Good Performance by Under 11s at EPSCA Final

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The Essex Under 11s played in the EPSCA Under 11 Final at Wycombe High School in Buckinghamshire on 7th May 2016.

The 17 teams competing were Barnet, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Richmond, Somerset, Sussex, Tameside, Wey Valley, Wirral and Yorkshire.

It was a little disappointing that four players dropped out in the week before which meant that the team ended up with only one reserve.  Fortunately there was no repeat of the travel difficulties that made the start of the zonal so horrendous (although the attempt by the team manager to send everyone down the M4 instead of the M40 could have ended in tears!)  That said a message the night before that one of the team had come home from school feeling unwell did lead to another withdrawal – bad luck Alfie – so no reserves!  I did however have some strong player coming into the team – Anum, Bhramav, Rishi and Tristan.

Round one did not start well with only one win (for Fraser) in the first seven matches.  After that the wins came in more regularly and from the hour mark a real flurry of good results with wins for Tristan and Ayub (a long game at board 17 against Somerset), then a couple of very good draws for Tejas and Charukgan (Kent and Barnet respectively), then a win for Bhramav and finally a superb win for our top board, Giulio, against the Sussex top board.  A total of 8 points was not bad and left us in a three way tie for 10th place with our friends from Cambridgeshire and the host team.

Round two sadly started in a similar way to round one with a quick win for Rishi followed by five losses.  This time however there would only be three more losses with excellent draws for Scott, Giulio, Tristan and Tejas against strong opposition, plus good wins for Jamie, William, Charukgan, Ruhaab, Findlay, Anum and finally after an hour and half, our board 12 Laksham playing another Somerset player (well done to both players for being very nearly the last players in the room!) So 10 points scored to consolidate 10th place on our own.

Final round and a complete change with three very quick wins in the first twenty minutes.  Then a slump with tiring players letting points slip away and only the odd scoring result.  Then a nice draw for Matthew, followed by a win for Charukgan and then a long wait for Bhramav to win, followed finally by Giulio with a draw against Notts.  A score of 9.5 gave us a total of 27.5 points and 10th place (only a half point behind Somerset). 

This was a good performance by the Essex team.  Outstanding players of the day were Giulio and Charkugan who were consistently strong against much higher graded players. It should be noted that the nature of the draw means that some players had much harder opponents than others, especially on the lower boards and in some cases would only have had a realistic chance in one of their three games.  I was very pleased with the enthusiasm and team spirit shown by the kids throughout the day.

Full result is at

Thanks to Siddharth and Srikanth for being the team’s board stewards and for being very supportive throughout the day.  Also thanks to all the other families and supporters for their encouragement and support.  Thanks also to our kit manager Anne.

Thanks to Ray Sayers and the Bucks Youth Chess Association for running the competition – especially the car parking stewards who had to work very hard - and to our (very loud when necessary) Chief Arbiter Peter Purland and our results controller.   Finally congratulations to Barnet on winning the day and commiserations to Kent on just getting pipped at the post.

Mark McCallum (Team Manager)