sunday, March 13
Chris Archer-Lock writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

Berkshire's Under 14 team travelled to Gravesend to compete in a strong SCCU Under 14 Open Jamboree against the top southern English counties. Many long battles ensued, as we sought to stem the tide of wave after wave of strong opposition. The first round saw us face black in four out of six games against opponents from Richmond, Kent and Sussex. Two draws were achieved, each after lengthy encounters. Peter Isaksen played with initiative against his experienced Richmond opponent, and managed to draw an endgame with queens on the board and counter play although a pawn down. Jake Bains-Gillespie held a position having been at one stage two pawns down, but displaying a good understanding of opposite coloured bishops endgames. Other games were close, and Oliver Thornley played an excellent French Defence even if eventually outflanked by a strong Sussex opponent.

Round 2 saw our first win, a fine effort by Ethan Bains-Gillespie who executed a convincing central strategy in a Catalan Opening, and crowned it with a tactic gaining the exchange in the middle of the board. His extra rook then played a dominant part in setting up victory. Several other games were close run, including Gurveen Kapoor's patient Queen's Gambit Declined where he gradually gained control before eventually being frustrated in a tricky minor piece endgame.

The final round pairings saw a mini match against last placed Hertsfordshire paired to take place on the top three boards. The bottom three boards saw a sound half point gained by Jake Bains-Gillespie in an Advanced French, while Helen Archer-Lock was close to gaining a result by exchanging a piece for three pawns in a French Tarrasch. The critical top three boards saw us triumph 2-1. Gurveen Kapoor was this time on the white side of a Queen's Gambit Declined, and claimed the opponent's d-pawn in the opening, and later the game. Peter Isaksen was the last winner in a stylish finish in which he proved that not all opposite coloured bishop endgames are drawn, by imprisoning the black King on h8 and forcing a pawn breakthrough on the queenside. We finished a challenging day, in which many of our games lasted nearly the full session, on 4½ points and in fifth place.

Thank you the team and parents for their efforts and support, and to Sian Thornley for organising the team and making our participation possible.

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