The EPSCA Inter-Association Championship 2012 Eastern Zone U11's

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The under 11s played at Newman College in Harlesden, NW10 on 17th March. 

This year we have a good U11 Essex team which I knew would be competitive on all boards.  However with only six teams, all of whom were likely to be strong, I also knew the team would have to play well just to ensure we qualified for the final.

Round one was a reasonable start with 10 points.  Both Aditya and Niall had excellent wins against strong Kent opponents, and Partha had a very close loss against the Barnet board four.  The other game of note was Daniel’s long game against Herts in which after 75 minutes the only taken pieces were two bishops and three pawns, with Daniel being a pawn down.  Eventually in the spirit of mutual respect they agreed a draw.  This left us in a very close third place, with Barnet way out in front on 17.5.

Round two was to be our best round.  The usual start with three quick wins, then four slightly slower loses.  But then after the half hour (!) a whole flurry of wins – Joe and Joseph against Kent, Niall against Richmond, and the Albert who again pulled out another of his Houdini escapes to win against Barnet.  Then the wait for the top boards – Dion loses his first U11 game to Herts, and Aditya loses to an equally brilliant Barnet player after a small error in the middle game.  However wins for Demello (Barnet), Partha (Richmond) and a draw for Jamie (Kent) gives us 12.5 points and consolidates our 3rd place, three behind Kent, two and a half ahead of Herts.

Finally - the third round.  This time two quick wins plus a draw, followed by four loses. But this time after half an hour the outlook was not looking good - everyone seemed to be down.  Then two more loses.  A ray of sunshine with a win to Joseph, but back to gloom with three more loses.  I could see the medal place slipping away.  But then the top boards turn it all around, Aditya and Dion win, then Jamie, then Niall, Partha and Demello.  Finally, the long wait for Daniel to get another draw in the last game of the day and a total of 11 points in the round.

In the end we managed to keep ahead of a very good Herts team (who beat us on head to head score) to win 3rd place medals with 33 and half points.  More importantly we have qualified for the final!

Special congratulations to Demello, Niall and Joe who won all their games, and to Daniel, Jamie and Alex who were unbeaten on the day.  I should also mention the reserves who all played very well with everyone getting at least a draw.  Best result was Ben O getting a win against a player with a grade of 80. There was also a nice win for Atul against Kent and well done to Shakthi and Simon who came in as late extras and ended up playing in the team. Finally commiserations to Cameron (and mum) who came but became too unwell to be able to play.

Not everyone was successful on the day, but everyone tried their hardest against some very strong opponents and everyone deserved their medal.  Finally thanks to my main board steward Vincent, and to all the other parents for your support on the day.

Mark McCallum (U11 Team Manager)