BJCA logo
Berkshire Junior Chess

Complete News for 2004-05 Season

This page contains all the news items published for the 2004-05 season. There are also pages for 2003-04 and for 2002-03.

Sun 31 July - Sat 13 August

The British Championships 2005 took place on the Isle of Man this year. From Berkshire's point of view, the highlight was Andrew Winchombe's consistently strong chess in winning the (adult) British Under 125 Championship with 4½ ⁄ 5 and an excellent grading performance of 152.

Other results included:

  • Adrian Archer-Lock 3 ⁄ 7 in British U11 (including a creditable draw with the eventual British U12 champion Yang-Fan Zhou), plus 2 ⁄ 6 in the (adult) open rapidplay second weekend
  • Philip Archer-Lock 3 ⁄ 7 in British U9
  • Susie Yates 2½ ⁄ 7 in British U16

Sat/Sun 9/10 July

Mark Vandersluis reports from the Southern GigaFinal:
A record-breaking 61 Berkshire players competed in the UK Chess Challenge Southern Gigafinal at Tidworth Leisure Centre in Wiltshire over two days. With two regional Gigafinals this year (North and South), the venue didn't suffer some of the overcrowding problems of previous years, and the weather was fine on both days.

On day 1, which covered the under 10 age groups, our results were excellent with 20/32 Berkshire players scoring 3 or more points. Star of the day was James Holland who scored 5 points to qualify for the Terafinal Challengers Competition for the second year running.

On day 2, the sun really shone for Berkshire. A double gazebo offered shade for Berkshire parents while their children competed. There were some superb results as 17/29 Berkshire players scored 3 or more points. We had two Terafinal Qualifiers as well as another three Terafinal Challengers Competition qualifiers.

Outstanding performance of the day must surely go to Zach Salvini, who was undefeated in winning his U10 section with 5.5 points to earn a place in the Terafinals. Touchingly, he has decided to donate a significant amount from his £100 prize money to Cancer Research UK in recognition of his terminally ill grandfather, who taught him how to play chess.

Joshua Ye scored 5.5 points in a second U11 section to gain 2nd and a place in the Terafinal Challengers competition, while in the same section an under the weather George Tunstall came 2nd= with 5 points and also gained a place in the Terafinal Challengers. Both players were undefeated on the day.

In the U17 age group, Stephen Cairns gained a Terafinal Challengers place, coming 3rd = with 2.5 points, while Claire Morris came 1st in the girls section with the same number of points, to book a place at the Terafinal.

Well done to all Berkshire players at the event for reaching the national stage of this popular competition.

Tue 24 May

With my BPSCA (Berks Primary School Chess Association) Secretary's hat on, I ingeniously specified 5 "B" divisions for this season, and a relatively late end date for the league matches. This left a short period of time in which to fit 3 playoff matches, and also allowed the possibility of one school team having to play an additional three matches (during the year 6 SATS season!).

Perhaps unlike a good chess problem, the solution was to rewrite the rules. It was decided to hold a single event, a Primary Schools B League Winners' Jamboree, at which all 5 "B" division winners, plus the highest scoring runners-up would compete for the magnificent "B" league trophy. In addition, I intend to promote all these teams to one of two divisions in the "A" league for next season.

The jamboree was to be for teams of 5, the same as for all other league matches. With time for two rounds, the arithmetic meant that each team played every other team, at one board or other, once in each round (now you can see why I wanted 6 teams for this event, and not just 5).

Aldryngton kindly offered to host the event, and quickly made the most of their home ground advantage, scoring 4 wins out of 5 games in the first round to lead the field by a clear point. Actually, I should have said "slowly", rather than "quickly" since it was noticable that Aldryngton's players were in determined mood and had more players in the last few games to finish in both rounds than any other team.

Aldryngton also won the second round, but this time by only half a point. Nonetheless, over two rounds, they were the clear winners with an aggregate score of 7½ points. Eagle House finished second on 6 points, and Polehampton third (5 points).

Sat 14 May

Keith Tunstall reports from the EPSCA Under 11 national finals:
The Berkshire under 11 team did themselves proud at the national English Primary School Chess Association (EPSCA) final this year. For the third year running they qualified for the final, which this year was held in Oldham. A glorious day, weather wise and a great day for Berkshire.

The first round score of 12½ points, was the best that any Berkshire team had scored in an EPSCA final. This left us in 5th place...

After a warning not to rush the second round (and repeat the 5½ point round two last year), we scored another 12½ points in round two (amazing ;-). Even though we scored well again, the team slipped to 6th place as Barnet jumped ahead of us.

What did the final round hold in store? Another great round with 11 points to finish on 36 points out of 60. When the dust settled we had slipped to 8th out of the 18 teams taking part, with Kent, Oxon & Herts having incredibly strong last rounds. A fantastic result for Berkshire, who overtook Barnet, to finish in 8th place overall - their highest position in the national finals.

This was a true team performance with the top 10 boards scoring 20 points and the lower half of the team scoring 16 points. There were two 100% performers - Zach Salvini and David Andrews. Followed closely by George Tunstall, Patrick Butler and Joshua Ye who remained unbeaten on the day.

Well done to everyone who travelled to Oldham and congratulations on the best Berkshire under 11 team performance in an EPSCA final. It has been a real pleasure to manage the team this year and watch friendships and chess progressing.

Sat 7 May

After 4 years of winning the Berkshire Junior Lightning tournament, Ben Purton was at last too old to enter, and a new winner would emerge. This year's event had no entries from outside Berkshire, but still a reasonable number of entrants (23). With a perfect 7 wins from 7 games, George Tunstall gets his name on another trophy. There were only 2 players qualified for the under 8 trophy, but both did extremely well, and finished on 4 points in joint equal 5th. In the end the under 8 trophy was awarded to Ryan Chen who beat Isaac Herring in a playoff match.

I am grateful to Nigel Dennis for the following:
George Tunstall is not the first age 10 winner of the trophy. Andrew Navias was 10 in 1995-96, and Adam Turner was 9 in 1994-95. The trophy engraving has been brought up to date and for the record, now lists the following winners down the years:

1982-83 S.M. Piercey; A. Buckland
1983-84 A. Buckland
1984-85 A. Buckland
1985-86 P. Masters
1986-87 S.A.M. Foister
1987-88 S.A.M. Foister
1988-89 S.A.M. Foister; T. Townsend
1989-90 A.C. Johnston; J.B. Clifford
1990-91 J.P. Conlon
1991-92 D.J. Lewis; A.M. Leech
1992-93 J.B. Clifford
1993-94 J.L.H. Pitts; H.E.L. Jafi
1994-95 A.D.C. Turner
1995-96 A.P. Navias
1996-97 A.P. Navias; J.L.H. Pitts
1997-98 Yasmin Ball; A.P. Navias; J.L.H. Pitts
1998-99 J. Hamdi; A.P. Navias
1999-2000J.L.H. Pitts
2000-01B. Purton
2001-02A.P. Navias; B. Purton
2002-03B. Purton
2003-04B. Purton
2004-05G.S. Tunstall

Peter Davey reports from the National Girls' Team Championships*:
Rachel Davey was played on Board 2 of 4 for the Wiltshire team, scoring 14 points out of 15 (3W, 2D, 1L), or 4½/5. The team score was 47 out of 50. As well as the team prize Rachel won best board 2 prize. Helen Couper also took part, playing at board 2 for a made up team. She also won a prize: for the top scorer on her team.

Full details will no doubt be available at the BCF Girls Chess website in due course.

* - is there some sort of competition between BCF Girls chess and EPSCA Girls, for who can hold the best sounding event? - Ed.

Sun 1 May

Over 200 entrants battled it out in 10 different sections for the various Suprema and Supremo titles available at the UK Chess Challenge Berkshire MegaFinal. Held in the beautiful setting of Wellington College, and with the sun shining (for a change), everyone had a great time. Well, a few players may have been a bit down-hearted at the end when they didn't quite reach the magic 4 points needed to qualify for the GigaFinal, but 'twas also thus. With many helping hands the event ran very smoothly and kept to schedule.

The separate girls' sections at under 11/10 and under 9/8/7 seemed to be a popular idea on the whole. It was also good to see a large number of new faces from schools new to participating in Berkshire junior chess events.

Sat 23 April

Under 9 team manager Chris Archer-Lock writes:
The Berkshire under 9 team achieved 13th place in the English Counties Championship Finals after an enjoyable day at Bramcote Hill School in Nottingham. The team scored 13½ points, which was a creditable performance in a competition in which strong South West Zone winners Oxfordshire finished sixth. The Reserves scored 4½ points, and in both matches scoring was well spread out amongst our players. As in the South West Zone competition, Berkshire players fought hard and our games were often amongst the last to finish. The team enjoyed their chess, playing to the finish with only two draws from 52 games! Thank you to the parents for all their support and help this season, and well done to all who have appeared for the Berkshire Under 9 team.

Sat 16 April

The final Saturday afternoon rapidplay event of the year at Sonning Common, and a last chance to qualify for the UK Chess Challenge Berkshire MegaFinal. With great weather, a big football pitch, and lots of playground equipment, the day was very popular with all those who took part. Even with 7 rounds to be played, we managed to finish only a little later than normal. The overall winner was Thomas Crocker with 19 points out of a possible 21 (there is a 3-2-1 for win-draw-lose scoring system for the UK Chess Challenge). See the results page for the other MegaFinal qualifiers - 16 of them, after some convenient results in the final round!

For those who had already qualified a separate tournament was held. It was a high quality field (after all, the entrants had all been good enough to qualify for the MegaFinal) and the younger ones in particular, accustomed perhaps to playing in under 9 or under 8 sections, found it tough to get results. In the end Adrian Archer-Lock confirmed a recent run of success against Ben Davey to finish first on 6½/7; Ben was just ½ point behind in sole second place.

Thanks to Peter Davey for the following report from the EPSCA Under 11 Girls Championships which took place on the same date in Somerset:
Rachel Davey played on Board 3 for the Wiltshire team, scoring 2½ out of 3. The teams final position was 5th with 21.5 out of 36. ( actually out of 33 as we defaulted on board 12 ). As 9 of the 11 are under 10 this was an excellent result. We were 1 point short of equal 3rd place. Boards 1 (Megan Owen), 2 (Holly Carter), and 4 (Marjay) all achieved 3 out of 3. Well done. Rachel's 2½ might look poor in comparison but she had the misfortune of playing Wey Valley in the first round. This game was one of the last two to finish. Rachel having about 3 minutes and her opponent only having 20 seconds. It was a bishop to a pawn ending (Rachel having the pawn). Her opponent requested the arbiter to give her a draw as she was in a position to prevent the pawn from queening. This was given. This was one of the few points that Wey Valley dropped. They easily won the match for the 10th year running.

Thu 14 April

There are only three schools in the Primary Schools "A" League this year, and it soon became clear that the title would be decided by the home and away matches between Caversham, last year's winners, and Ridgeway, winners for the two seasons previous to that. Caversham had won the first leg by 3-2, and felt in confident mood with the return of their number 1 board for the home leg. However, the home team got off to a poor start, losing at boards 4 and 5; the remaining matches went the full time, and an extra 10 minutes was played to try and get results.

After extra time, Caversham had recorded a win, but two matches remained to be adjudicated. One was a clear win for Caversham (King, Queen and 6th rank pawn v. King and Knight), but the other was a fascinating position that would have to be independently judged. After much careful consideration, the result came back a week later as a draw. By the narrowest of possible margins, Caversham had clung on to the "A" league trophy.

Mon/Tue 4/5 April

The Maidenhead Junior Congress, held every Easter break, again proved popular with both Berkshire players and many from outside the county. Notable performances included 1st place for Stephen Cairns in the Under 18 section, and George Tunstall, also 1st, in the under 11 section. Dhawal Chelani finished 2nd in the under 13 section, while Sam Goodwin posted another good result - 3rd place in the under 9s.

Sat 19 March

Under 11 team manager Keith Tunstall writes:
Hats off to the Berkshire Under 11 team for qualifying in second place in the South West Zone. The team travelled all the way down to Tiverton on Saturday 19th March to battle it out with six other teams. With South Goucestershire again withdrawing there were 7 teams in total rather than eight. However, unlike the Under 9 zone, where four teams qualified from seven, we were told before the match that only three teams would qualify!!

With a solid first round of 12½ points and lying in equal first place with Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, things couldn't have been closer. Indeed, in fourth place were Buckinghamshire on 12 points. So with only the top three teams qualifying consistent scoring was vital.

Consistency certainly ruled for Berkshire. Scoring 13 points in the second round left us in second only a ½ point behind Oxfordshire and 3½ points ahead of Buckinghamshire. Throughout the last round we again scored consistently (another 13/20). However, when the dust settled we where left in second place (again ;-) just one point behind Oxfordshire.

Although Wiltshire had started well, Buckinghamshire were just a little more consistent and took the third qualifying place (now a clear 5 points behind Berkshire).

The Berkshire euphoria didn't stop with qualifying in second place. After collecting their medals the team won the 'tidiest team room' competition. The spoils (a couple of boxes of Celebrations) being devoured in record time.

Well done to everyone in the entire team. A real team effort with great team spirit throughout the day. A special mention, as always to the 100% players: Zach Salvini, Aaron George, Alex Manton-Jones and Ryan Chen.

The final is being held in Oldham (OL9 0BN) on Saturday 14 May, using the same timings as the zone qualifier. Approximately an additional hour further than travelling to Tiverton (depending on location within Berkshire ;-). Watch your email for invites - coming soon...

Sat 12 March

Under 9 team manager Chris Archer-Lock reports from the EPSCA South-West Zonal:
The Berkshire Under 9 team advanced to the national finals after a close fought day at Winchcombe School, Newbury. The players performed consistently to take fourth place out of seven counties, and qualify for the national event in Nottingham on 23rd April. Apart from clear winners Oxfordshire, the placings in the event changed from round to round, and kept the result in the balance right up to the end. Berkshire players used the 40 minute time limit well, and were often amongst the last to finish in the room. Congratulations to Daniel Noel and Ryan Chen, each unbeaten on 2½ points out of 3, and to the team as a whole for their application, including to the Reserves, who gained good match experience in the same conditions. Finally thank you to all who helped Berkshire to host an event which ran smoothly on the day and was enjoyed by the participants.

Helen McNamara reports from the All England Girls Chess Day at Kendrick School:
I really enjoyed this Reading chess event! It consisted of a series of chess matches, each followed by a coaching session in which you were with all the other children of your own standard. At the end of the day, everyone was awarded with a badge, and the winners from the age categories and other special catogories were given a small statue or medal. Overall, it was a very enjoyable day!!!

Further details can be found at the British Women's and Girl's chess website.

Sat 5 March

Tournament controller Peter Davey reports: The Gorse Ride school chess event would appear to be very popular, especially with those that don't like registering in advance. We had 23 registered, and 17 turn up on the day. Even with all the help both in sorting out the registration and setting up additional chess sets we were a little late starting. The under 8 section was won by Roy Yinian Zhang with 6 out of 6 ( I thing this was his first Berkshire event). The rest of the section all did very well with everybody getting at least two points.

The open section was a closer event. In the end Adrian Archer-Lock and Edmund Palka, ended up both on 5½. The 5 minute play off being won by Edmund. His first SAE victory. Well done!

Sat 26 February

The Saturday afternoon chess action swings down to south Berkshire for a couple of weeks, starting with this weekend's event at St. Michael's, Sandhurst. The Open section managed to squeeze in 7 rounds, and finished with Adrian Archer-Lock the clear winner, unbeaten on 6½ points - his fifth win of the season. However, the talk of the day was the performance of 7 year old Ryan Chen who eschewed the under 8 section and scored an excellent 5 points for a second equal placing. Also notable was Alex Manton-Jones' result - he also finished in equal second, but saw a massive rise of 116 in his Berkshire grade - a record for the season (so far).

Mark Vandersluis reports on the under 8 section:
An under 8 section was again possible with 10 entrants (in fact 6 of the 10 were under 7!). A number of the matches were closely fought and of a high quality, and going into the final round the leading three players were all within half a point of one another. The final result meant a new Under 8 trophy winner - Joshua Smith, playing in his first ever tournament, with Charles Marshall-Stohmal (again in his first tournament) and Tom Vandersluis joint second.

Also on Saturday, the Caversham Primary UKCC tournament took place. Out of 23 entrants, 14 managed to qualify for the MegaFinal. This rather excessive ratio was at least partly the result of several 5th year pupils arranging results between them for the last round such that they all finished equal. Even the overall winner (pre-tournament favourite Zach Salvini) conceded a helpful draw to enable fellow 6th year Thomas Hayes to also qualify. I must find a way to stamp this out next year (grrrr :)).

Tue 22 February - Primary School League

There are only three teams in the "A" division of this year's primary school league. The two favourites, met for the first leg of what are almost certain to be the deciding matches. On the day, last year's champions, Caversham, edged out a narrow 3-2 win over hosts Ridgeway. However, Caversham still need to win the return leg to be certain of retaining the title.

Sat-Sun 19-20 February

The Wiltshire and West of England Junior Congress is a major event on the chess calendar. This year, over 270 entrants journeyed to Swindon to do battle, including Berkshire junior George Tunstall, who finished 4th= in the Under 12 Championship with 4½/6.

Sat 12 February

This month's Maidenhead Junior Chess Club tournament doubles as a UK Chess Challenge qualifying event. For those players whose school is not running their own tournament, success at this event (or at the tournament at Sonning Common in April) is essential in order to play in the MegaFinal. There were 21 entrants, with a larger than usual number of older players. Of these 13 managed to qualify, either by scoring 17 points (15 for those over 10), or by being the highest placed for one's age.

The overall winner with the maximum possible of 21 points (a 3-2-1 win-draw-lose scoring system is used, so 21 points equates to winning all 7 games) was top graded player Andrew Winchcombe, with second place going to Thomas McFaul. Disappointingly, no girls entered.

While on the subject of girls' chess, several Berkshire players entered the All England Girls Chess Championship, Western Region qualifier at Swindon. Rachel Davey had already qualified for the final, but got in some useful practice, finishing 5th= with 3/5 in the under 8/10 section. Zoe Goodwin, continuing some recent good form, also qualified from the under 12/14 section with 2½/5.

Under 15 School League

Many thanks to Zoheb Rahman of Maiden Erlegh for sending me the results of this year's Under 15 school league. Unfortunately, there were only four schools entered, and one of those (Reading) forfeited their matches. The matches actually played were all very close, either 3-2 or 2½-2½. In the end St John's Beaumont, Windsor edged out Maiden Erlegh and Mary Hare School to take the title.

The editor notes wryly:
Looking at the results for the older Berkshire teams this season, it is clear that the team members come from a wide variety of schools which presumably don't run chess clubs. On the other hand, of the three schools in the league, only one has contributed a Berkshire team player this season (Zoheb Rahman, from Maiden Erlegh). The one glaring exception to these two observations is Reading School, who didn't play their league matches, but contributed fully 6 out of 12 members of the under 15 team who played at the NYCA Championships back in November. Go figure.

Sat/Sun 5/6 February

At the Streatley Primary school tournament, we had 24 children, age between 7 to 14. Ben Davey, the highest graded player, made a mistake in round two, losing to James Silvester. His hope now was that the number two player James Holland would win against James Silvester. Third round, James lost to Zoe Goodwin (excellent performance from Zoe ending with 4 out of 6, only losing to the two who tied for first place). On the 5th round Ben's prayers were answered when Zach Salvini won against James Silvester. At this point Zach had a half point lead. Zach thought that 5 rounds were enough, but the parents said they were happy to play the 6th round. So round 6 was Ben Davey against Zach Salvini. Ben won this to tie first with James Silvester. The winner was then decided by a 5 minute play off. Ben made no mistakes this time, to add another trophy to his collection. Stephen Rowe won the best under 9 trophy with an excellent 4 / 6.

Keith Tunstall reports from the Yateley Manor Congress:
Patrick Butler and George Tunstall were both invited to play in the England U12 Closed tournament. George had a wonderful start 2/2 and finished the first day on 2½/3. Patrick had a tougher start with 1/3 on day one. However, Patrick fought back and finished with two wins to end 3/5.

George's second day started with a pairing against Sheila Dines (Surrey). Their first tournament match ever, where Sheila outplayed George to win comfortably.

With Dominic Foord (Barnet) romping away with the title (5/5) the fight was on for second place. After Sheila drew with Jessica Thilaganathan (Surrey) and Michael Rabbitte (Lancashire) were all on 3½, George could catch them if he beat Anthony Gregory (Kent). Their previous meeting at the London Junior Congress U12 Major was a draw so a long game was on the cards. However, it was perhaps a little longer than expected.

As the match moved into a near blitz finish the crowd round the table was huge - it was the last match being played with all the other sets having been long since cleared away. In the end George won with 1 minute and 5 seconds left on the clock, whilst Anthony had just 30 seconds. Very nearly 3 hours and 30 minutes of chess... Both players were praised by the Arbiter, Alec Webster, for how they conducted themselves in the match. In particular at the end with such a crowd of people watching.

Having held up prize giving for all but the under 7 & 8 sections, George emerged not even realizing that he was equal second with Sheila, Jessica and Michael.

Other entrants included Ben Vandersluis (2 / 5 in the Under 11 Major), Andrew Winchcombe and Isaac Herring (results not yet known).

Sat/Sun 29/30 January

Another good turnout for the Saturday tournament at Dolphin School, although oddly, only one newcomer amongst the 29 entrants in the open section. Again, an under 8 section was possible with 10 entrants managing to fit in 7 rounds. The crucial game in the main event turned out to be the round 5 match between Richard Smith, and Ben Davey. With King and Queen against King, Queen and pawn, Richard held on for a draw, managing to keep the initiative long enough to mop up the pesky pawn. So the two players had to meet again for a showdown blitz match to decide the trophy winner, where Ben stormed to another victory with 5½/6.

The under 8 section saw the lead change hands a couple of times early on, and the winner only decided by the final game when Ryan Chen (the previous week's under 8 winner) could only manage a draw, and thus second place overall, while Daniel Esteve (lost blitz tie-break match previous week) gained a full point for a trophy-winning, unbeaten total of 6½/7.

Under 11 team manager Keith Tunstall reports on the 4 county event:
In a thrilling four county match the under 11 team acquitted themselves admirably again. With superb team spirit they started with a strong first round against Hampshire 14½-5½. The second round was all square with Sussex 10-10 with Buckinghamshire ahead of Hampshire. This set up a thriller of a third round where Berkshire just needed to be equal to Bucks to clinch the match. At one point, 10-7 down, the match looked lost. Then a win followed by a draw... One game to go and one win required to level the match. Joshua Ye had the awesome responsibility and in a match that went one way then the next Joshua ran out the winner on time. So Bucks won the last round 10½-9½, which left Berks & Bucks tied for the match on 34 each. Sussex were only just behind on 30 after also winning their final round 10½-9½ against Hampshire.

A fantastic team performance for Berkshire with good support throughout the team. Again only one player from Berkshire had a 100% record. This time it was George Tunstall - leading from the front.

The next team outing will be in Devon at the EPSCA zone qualifier on Saturday 19th March 2005. Watch out for the email invites...

Sat/Sun 22/23 January

There was a great picture of a couple of St. Nicholas chess players on the front page of the Reading Evening Post, and turnout on the day was excellent with a total of 50 players, and sufficient under 8s (14) to have a separate section for them. The Open Section was hotly contested with the winner decided by the final game between Thomas Crocker and Ben Davey. Thomas needed only a draw to take the trophy but Ben once again showed why he has been so successful this year and won the match and the trophy with a final score 5½ / 6.

A lot of new faces in the Under 8 section. A few of the players struggled with the clocks at first, but by the end of the day, and with a couple of free training sessions thrown in, they had mostly got the hang of it. The tournament proper ended after six rounds with 3 players tied for first with 5 points. Ryan Chen had to win two blitz matches under the curious gaze of many onlookers to win a well-deserved top place. Daniel Esteve and James Coe were the "equal first" players.

Chris Archer-Lock reports on the Under 9 match against Wiltshire:
Well played to the Berkshire Under 9 team which came back strongly from defeat in its previous outing to score a convincing victory over Wiltshire at Polehampton Junior School. The team played with admirable consistency, winning each of the three rounds by similar scores and coming out 25½ - 10½ winners overall.

The event provided good practice at playing in match conditions to county time controls, and the players mostly used their time to good advantage, both in the closely fought top board matches, and in making sure in a number of matches on the lower boards. A squad training session is being held on the morning of Saturday 5th March at Maidenhead Junior Club, Ridgeway, to work on this further before the South West Zone competition on 12 March.

Several players scored 2½ or 3, and everyone contributed a score in an excellent team effort.

And to round off a packed weekend programme, Keith Tunstall reports on the Under 11 match against Wiltshire:
A well disciplined U11 team triumphed over Wiltshire with wins in each of the three rounds. A solid start followed by a strong second round was rounded off with a robust final round, to run out 23 - 13 winners. Everyone in the team won a match, with four players unbeaten and Brian Couper the only 100% performer.

There was a good team atmosphere with everyone supporting each other.

Sat/Sun 15/16 January

The Saturday tournament this week was at Mary Hare School, near Newbury. A smaller turnout than usual (come on West Berkshire, I know there must be some junior chess players there just waiting for a chance to push those pawns), but great fun by all accounts. James Holland won for the second time this season with 5½ / 6.

Peter Davey reports: Each year Wiltshire hold a Girls fun day. This is to encourage girls, and to select their under 11 and under 14 team. As Berkshire has no Girls team, Rachel Davey has been allowed to play for Wiltshire. On the day there were 19 girls age 7 to 13. The two top Wiltshire under 11 girl players were also there but playing in the under 11 mixed team selection. The girls' tournament was held as one section, with girls of different ages playing together. Without the top Wiltshire players it was not a surprise that Rachel won the under 11 section, with 3½ out of 5. ( I think this was equal 3rd overall).

Editor's note: Berkshire, to the best of my knowledge, have not fielded a Girls' team for many years, but any aspiring Berkshire girls should note that this year we are hosting the 3rd BCF All England Girls' Coaching and Tournament Day at Kendrick School in Reading on March 12. Further information is available at British Chess Federation Chess for Women and Girls website.

Sat/Sun 8/9 January

The Saturday tournament at Aldryngton was apparently a bit hectic with 15 players turning up on the day. (Another New Year's resolution: save £2 for every event by entering early). In the end, 34 players managed to play six rounds with a very useful training session thrown in for free. Adrian Archer-Lock defeated his nemesis Ben Davey in round 4 and went on to win with 5½ points. Philip Archer-Lock was the under 9 winner.

Under 9 team manager Chris Archer-Lock reports:
Berkshire faced tough competition from Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Hamphshire in the Under 9 County match on Sunday 9th January at Aldryngton School. At the end of the three rounds, the placings were: 1 Sussex 30/36; 2 Buckinghamshire 18½/36; 3 Hampshire 12/36; 4 Berkshire 11½/36. In the reserves competition, Berkshire players scored 9 points from 24 games.

Although we were narrowly forced into fourth place, the event was an enjoyable challenge and introduction to county chess for some of our players. The consistency of the opposition, especially an outstanding Sussex team, and the difference between this slower paced half-hour chess and other quicker events provided our players with good experience. Thanks to the players and their families for their efforts. Many games were hard fought, and we look forward to the next opportunity to play a match of this type on 23rd January.

Under 14 team manager Peter Davey reports on the under 14 match against Coulsdon:
After having initial problems raising a team I ended up with 13 players. Rachel (Davey) became a supporter. The team, although missing a few of the top players, looked strong enough to play Coulsdon. The first round started well with an initial 6 - 4 lead, waiting on the top 2 boards. Two very tough games which we eventually lost. First half 6 all. At this point our hosts provided us with an excellent buffet. I thought this was well worth the trip in itself (Thank you Coulsdon).

The second half started with an interesting battle on board 6. All that we could see from outside was the speed of the players ( not recommended ). I was a bit concerned about this as I had expected Richard to win. At that speed luck could decide the result. I was also concerned that Ben (Davey) was as interested as we were in this game and not the one he was playing. As team manager I am allowed into the room to have a look. To my relief both players had clear wins. In the second half we won 8 - 4. Giving us a final total of 14 - 10. Four players with perfect scores Ben Davey, Richard Smith, Zach Salvini, and Zoheb Rahman.
Editor's note: all the players who travelled in my "lucky car" won both their games. I just hope I won't be expected to transport everyone next time!

Sat/Sun 11/12 December

A good turnout for the last Saturday Afternoon Event of the term at Whiteknights. With time for only 5 rounds, splitting into sections was essential, and the numbers divided nicely with 17 in the under 9 section and 22 in the open section. Leaving the website to look after itself for a while, I actually attended this tournament with my son Jonathan making his debut. My reward was to run the open section where I promptly re-paired the same two players in only the second round! Touch wood, that was my only slip-up of the afternoon.

The open section was only decided in the final round where Ben Davey defeated Zach Salvini for a perfect 5 out of 5 and his 4th trophy of the season. In the under 9s the decisive game came in round 4 where Philip Archer-Lock overcame Tomas Pena-Walsh (finished 2nd overall) and then went on to complete a perfect 5 / 5 score.

Sat 4 December

Peter Davey writes from the All England Girls Championships, Southern Region: A good day for Berkshire, from a proud dad.

Berkshire Results:
Susie YatesUnder 18 section5 out of 5, Winner
Rachel DaveyUnder 10 Section5 out of 5, Winner
Frances WiseUnder 8 section3½ out of 5, Second
All qualify for the final.

Susie won the under 14 last year. This year she was playing in the under 18 section. Like last year, because of the low number of entries, the under 14 and under 18 were run as one section. Although the numbers were low, the quality of the players was not. There were at least two players that she expected to lose against. After the fourth round she was the only player on 4 points, in fact a clear point ahead of all the others under 18, having won against the best players in the region. She had won the cup. The final win was just a formality. A result beyond any of our expectations. Well done Susie.

Rachel came equal second with four others last year. Winning this year was a possibility. I counted 4 other players that I also thought could win. The first two rounds gave her no problem. Round 3 was against Maria Wang, a strong Oxford under 8. Round 4 against Polly Lambert, Sussex top under 10 girl. At this point Rachel was leading the field. The other two contenders having drawn. Final round, all Rachel needed was a draw, but her opponent Caroline Foster, Surrey's top under 10 girl, needed a win. Both girls are not renowned for their speed of play. I had a long wait to see the smile on my daughter's face.

Frances, this was her first all girls event. Expected results unknown. Well, by me anyway. Round 1 win, round 2 win, round 3 win. At this point I said, "Berkshire played 9, won 9". I spoke too soon. Frances lost the next and drew the final. 3.5 points on her first event, a very good result. As Susie had to leave after winning her final round, Frances was asked to receive the under 18 cup on her behalf.

An excellent result for all three girls and for Berkshire.

Sat/Sun 27/28 November

Adrian Archer-Lock wins his third Saturday tournament of the year at St. Mary's, Mortimer with a score of 5½ / 6, leaving James Holland to take second place at his "home" tournament for the second year running. The under 8 trophy was presented to St. Mary's own Harry Stenning who scored an excellent 3 / 6.

A bumper entry for the 37th Berkshire Junior Congress, with many local players in the top places. Originally slated to help run the under 8 section, I actually spent the day helping with the refreshments, including a satisfying a seemingly never-ending demand for toasted sandwiches - I now understand why the BJCA own two sandwich toasters! All in all, the new venue proved very successful, although some nicer weather wouldn't have gone amiss!

Numbers were almost double that of last year; in the under 18/14 section entry almost trebled. The top section (and under 14 prize) was won by Jeffrey Levicki of Magdalen College School, Oxford who scored 4½ / 5. Second place, and the under 18 trophy went to Stephen Cairns, while Andrew Winchcombe won the Berkshire under 14 cup.

Other section winners were:

Under 12 Section:WinnerJoseph Quinn (Horsham)5½ / 6
Berks under 11George Tunstall5 (2nd=)
Berks under 12Richard Smith and Alex Moffat3
Under 10 Section:WinnerJohn Bethell (Oxford)5½ / 6
Berks under 10Benjamin Allen4½ (4th=)
Berks under 9Philip Archer-Lock and Jamie Wong3
Under 8 Section:WinnerThomas Padfield (Chobham)5½ / 6
Berks under 8Isaac Herring4½ (3rd)

Sat/Sun 20/21 November

The NYCA Under 15 Championships was always going to be a tough event, but with several top board players unavailable, team manager Peter Davey was being realistic in hoping that everyone could score some points and gain some useful experience. Individual scores in jamboree competitions are heavily influenced by the opponents one draws, but well done to XiangYu Hu, Samir Javeri and Dhawal Chelani who all scored 2 out of 3.

An enthusiastic crowd of Berkshire players gathered to do battle against each other under match conditions at Nine Mile Ride School after Hertfordshire were unable to raise a team to come to Berkshire.

The two teams (Knights vs. Dragons) fought hard for points throughout the match. After winning the first and second rounds the Knights fought back valiantly. However, they were unable to slay the Dragons. Although it did go all the way to the final game, where a win for the Knights would have secured a drawn match, in the end the Dragons' fire did not go out and they won the final game to clinch the match 28 / 26.

Hopefully the practice will prepare all of the players for what is to come next year in friendly matches and the EPSCA qualifiers.

Sun 14 November

At the Hampshire Junior Congress, both Ben Vandersluis and Rachel Davey posted some excellent results and qualified for the London Juniors next month.

Peter Davey reports from the scene:
Ben started well winning the first 3 games then lost his way, losing the next two. Rachel won the first two lost the next and then won the next two. At this point it was the quality of the children not their play that proved that Chess is a fine activity for them. Ben need a draw to qualify for London; his opponent had already qualified. His opponent said: should I be in a winning position, I will offer you a draw, otherwise you play to win. This fine gesture was not required as Ben won.

In the under 10 section there were 3 players with 4 out of 5, all having played each other winning against one and losing to the other. For the final round they all had to play someone on 3 points. They were all expecting to win the last round, but by doing so they would stop their opponents from qualifying. Should one of them try for a win then they all had to in order to maintain their position. When this was explained to them they all agreed before the game to offer their opponents a draw. To the delight of the opposition.

Tom Vandersluis, did not qualify for London, but being only 5 this was not a surprise. Out of the six games he played he had 2 draws and one win. After each game he came back smiling and explaining how he had pinned this, and forked this and that. The game was important not the result. Two to three years time and he will be coming home with the cups.

Sat 13 November

I like to think of the Caversham Primary Saturday tournament as the highlight of the year :). Last year, the weather was miserable, but this year we had a beautiful autumn day, so the Simpsons video was left in its case, and lots of youthful energy was burned off between rounds outside.

There were no entrants under 8, but there were 15 under 9, so the tournament was divided into two nearly equal sections. The Open section resulted in a hat-trick of wins for Ben Davey with 5½ out of 6, after a diplomatic last round draw with his sister Rachel Davey, who finished 2nd with 4½.

The under 9 section was a close fought affair. Everyone scored at least 2 points, and no-one could manage a perfect 6. In the end two players were tied for first place on 5 out of 6. In the "blitz" match tie-breaker, Caversham's own Alexis Spyrouwon the trophy from Daniel Noel.

Sat 6 November

After a half-term break, the Saturday afternoon events return, moving to the primary schools, after the initial batch of 3 secondary schools. First up is a tournament at Upton House. This year a record 52 children attended the event in Windsor, including 17 enthusiastic youngsters in the Under 8 section.

Each section had a clear winner with 100% scores. In the over 8s Adrian Archer-Lock continued his winning ways, while in the Under 8s newcomer Celine Chorlier from Upton House School had a great first tournament. In a show of consistency, all three Vandersluis boys came in second place, with 5 year old Tom Vandersluis, the youngest player in the tournament, recording his best ever result.

Sun 17 October

Berkshire are currently not able to field an Under 18 team, but, looking to the future, there will be at least two outings this season for an under 15 team. The first of these was a two round event against Wiltshire, Richmond and Sussex. In the first round pairings, Sussex swamped Wiltshire by 11-1. In the Berkshire match against Richmond, most of our players were facing more highly graded competition, but managed a respectable 4 out of 12.

For the second round, Richmond were paired with Sussex, and ran out comfortable winners 7½-4½. In the other match Wiltshire were handicapped by being two players short of the full dozen. Thus by winning 5 out of the 10 games actually played, Berkshire won the match 7-5.

Our top boards found results particularly hard to come by. There was a notable win by XiangYu Hu over Richmond's number 2, but this was the only point gained by the top 4 boards. Put it down to useful experience. All the other Berkshire players scored at least one win with Adrian Archer-Lock bagging a brace.

Sat 16 October

Ben Davey scored a perfect 5 out of 5 to win his second Saturday afternoon tournament of the season at his home event (Reading School).

Thursday 14 October

8 schools entered a total of 11 teams for this year's BPSCA Under 11 Jamboree at Dolphin School, reviving an event which I have been told used to go on all week! With teams of 4, and 5 rounds to play, 120 games of chess were played in total. The weather was fine and Dolphin School were excellent hosts. I like to think everyone enjoyed themselves, and will already be looking forward to next year's event.
(Ed's note: the slightly questionable arithmetic above was caused by an administrative error on my part thinking that one further school had entered - on the day, we used reserve players to "make up" the 12th team).

The competition itself was very close with the result uncertain until almost the last board. Going into the final round, Caversham A, last year's league champions, led Eagle House by just a single point. To add to the drama, the top boards were paired for possibly the showdown match of the day. Caversham quickly won 3 of their games, but Eagle House also recorded two wins with the game looking good for them on board 1. When the Eagle House board 1 player clinched his game, all eyes were focussed on their board 4. If he won, Eagle House would have the same number of points as Caversham, but would win overall on the tie-break. In the end, it didn't quite happen for them. Eagle House board 4 conceded defeat and the trophy went to Caversham A.

Third place was shared between Ridgeway A and Caversham B, both with 13½ points. The full list of team placings and points can be seen on the results page.

Sat 9 October

Attendance was again down on last year for the second SAE of the season at Downs School. The final credits were shuffled from the previous week, and Ben Davey emerged unbeaten on 5½ out of 6 to take the winner's trophy.

Meanwhile, at the Surrey Girls Chess Congress, Susie Yates and Rachel Davey qualified for the England Girls Finals, by both scoring 3 out of 5 in their respective sections.

Sat/Sun 2/3 October

The first Saturday afternoon event of the season took place at Maiden Erlegh and Adrian Archer-Lock continued his excellent form from the end of last season, and over the summer, to win with 5½ out of 6.

The under 9 training day proved very popular last Saturday, and many of those who took advantage of it also entered the Under 9 trial on this Sunday, resulting in an impressive entry of 23 hopefuls. Alper Bakici scored an excellent 6 out of 6 the hard way, including wins over the players who finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th. The under 9 team's first outing will take place in November against tough opposition from Hertfordshire.

In the Under 11 trial, numbers were somewhat down on previous years. With 24 team places up for grabs at the EPSCA events, there were only 20 entrants, although a few well-known faces were absent. George Tunstall won the title for the third time in four years. Contenders for the crown might like to know that he will be too old next year!

Sat 25 September

The first result of the season comes from Birmingham where the NYCA Under 13 championships were held. New team manager Peter Davey writes:

After last year's fine result with an under 12 team, I was hoping that we might get into the top three this year. When I started to put a team together I found that 3 of Berkshire's top 5 were unavailable (for good reasons). This would mean that middle and bottom players who I could rely on to provide points were now being asked to move up 3 places in the order. Most of the team found the opponents too strong for them at this level. This did not stop them from trying.

Adrian Archer-Lock was the highest scorer with 4½ out of 5. I think this reflects the amount he has improved by playing matches over the summer. Dhawal Chelani with 4 out of 5 found board 11 a little easy. XiangYu Hu accepted the challenge of being two boards up achieving 3 out of 5. Andrew Winchcombe's 1½ reflects the quality of the players there. He might be disappointed with the score but the quality of his play was excellent. I was very pleased to see Richard Smith performing to the high standard we saw at the beginning of last season. Although his telling me after the third round that he was the only player with 3 out of 3 was a bit premature, he then lost the next 2.