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Under 11 EPSCA Zone Saturday, March 17
Chris Archer-Lock writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

The Berkshire Under 11 team excelled at the Buckinghamshire Zone event, matching its previous best in the South West Zone by claiming the silver medals. Although we could not overhaul English county champions Wey Valley, the excellent Berkshire score of 41/60 was enough to push perennial rivals Oxfordshire into third place, as well as outpacing a good Richmond team who finished fourth.

The event began with a solid 12½/20 in the first round, which was accompanied by a feeling that there could have been more, with a few games nearly producing extra points. Notably we were already beginning to take points off Wey Valley, Richmond and Oxfordshire at this early stage, and only a few games were finishing quickly. This was the prelude to a quite outstanding second round, in which the team amassed 17 points out of 20, showing great application and even scoring wins in all three matches with Richmond, including an impressive combinational strike on top board. This fine round featured the best play flowing from the U11 team this season and proved decisive for the whole event, even leaving us hot on the heels of Wey Valley as we rounded the final bend.

Although we were wary of the recent Berkshire third round hoodoo, the final round indeed saw us catch a crab early on, with five defeats amongst the initial results. However the strength of our team effort turned the tide and the final round score was clawed back to 11½/20, and an overall total of 41 points, with one and a half points’ clear water ahead of Oxford.

The Reserves mirrored this success, with their pooled resources achieving second place on 8/12 behind Reserve competition leaders Wey Valley’s 10/12. Here too we outperformed Richmond and Oxford.

Extremely well played to the team for sustaining this performance in a tough event, and thank you to parents and supporters for helping us earn a trip to Nottingham for the EPSCA final. The whole team deserves credit for this result, but a special mention is in order for the players scoring 100%: Felix Ynojosa played spectacularly strong chess in his debut on board 1, and his perfect 3/3 was matched by Matthew Wadsworth, Isaac Herring, William Foo, YanFeng Ren and Frances Wise.

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