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Under 9 and Under 11 Trials Sunday, October 12
Jim Wadsworth writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

On a beautiful early Autumn day, more than 40 of Berkshire's brightest young chess players were doing battle over the board. They were competing in the trial tournaments for selection to the county's under 9 and under 11 squads for this year. As always the standard of competition was high, with new players coming to prominence and many upsets of the form book.

In the under 9s, the deciding game turned out to be in round 5, with Ryan Wong winning out over Thomas Robinson. Ryan finished the event with a 100% score and deservedly winning both the trophy and the honour of playing on board 1 in the first county match of the year. From a managerial point of view it was great to see Ryan setting the example by carefully recording all his games. Thomas won all his other games, ending up in a clear second place on 5 points.

Behind these two, no fewer than 14 players finished within a point of each other. From last year's under 9 team, Alexis Gritsanchouk, William Pearson and Kieran Grey all showed up well, but it is clear that they will have plenty of competition for places, given how well so many new / new-ish players performed. Particularly prominent amongst these was 6 year old debutant Anthony Zhang, who was 3rd= on 4 points. But then it should be no surprise that Anthony should be a strong player, since his elder brother Roy is a former Berkshire under 9 and under 11 board 1 who has recently represented England with distinction.

Meanwhile in the under 11s it had seemed for most of the competition that top seed Jonathan Matthews was going to take first place. However, Jonathan Smith had other ideas; by overcoming Jonathan M in the final round he ensured that they both finished in a 3-way tie for 1st place, level with Louise Head, who continued her fine start to the 2008/9 season.

Placed just behind the three co-winners were some established county team regulars, George Wilks, Alfred Wong (who like his younger brother recorded all his games, and played slowly and thoughtfully throughout: very good to see) and Nabeel Hussain. They were joined on 4 points by new player Matthew Le Croissette, who looks as though he will be a great asset to this year's team.

All in all, Berkshire's latest under 9 and under 11 squads look to be in great shape! The first match for both teams is at the end of November away to Northamptonshire; between now and then the under 11 squad has its first training session on 18 October and the under 9s have theirs on 8 November. Look forward to seeing both groups soon.

It only remains to thank Ridgeway School for once again hosting us in their fantastic sport hall, and to express our gratitude to the team of willing volunteers supplying numerous cups of tea and toasted sandwiches. Much appreciated.

Related links

U11 Trial:
Last Season's Results

U9 Trial:
Last Season's Results