Under 18 Team event: Berks, Bucks, Surrey, Sussex
Saturday, September 13
Keith Tunstall writes:
For the first time that I can remember (back to 2001), Berkshire hosted an under 18 team match... A gloriously sunny Bearwood College was the venue for a two game, four team match between Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex and Berkshire.
After the drawing of lots Surrey faced Sussex and Bucks were to take on Berks in the first round. If anyone thought these matches were not competitive, this match would dispel such a notion. After an hours play there were only 3 games complete! What's more, after 2 hours (of a possible 2 hours and 10 mins) there were still four games left to play in each match. At this point Surrey needed just half a point to secure their win. The Berks & Bucks match was on a knife edge, with Bucks just a point ahead: 4½-3½.
Surrey passed the post with their very next result (eventually winning 8-4). Despite a precision finish by Felix under severe time pressure, in the penultimate game, the Berks & Bucks match was only decided with the final match. This was won by Bucks, who won the match 7-5. As if proof of the players commitment was needed, the average game length, over the two matches, was 90 minutes.
On to round 2. Surrey vs. Bucks and Sussex vs. Berks.
After 2 games in each match the scores were level all round with one game for each team. After this Surrey gradually pulled away from Bucks running out 8-4 winners again. The Berks vs. Sussex match was still neck and neck after 4 games and looking like another cliff hanger. However, after the fifth match, where Berkshire got in front, we never looked back and eventually ran out winners by 7½-4½.
The second round was no less competitive and although the game length shortened to 73 minutes, a whopping 65 hours and 11 minutes of chess was played on the day.
It was a great afternoon's chess and while there were only a couple of true under 18 players, (the average age was 14 year and 3 months), all showed great commitment to playing chess.