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Reports on the British Junior Chess Championship
Report of Week 1 from Tim Kett :
The British Championships are becoming a happy hunting ground in recent years for a growing band of young Welsh chessplayers and we hope this excellent trend will continue in years to come. In 2011 in Sheffield we returned with 3 British titles - and I set off last week on the long journey to Newcastle (with three more youngsters about to make their debut in the back seat) full of hope and confidence …...
While the main Championship events themselves stretch over the full two weeks, for juniors the schedule can basically be divided into 3 parts i.e.
Week 1 – U16, U13 and U11
Middle Weekend – U8 and U9’s
Week 2 – U14, U12 and U10
Week 1 :
The biggest highlight was Tom Thorpe’s joint 4th place in the U16’s. Tom was in tremendous form - he stayed unbeaten throughout scoring 4.5/7. Five draws might sound a bit cautious (!) but I can vouch that he was definitely going for it in the last 2 - 3 rounds ! He beat the no.1 seed early on in the week and was always playing the other top contenders after that. His last round game could have gone either way – and if it had gone his, then he’d have been in the medals. Unlucky – but he can look forward to gaining a load of rating points.
The Middle Weekend:
Two of the best-supported age-group categories are the U8’s and U9’s …. this year there were around 45 in each section.
Wales had 4 players in the Under 8’s, and recorded the following scores:
9th= Blake Fisher (4.0/6)
14th= Chirag Guha (3.5)
19th= Venetia Sivarajasingham (3.0)
30th= Duncan MacDonald (2.0)
Congratulations to all, but especially Blake and Chirag – both debutants at this level. They adapted very quickly to the idea of a tough battle every round (no easy games at this level !) and soon began listening harder to their coaches advice, learning their openings and digging in for a long fight every time they sat down. The improvement in their play was clear in just the 72 hours they were up there.
In the U9’s we had an even more impressive 7 entries
=8th Arjan Bolina (4.5/7)
=14th Aishwarya Lutchman-Singh & Blake Fisher (4.0)
=21st Neya Govindaraj (3.5)
=28th Chirag Guha (3.0)
=34th Venetia Sivarajasingham & Duncan MacDonald (2.5)
=43rd Emily Wang (1.5)
Terrific performances here from Arjan and Aishwarya. Arjan was top Welsh player and really looked like our No.1 too, with his very correct and alert play. He only made a few small mistakes and was especially eager to detect and correct them in the post-game analysis with the coach.
Aishwarya made a valiant defence of her ‘title’ (she was U8 Girls Champion last year) and played brave and spectacular attacking chess to reach an excellent 4/6 in this company. Unfortunately it was a bridge too far in the last round and she was overtaken by one of her rivals after a long battle.
Blake and Neya also deserve a mention, the former for his continued improvement (I’m still hoping to publish his last round effort – perhaps even a candidate for Best Game Prize) and the latter for another steady effort and a well-deserved 50% in a very tough field.
|U9 Boys and Tim||Under 9 Girls|
Photos from Ed Wang
30th July 2012
Week 2 Report from Audrey Yong ~ Publicity Director :
After an exciting week 1 and weekend with the U8s, U9s and U16s, it was the turn of the Welsh U10s and U12s to pitch their chess play against the best juniors in the country.
There were 44 players in the U10 category, including our very own 2011 U9 and U8 British Girls Champions, Stephanie du Toit and Aishwarya Lutchman-Singh. Also competing in this section were Karanvir Lutchman-Singh, Michael Burger, Shayanna Sivarajasingam and Venetia Sivarajasingam – all hoping to gain valuable long play experience for the WYCC in November. Joining them were Neya Govinderaj and Emily Wang.
The girls’ title was particularly hard fought this year and, due to the vagaries of the draw, at the end of round 6, Stephanie was on 4/6 but could be caught by one girl on 3.5/6 and three girls on 3/6 including Aishwarya. Stephanie was upfloated to an ECF 141 (Elo 1778) in the final round but played a solid game to draw and was crowned British Girls U10 Champion! She was also awarded the Roy Clues Trophy for best Welsh performance.
Stephanie du Toit 4.5/7
Aishwarya Lutchman-Singh 3.5/7
Karanvir Lutchman-Singh 3/7
Shayanna Sivarajasingam 3/7
Neya Govinderaj 2.5/7
Emily Wang 2.5/7
Venetia Sivarajasingam 2.5/7
Michael Burger 2/7
Competing in the U12 category were Alyssa Wang and Imogen Camp. Alyssa in particular had a tough draw due to the use of her old ECF grade for pairings - opponent average graded at ECF 136 (Elo 1738) - but played solid chess, securing some good wins and draws. Going into the final round there were 4 girls tied on 3/6, including Alyssa and Imogen. Unfortunately both girls lost but valuable lessons were learned which should definitely enhance their chess play in the future.
Throughout the whole tournament there was great camaraderie and support, which helped to lift the mood after less than favourable results. Ed was on hand to provide game analysis and one player improved significantly after a poor showing in the U9s by simply following advice to ‘protect your pieces and compete for the centre’.
The final scores do not reflect how close some of the games were and how well our juniors played. Given how young they are and how they have improved even during the course of this tournament, I have no doubt that we are nurturing real chess talent for the future!
Many thanks to the parents for braving the long drive to North Shields. Next year the tournament is in Torquay, a much shorter journey from South Wales (unfortunately still a trek from North Wales) – hopefully we can get an even larger number of juniors to compete!