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Girls U11 and U18 friendlies v. Wiltshire Sunday, March 03
Chris Archer-Lock (U11 team) and Lucy Head (U18 team) writes:

Click for larger photo
Click for larger photo

The Under 11 Girls team enjoyed a really close match against their Wiltshire counterparts, which both teams agreed was great preparation for the EPSCA final. Wiltshire took an early lead in the first round, although Connie Say started the fight back, turning around an early disadvantage. Several players were unfortunate not to build on promising early play, with Kateryna Heslington and Maddie Cummings both holding a well constructed advantage at one point. Nevertheless we fell three games down with only four matches unfinished. Then our players began to benefit from using the longer time available in this type of chess, and Helen Archer-Lock and Shruthi Barathan both gained the full point after long struggles. Shruthi's was perhaps the game of the round, a finely balanced game in which her pawn disadvantage in the centre was compensated by fine play from her two bishops on the kingside, which eventually led to a decisive attack on her opponent's king. At the very end of the round both Alexandra Findel-Hawkins, in a solid queen's pawn game, and Alexandra Sayers, playing a measured English opening, prevailed, so that Berkshire lead 7-6 at the half way stage.

The match remained on a knife edge through the second round too. The Berkshire players faced opponents from the adjacent boards of round 1, and a similarly close battle ensued. Maddie Cummings gained the full point in an interesting game which saw five pawns on the d file at one stage. Saorla Chadwick and Connie Say both gained early central control, which they developed into full points. Alexandra Sayers and Helen Archer-Lock both won games more decisively than in the first round. Alice Hadjiloucas secured what was to prove an important half point in the only drawn game of the day. Nevertheless Wiltshire were gaining points too in this even contest, and the match was all square overall with only Alexandra Findel-Hawkins' game remaining. This had been a fascinating battle of material imbalances, with a queen in battle against a rook and minor pieces. Alexandra coolly made progress, and pushed a pawn powerfully to the seventh rank, after which checkmate followed quickly and the match ended with the narrowest of victories, 13½-12½ to Berkshire against our hospitable hosts. As well as thanking Wiltshire for hosting the match, thanks to the parents and players for supporting an enjoyable and useful event.

Berkshire U18 Girls’ Team match – Sunday 3rd March 2013

With a welcome invitation from Wiltshire’s team manager, Fenella Headlong, the Berkshire U18 Girls’ team made their debut with a journey down to Highdown, near Swindon. They joined the U11 Girls’ playing the Wiltshire U11 Girls’ team.

Our five girls, (four from the Abbey and one from the Marist) ranging from 11 – 15, played an enthusiastic Wiltshire team with generally lower grades. The first round was a significant win with 4/5 games. The second round was a closer call with 3 wins for Berkshire out of 5. Unfortunately in the second round, blunders or missed tactics reversed better positions to lose games but it pleased the Wiltshire team who were able to win back a couple of the losses from the first round.

Well done to Louise Head and Romina Findel-Hawkins who were unbeaten in their games and proved strong opponents for the Wiltshire girls.

Thanks to all who participated and organised this event with a pleasant afternoon’s chess for the girls.

Related links

Under 11 Girls match:

Under 18 Girls match: