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All stories for 2018-19
NYCA Under 14 and Under 18 Championships
Saturday, September 26
Click for larger photo
Under 14 team manager Jim Wadsworth writes:
Berkshire's under 14 team, mounted the podium for the third year in a row at
the annual NYCA event, claiming 3rd place. Two Berkshire players also
secured the individual prize medals for having the top score for their board
across all counties.
After a long-ish drive to Telford the young team - with just two "actual"
under 14s and an average age of just over 11 years old - performed very well,
with all players contributing points during the afternoon.
After the first round we were in second place, level with Kent and with,
perhaps inevitably, Sussex just ahead.
Thanks to a rather peculiar set of jamboree pairings, we realised after the
fact that round 2 was the decisive one for the team competition. Of our 12
games, six had been against either Kent or Sussex and regrettably we scored
just 1 point from those 6 (but we had 100% scores on our other boards).
Sussex had a storming round, with 11 points from 12, and Kent edged ahead of
After the traditional team photo, round 3 was our best of the day with a 75%
return. Ryan Chen led the way, blowing his opponent off the board in just
15 minutes! Notable also were debutant Ragul Sudhakar's spirited fight back
from being down in his game eventually to beat his Lancastrian opponent, and
Daniel Noel's long draw against a very strong player also from Lancs.
We went into the final round knowing that we were in third with Lancashire
just a couple of points behind us and Kent a similar margin ahead. But we
also knew that because (thanks to that odd set of pairings), just as in
round 3, we had games against neither Kent nor Sussex, so no opportunity to
take points off them. We did however have 3 games against Lancashire. In
the event all three of these were closely-fought draws (albeit one of these
was significantly aided by the clock - the Berkshire player was left with a
bare king whilst his opponent had king and queen and was just two moves from
mate when her flag fell!). On the other boards, we conceded just one
defeat. That was enough for us to secure a very good 3rd place overall -
many congratulations to the team.
Congratulations also to the board prize winners - William Foo (with 100%)
and Alfred Wong (unbeaten). Also unbeaten were Roy Zhang, Daniel Noel,
Charlie Bucknell and Max Papachristos. Well done to them too.
More generally it's clear that this group of players are real fighters. I
mentioned above a draw that was salvaged with the help of the clock. And of
the games that were lost by Berkshire players during the afternoon, half
only finished either at or just before the flag fall. Very good to see, and
a great indicator for the future.
Many thanks to the players, the organisers of the event and especially to
the parents who drove all the way to Telford and back.
Under 18 team managers Chris Archer-Lock and Keith Tunstall write:
On a gloriously sunny Saturday and a long but pleasant drive
through at least 8 counties, the Berkshire under 18 team got
stuck into some serious chess at Abraham Darby Academy, Telford.
The first round was a definite high point for the team with all
four top boards winning and 5 points from 8 games to lie in
joint second place. The games ranged from James Adair's
powerful attack in an open Sicilian to a patient battle from a
difficult early position to a duly converted endgame advantage
from both George Tunstall and Robert Starley (the last two games
of the round to finish).
The second round was much tougher, with just one win from James
Holland, supported by draws from the top two boards.
Round 3 Threatened to be as good as round 1, with the lower
boards redoubling effort after the blank drawn in round 2, but
ultimately a story of near misses. Ben Vanderluis held a small
advantage and close to salvaging a draw in a long game; Ashley
Trice obtained attacking chances for a small investment of
material and nearly achieved a draw by perpetual check; Monish Sudhakar
whipped up strong kingside play which gave him the upper hand
before a late twist in the game. In the end the two wins were
James H with a convincing win in on the white side of an open
Sicilian, and James A skilfully exploiting the smallest of
opportunities on the black side of the same opening.
In the final round, the top boards played powerfully, in
particular with decisive positions obtained quickly by James and
James. The lower boards again battled well, with Ben, Philip
and Monish all threatening to pick up half a point or more,
before late reversals.
When the dust settled, the result on paper doesn't do justice to
the effort applied against strong opposition. Despite finishing
joint 6th, our top three boards were unbeaten on the day and all
received board prizes for the highest score for their board.
Well done James Adair and George Tunstall and especially to
James Holland with a perfect score having played three of the
top four teams.
Many thanks to everyone - players and parents for making it
possible to enter an under 18 team.