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Berkshire Junior Chess

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Berkshire MegaFinal 2019

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51st Berkshire Junior Championship

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Berkshire Junior Championship

All stories for 2018-19
ECF U18 and U13 Championships Sunday, June 30
Jim Wadsworth and Chris Archer-Lock writes:

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The U18s really excelled themselves, matching last year’s team by scoring 18 points and coming 2nd nationally. A truly excellent effort, probably the best I can remember by a Berkshire team given the relative strength of the opposition. The unbeaten second round, with 10 points from 12, was astonishing. All the players should be extremely proud of themselves. Invidious to pick anyone out in such a tremendous team effort, where all but 2 players were undefeated and where everyone contributed to the team score. That said, Ragul’s second round draw against a Kent player will live long in the memory. Ragul was playing on the increment, i.e. with less than 20 seconds left on his clock, for I should think the last 20 moves of the game – he was calmness personified and his opponent was starting to panic by the end. That draw, one of the final games to finish in the entire event, secured Berkshire’s 2nd place ahead of Kent. Fantastic!

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Four was the magic number when Berkshire’s team enjoyed contesting the ECF Under 13 county championships Minor section on a fine day in Hertfordshire at Haberdashers Aske school. This was a large section, with 18 teams competing, and our final position of 4th, after tie break, was a creditable reward for a determined effort from the team.

The first round gave great grounds for encouragement, with each of Siddarth Ramaraju and Jake Baines-Gillespie overwhelming their opponents after gaining early control of the centre, and following up decisively. Azeem Omar-Mufti built a more gradual advantage, which lead to the same favourable outcome. Jack Lawrence was locked in a tough battle with neighbours Buckinghamshire, but came up with an inventive knight move which trumped his opponent’s attempted pin, and soon saw our fourth point. We nearly added to this score, as Helen Archer-Lock was very unfortunate to let slip an otherwise well played game in time trouble, but still 4 points out of 6 was a more than solid start, and saw us in 4th place.

The second round charge was again led by Siddarth Ramaraju, who achieved a strong central barrage of pawns which were the solid foundation to a lively victory. Elsewhere this round was hard work, with battling fight backs from both Jack Lawrence and Azeem Omar-Mufti bringing victory. Helen Archer-Lock built a positional advantage in a Queen’s Gambit, and some accurate moves saw this turn to a kingside attack, which was converted, in the last game to finish. Again 4 points and 4th place at the end of the round!

The familiar challenge therefore faced us in the third and last round, if we were to reach the top three and the medals. This time Helen Archer-Lock was a quick winner, with a decisive attack in 19 moves. Neville Birdi was delighted to break out of a kingside pin and dominate the game on the queenside, achieving his first win. We were in difficulty on the other boards, but both Siddarth Ramaraju and Azaam Omar-Mufti held on, turned their positions round, and eventually won long rook endgames to complete a fine 100% score in each case. Consistency again proved the theme of the day, and Berkshire finished in a well merited 4th place with 12 points from 18 games. Congratulations to deserving winners Northamptonshire, and thanks to the players, parents, helpers and organisers for an excellent and enjoyable day’s chess.

Related links

U18 Championships:
Last Season's Results

U13 Championships:
Last Season's Results