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Under 9 EPSCA Final Saturday, April 01
David Herring writes:

The Berkshire U9 team arrived in full strength for the EPSCA final on the 1st April in Rotherham. Eighteen counties took part, all having qualified in zonal tournaments.

The first round initially looked very promising, Berkshire looked to be clearly winning on 7 of the 12 boards, with possibilities in a couple of the other games. Then we missed some chances, made a few non-forced errors and finally ended the round on 4 out of 12 points. It is clear at this level players fight very hard to the end, and having obtained a won position still requires careful play to convert into a victory.

The second round was played in a similar fashion, Berkshire players were able to hold their own in the opening to middle game phase but seemed less sure on when to convert to an end game. The round finished with Berkshire winning 5 games, for a points total of 9.

For the final round we took the Berkshire team outside for a breath of fresh air, to wash the long journey to Yorkshire from our minds. This had the desired effect, and the whole team played really well: Winning 7 of their last round matches for an overall score of 16 and equal 10th place.

A special mention should be made of Roy Zhang, Daniel Esteve, and Robin Wilson who won all their respective matches. Also those that did not win any matches generally faced the tougher counties, remember we learn from our success and even more from our defeats.

The U9 team should feel really proud for reaching the finals in style. Also, coming 10th out of 18 in the final and playing so well in the final round is a credit to the team spirit and resilience of our U9 team.

Well done to you all !

Thank you to all the parents and guardians for your support - so many Berkshire chess players have benefited from the experience of county chess thanks to you.

The Berkshire U9 team will be managed by Mark Vandersluis next year, and I wish him much success in this role.

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Last Season's Results