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The European Youth Chess Championships are being held in Prague.
The players are : U16 Open: Tom Thorpe; U14 Open: Nicholas Evans, Rhys Bennett, Owen Bennett; U12 Open: James Evans, Jamie Bell-Thomas, Daniel Siromani; U10 Open: Arjan Bolina; U08 Open: Amrit Bolina; U12 Girls: Imogen Camp; U10 Girls: Stephanie du Toit
The Head of Delegation is Andrew Camp and they are accompanied by 2 coaches IM Adam Hunt and Sabrina Chevannes.
Final report added
|137||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||WLS||0||½||0||0||1||0||0||1||0||2.5||134||B14|
|47||Du Toit Stephanie||0||WLS||0||1||0||1||1||0||0||½||1||4.5||48||G10|
|68||Camp Imogen A L||0||WLS||0||½||1||0||0||1||½||0||½||3.5||80||G12|
Final Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delegation
Welsh Juniors completed their games at the European Youth Championships with a superb last round where we scored six points. A bye for Amrit plus wins for James, Jamie, Rhys and Stephanie and draws for Imogen and Arjan gave Wales its most successful round of the tournament.
It marked the end of a wonderful week full of high team spirit, great work ethic and a real desire from the juniors to perform at the highest level possible against extremely tough opponents.
For my part, I believe they exceeded all expectations. Each player played well above their previous level, benefitting from the exceptional coaching from Sabrina and Adam. They probably don’t realise it yet but once all that coaching and experience from their games settles in their minds, their chess ability is going to leap forward and I predict a highly successful domestic chess season from all of them this year.
The week was full of successes, not just on the 64 squares. The coaches, as mentioned before were truly wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble and they put in far more hours than we expected from them. Their natural ability to get the best focus from the juniors was inspirational and Wales should do everything possible to gain their services again in the future. The parents were incredibly supportive and helpful and I have made a friend in every single one of them. Seeing their faces as they saw their children responding to the coaching was fantastic – Wales could not have wished for a more supportive and helpful set of families. We also made a good friend in Bill Harle, who was on the Appeals Committee. We welcomed his frequent visits to the ‘camp’ and his words of encouragement.
It was an honour to be the Chief of Delegation for Wales at these championships and it is an honour to be part of Junior Chess in Wales. There are more bright times ahead. I would like to end by thanking most of all the players who have humbled, inspired and delighted me throughout the tournament.
See you all soon
August 25th ~ Round 9
|9||39||27||WLS||Bolina Amrit||0||0||1 -||bye|
|9||60||116||CZE||Pravda Krystof||0||2½||1/2 - 1/2||2½||Bolina Arjan||0||WLS|
|9||70||111||CZE||Filip Tomas||1565||2½||1 - 0||2½||Siromani Daniel||0||WLS|
|9||72||151||CYP||Vorkas Antreas||0||2||0 - 1||2||Evans James||0||WLS|
|9||74||124||TUR||Borekcioglu Yusuf||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Bell-Thomas James||0||WLS|
|9||62||134||WLS||Bennett Owen||0||2½||0 - 1||2½||Jablonicky Martin||1858||SVK|
|9||64||135||WLS||Bennett Rhys||0||2½||1 - 0||2½||Manfroi Andrea||1786||ITA|
|9||66||120||CZE||Cesenek Jan||1736||2½||1 - 0||2½||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||WLS|
|9||50||101||CZE||Melichar Vojtech||1737||2½||1 - 0||2½||Thorpe Thomas||1829||WLS|
|9||31||47||WLS||Du Toit Stephanie||0||3½||1 - 0||3½||Moenster Madita||0||GER|
|9||40||68||WLS||Camp Imogen A L||0||3||1/2 - 1/2||3||Zhemchuzhina Elizaveta||0||RUS|
August 24th ~ Round 8
|8||39||WLS||Bolina Amrit||0||0||0 - 1||1||Svanda Adam||0||CZE||67|
|8||53||WLS||Bolina Arjan||0||2½||0 - 1||2½||Melnik Fedor||0||RUS||105|
|8||73||WLS||Bell-Thomas James||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Hoac Edvin||0||SWE||134|
|8||74||WLS||Siromani Daniel||0||1½||1 - 0||1½||Borekcioglu Yusuf||0||TUR||124|
|8||76||WLS||Evans James||0||1||1 -||bye|
|8||60||FIN||Valkama Eero||1827||2½||1 - 0||2½||Bennett Owen||0||WLS||134|
|8||68||WLS||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||1½||1 - 0||1½||Ucles Lirola Moises||1857||ESP||97|
|8||71||WLS||Bennett Rhys||0||1½||1 -||bye|
|8||52||WLS||Thorpe Thomas||1829||2||1/2 - 1/2||2||Abdulla Nihad||0||SCO||105|
|8||31||ISR||Ostrin Anat||0||3||1/2 - 1/2||3||Du Toit Stephanie||0||WLS||47|
|8||32||GER||Waechter Nathalie||1650||3||1 - 0||3||Camp Imogen A L||0||WLS||68|
August 23rd ~ Round 7
|7||39||47||FIN||Maki-Uuro Tuure||0||½||1 - 0||0||Bolina Amrit||0||WLS||27|
|7||63||118||SCO||Richmond Liam||0||1||0 - 1||1½||Bolina Arjan||0||WLS||72|
|7||67||79||CZE||Parizek Vojtech||1737||1½||1 - 0||1½||Bell-Thomas James||0||WLS||123|
|7||71||101||TUR||Khmelev Mikhail||1646||1||1 - 0||1½||Siromani Daniel||0||WLS||147|
|7||75||129||WLS||Evans James||0||1||0 - 1||1||Onal Ozan||0||TUR||142|
|7||63||134||WLS||Bennett Owen||0||2||1/2 - 1/2||2||Ramacker Quinten||1805||BEL||107|
|7||66||125||CZE||Bares Jachym||1684||1½||0 - 1||1½||Bennett Rhys||0||WLS||135|
|7||67||123||CZE||Svoboda Filip||1706||1||1 - 0||1½||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||WLS||137|
|7||43||47||CZE||Cap Adam||2074||2||1 - 0||2||Thorpe Thomas||1829||WLS||94|
|7||25||47||WLS||Du Toit Stephanie||0||3||0 - 1||3||Tomczak Marta||0||POL||86|
|7||39||68||WLS||Camp Imogen A L||0||2½||1/2 - 1/2||2½||Misiuk Karolina||0||LTU||83|
Round Seven Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
After several rounds where Wales had been improving their score, Round Seven was somewhat of a damp squid with only two points being scored in total.
Arjan Bolina was our Player of the Day after he won his second game in a row, taking him to 2.5 points. His game was an absolute gem as he systematically prized open his opponent’s position before delivering a fantastic set of moves leading to the inevitable resignation.
Imogen Camp scored a safe draw in her game. It was a good display of chess without any fireworks and makes her the joint top Welsh scorer now with Stephanie du Toit on three points.
Owen Bennett continued his fine run of form with a decent draw in his game. He was playing for almost five hours again (as was his brother, Rhys). The intellectual stamina of these boys is inspiring.
I’d like to use the remainder of this report to say some things about our coaches, IM Adam Hunt and WFM Sabrina Chevannes. Quite simply, they have been magnificent. The coaching is inspiring and our players (and parents) have learned so much. Nothing is too much trouble for Adam and Sabrina and their knowledge of the game, their wonderful skills in communication and sheer dedication to their pupils is a joy to see. No words of thanks can be enough to communicate our gratitude at what they have done this week. I sincerely hope that Wales can use them again.
August 22nd ~ Round 6
|6||38||27||WLS||Bolina Amrit||0||0||0 - 1||1||Mukhamedzarifov Ilya||0||RUS||50|
|6||65||72||WLS||Bolina Arjan||0||½||1 - 0||½||Khobeliya Luka||0||RUS||90|
|6||61||123||WLS||Bell-Thomas James||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Akhundov Shamshad||1741||AZE||76|
|6||65||147||WLS||Siromani Daniel||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Sofiychuk Anatoly||1682||UKR||93|
|6||75||124||TUR||Borekcioglu Yusuf||0||½||0 - 1||0||Evans James||0||WLS||129|
|6||55||76||BEL||Tuerlinckx Ben||1938||2||1 - 0||2||Bennett Owen||0||WLS||134|
|6||62||137||WLS||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Kula Dominik||1794||CZE||108|
|6||70||135||WLS||Bennett Rhys||0||½||1 - 0||½||Spiridonov Mikhail||1720||RUS||121|
|6||53||94||WLS||Thorpe Thomas||1829||1||1 - 0||1||Chalabi Max||1680||LUX||103|
|6||19||71||CZE||Richterova Julie||0||3||1 - 0||3||Du Toit Stephanie||0||WLS||47|
|6||42||85||IRL||Ni Mhuireagain Eibhia||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Camp Imogen A L||0||WLS||68|
Round Six Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
It was expected...it was demanded. And so he delivered. Our first congratulations today go to Tom Thorpe who achieved his first win in the tournament. It was truly well-deserved and should be the springboard for more in the final three rounds later this week.
However, Tom was not the first to gain his first win. In what proved to be the most successful day for Wales so far at this event, we were first of all delighted by Arjan Bolina’s reasonably early exit from the tournament hall. Delighted of course because he completely destroyed his opponent yesterday with a truly mature display of attacking chess. I’ve known Arjan for about three years now but had never up until now seen his smile so wide.
Next out was James Evans who ran into our coaching area with uncontrolled excitement as he announced he’d finally secured his first win. James has played really well all week and he was understandably very low yesterday as he was still waiting for his first full point. Twenty-four hours later though and you can feel his (and Dad’s) relief and joy dominating the hotel. James played outstandingly well and can now enjoy the rest of the event and continue to play good chess.
But there is more to come. Clearly annoyed that he was lagging behind his brother in the point-scoring stakes, Rhys Bennett produced for me, the game of the day as he ripped his opponent apart so finally get his first win. I was able to view his game three or four times during the afternoon and each time, his position had improved. Rhys’ endgame technique was near-perfect and we were all delighted to share in his celebration.
So four players all secured their first wins but this was still not all. Imogen Camp scored her second win of the tournament with a very good win against her Evans Gambit playing opponent. Imogen was able to play the entire game with her extra-pawn and her decent piece-positioning and a good eye for tactics meant the point was coming her way.
Well done guys. Every single round this week, we have been able to score more than in the previous. Same again Round 7, please.
August 21st ~ Round 5
|5||38||78||BIH||Vuksan Nemanja||0||½||1 - 0||0||Bolina Amrit||0||WLS|
|5||63||95||RUS||Kuzin Dmitriy||0||½||1 - 0||½||Bolina Arjan||0||WLS|
|5||60||55||HUN||Toth Tamas||1826||1||1/2 - 1/2||1||Bell-Thomas James||0||WLS|
|5||68||109||CZE||Pilch David||1603||1||1/2 - 1/2||1||Siromani Daniel||0||WLS|
|5||75||111||CZE||Filip Tomas||1565||0||1 - 0||0||Evans James||0||WLS|
|5||63||134||WLS||Bennett Owen||0||1||1 - 0||1||Ucles Lirola Moises||1857||ESP|
|5||69||121||RUS||Spiridonov Mikhail||1720||½||0 - 1||½||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||WLS|
|5||70||118||ISL||Thorgeirsson Jon Kristinn||1747||0||1 - 0||½||Bennett Rhys||0||WLS|
|5||52||111||BIH||Sesar Dario||0||1||1/2 - 1/2||½||Thorpe Thomas||1829||WLS|
|5||27||47||WLS||Du Toit Stephanie||0||2||1 - 0||2||Smbatyan Kristine||0||ARM|
|5||36||68||WLS||Camp Imogen A L||0||1½||0 - 1||1½||Steele Beatrice||0||ENG|
Round Five Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
...and on the fifth day, the dragon did open its mouth and began to roar...
Round Five proved to be our most successful round so far with the team collectively scoring four and a half points.
First to score was Jamie Bell-Thomas who followed up his win yesterday with a fine draw against a FIDE rated player. Confidence is evidently sky-high at the moment and I would not like to be his opponent tomorrow.
Next out was Nicholas Evans having secured his first win of the tournament. It was an outstanding performance and given his determined look when he entered the playing hall at three o’clock, few were in doubt as to what the result of his game would be.
Stephanie du Toit is on fire right now and secured her second win in a row and her third of the week with relative ease. A top ten finish could well be on the cards for this young lady if she keeps this up.
A third win for the team was secured by Owen Bennett, clearly itching to play after his forced bye yesterday. This was for me, the performance of the day and Owen tied up his opponent in knots causing him to lose stacks of time. This added pressure coupled with Owen’s brutal play led to a most deserved win.
Tom Thorpe was second to last out after over four and a half hours of play and he secured a draw against another top-class opponent. Tom’s first win WILL come tomorrow – I predict it...I demand it!
Last but not least, Daniel Siromani, the last player standing this round for Wales, emerged from his playing hall after almost five hours of play having secured a superb draw from what appeared to be a clearly lost endgame. This was a fantastic result for Daniel and the team and will give him the confidence to press on in the final four rounds and hopefully pick up more points on the way.
The dragon is roaring, players. Now, keep feeding him.
August 20th ~ Round 4
|4||63||CZE||Skypala Ondrej||0||0||1 - 0||0||Bolina Amrit||0||WLS||27|
|4||72||WLS||Bolina Arjan||0||0||1/2 - 1/2||½||Svanda Ondrej||0||CZE||127|
|4||147||WLS||Siromani Daniel||0||1||0 - 1||1||Mestnikov Aital||1719||RUS||89|
|4||123||WLS||Bell-Thomas James||0||0||1 - 0||0||Filip Tomas||1565||CZE||111|
|4||129||WLS||Evans James||0||0||0 - 1||0||Horvath Tomas||1489||CZE||117|
|4||135||WLS||Bennett Rhys||0||½||0 - 1||½||Vangsgaard Bjarke||1780||DEN||112|
|4||137||WLS||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||½||0 - 1||0||Mamedov Elmin||2105||RUS||28|
|4||134||WLS||Bennett Owen||0||0||1 -||bye|
|4||94||WLS||Thorpe Thomas||1829||½||0 - 1||½||Popov Kirill||2037||RUS||59|
|4||75||ROU||Schiopu Andreea-Alexandra||0||1||0 - 1||1||Du Toit Stephanie||0||WLS||47|
|4||28||SVK||Vrtiakova Anna||1677||1½||1 - 0||1½||Camp Imogen A L||0||WLS||68|
Round Four Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
Our huge congratulations today go to Jamie Bell-Thomas who became our first boy to gain a win at this event. Jamie played extremely well throughout his game and soon had his opponent on the ropes. Jamie had no intention of letting go and secured the win in double-quick time. This is a superb result and hopefully will give Jamie some much needed confidence to go forward this week and secure more points.
Fantastic news followed soon afterwards as Stephanie Du Toit secured her second win of the tournament to take her to two out of four and made her the current highest scoring Welsh player. Stephanie had some great preparation from Coach Sabrina in the morning and put it to great use in her game. There is much more to come, I’m sure.
Finally, we are very pleased to announce that Arjan Bolina in the Under 10 Boys section has secured his first draw and got himself on the scoreboard. As mentioned before, it is a mystery how someone who is playing so well, could have had zero after three rounds but now that is in the past and Arjan’s can be very pleased with his result yesterday and no doubt his confidence will have shot up. We look forward to more points over the next few days.
August 19th ~ Round 3
|3||27||WLS||Bolina Amrit||0||0||0 - 1||0||Slivka David||0||SVK||64|
|3||93||CZE||Korinek Vojtech||0||0||1 - 0||0||Bolina Arjan||0||WLS||72|
|3||102||CZE||Havelka Ondrej||1644||0||1 - 0||0||Bell-Thomas James||0||WLS||123|
|3||129||WLS||Evans James||0||0||0 - 1||0||Wyczling Bartosz||1616||POL||108|
|3||147||WLS||Siromani Daniel||0||0||1 -||bye|
|3||78||RUS||Zubkov Vsevolod||1928||½||1 - 0||½||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||WLS||137|
|3||101||AZE||Abbasov Zaur||1839||0||1 - 0||0||Bennett Owen||0||WLS||134|
|3||102||TUR||Bulgurlu Okan||1839||0||1/2 - 1/2||0||Bennett Rhys||0||WLS||135|
|3||63||CZE||Hrdina Robin||2024||½||1 - 0||½||Thorpe Thomas||1829||WLS||94|
|3||47||WLS||Du Toit Stephanie||0||1||0 - 1||1||Goltseva Ekaterina||1761||RUS||2|
|3||68||WLS||Camp Imogen A L||0||½||1 - 0||½||Vukanic Emilija||0||MNE||97|
Round Three Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
With Daniel Siromani getting a bye today, we had ten players all sitting eagerly at the board come the start of play. It was another gruelling set of pairings – as I have told the players, it could take three, four or even five rounds before they truly find their level.
However, an outstanding win by Imogen Camp soon raised our spirits again. It was a triumph of preparation as early morning research showed that her opponent favoured a closed-Sicilian opening against 1. e4. Imogen’s published games show that she’s only been playing 1.d4 recently, so we opted for the change, knowing that her opponent would have been preparing against 1.d4 all morning. The second shock that Imogen delivered came on move to where she chose the Smith-Morra Gambit. The next fifteen or so moves then went like a dream – just as we had prepared and before long, she had a winning position which she was able to hold until the end of the game when she secured the point, taking her to 1.5 points altogether, and 50%.
Our only other score this round was a well-deserved draw by Rhys Bennett. Rhys has been playing extremely well this week and deserves a much higher score. I was able to visit his board several times during his game and each time, it looked like he’d improved his position. Owen Bennett also had excellent chances in his game but with both players needing to make several moves in a frantic time-scramble to make the control, something had to give and sadly, Owen let his Bishop slip and an inevitable loss follows. Owen though is still playing well above his current WCU grade and points are sure to follow.
Nicholas and James Evans are both rightly disappointed with their losses today. Both played very good openings and middle-games but just ran out of steam towards the end. Again, both players are playing well-above their level in this incredibly strong and deep event.
Stephanie Du Toit was paired against the second seed (she had the top seed in Round One) and fought valiantly. Post-game analysis shows that she was unlucky to score in this game (as in Round One). It’s a fine line between win, draw and lose in chess and before long, Stephanie is going to be beating such high-rated opponents.
Jamie Bell-Thomas played a little more quickly yesterday than he had been and will be looking to get back to how he was at the start of the tournament when he was using his clock better.
Tom Thorpe continues to lead and support our team wonderfully. He keeps finding himself paired with players rated over 2000 but he is taking them to the wire. His leadership skills though particularly impress and when are younger players come out of the games disappointed, he is there immediately to comfort and cheer them up.
How Arjan Bolina is still on zero is the biggest mystery of this tournament so far. He is playing well above his grade but is just letting the odd mistake slip in. In his school and club games, these mistakes rarely go punished but here, no chance. Again, points are on their way for this young man. Arjan’s younger brother Amrit is working hard to play more slowly and is benefitting enormously from the coaching and by just being with the team. It’s worth noting that Amrit still has two more years ahead of him playing in Under 8 sections.
August 18th ~ Round 2
|2||62||GER||Schade Johannes||0||0||1 - 0||0||Bolina Amrit||0||WLS||27|
|2||72||WLS||Bolina Arjan||0||0||0 - 1||0||Ocko Dominik||0||CZE||111|
|2||70||CZE||Pulpan Matej||1769||0||1 - 0||0||Bell-Thomas James||0||WLS||123|
|2||82||CZE||Wagner Vojtech||1734||0||1 - 0||0||Evans James||0||WLS||129|
|2||98||TUR||Sayin Atakan||1661||0||1 - 0||0||Siromani Daniel||0||WLS||147|
|2||91||ESP||Guerra Arrocha Daniel||1872||0||1 - 0||0||Bennett Owen||0||WLS||134|
|2||135||WLS||Bennett Rhys||0||0||0 - 1||0||Balaji Ananthanarayanan||1859||ENG||94|
|2||137||WLS||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||0||1/2 - 1/2||0||Gavrilov Mikhail||1857||RUS||96|
|2||94||WLS||Thorpe Tom||1829||0||1/2 - 1/2||0||Brenner Stav||2034||ISR||61|
|2||47||WLS||Du Toit Stephanie||0||0||1 - 0||0||Santeramo Claudia||0||ITA||73|
|2||95||CZE||Vitova Anna||0||0||1/2 - 1/2||0||Camp Imogen A L||0||WLS||68|
Round Two Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
After scoring a blank in Round One, Wales finally got off the mark on the second day. Two and a half points were scored altogether with Stephanie Du Toit starting the scoring in fine style with a brutal win over her opponent. Clearly she was being made to pay for Stephanie’s blunder which cost her at least half a point the day before. Let’s hope Steph is in the mood to continue punishing her opponents throughout the week. There is certainly nobody she needs to fear in her section.
Tom Thorpe was the next player to score as he gained a very creditable draw against a highly-rated opponent. The game last less than the stipulated 40 moves needed in order to claim a draw but a three-fold repetition catered for that.
Next up to score for Wales was Nicholas Evans in the highly competitive Under 14 section. This was an excellent result and I was pleased to see some excellent defensive play whenever I looked at his board.
Our final scorer of the day was Imogen Camp who snatched a draw away from the jaws of victory in her game against Anna Vitova. Imogen played a very good game throughout and had the game won until the last move in the endgame which sadly gave her opponent a clearly drawn position. Imogen needs to work on those endgames.
The rest of our party all fought well in their losses. Arjan Bolina was in an excellent position with a decent, viable plan before getting ahead of himself and blundering a major piece. Brothers Owen and Rhys Bennett both had their usual grinds before succumbing to much higher-rated opponents – the Under 14 section truly is a tough one.
Six year old Amrit played a nice opening but got caught in a trap soon after. It’s good though to see the usual smile on his face though when he’s playing. James Evans looked to be in a good position in various stages of his game but was unable to convert. Daniel Simorani was actually material up in his game but missed an opponent’s fork which put paid to his chances. Finally, Jamie Bell-Thomas lost but continued to show his new maturity at the board having just 28 minutes left at the end – far less than we’ve been used to in the past.
Round Three sees Daniel getting a bye, most of the others getting unrated opponents but our Under 14s once again getting tough pairings. There are certainly no hiding places in this event.
August 17th ~ Round 1:
There should be live coverage of the top 10 ten boards of each section (STARTS 2PM OUR TIME). See Stephanie and Arjan in the Under 10 section today
|1||27||WLS||Bolina Amrit||0||0||0 - 1||0||Stroe Flavius-Gabriel||0||ROU|
|1||5||UKR||CM||Shevchenko Kirill||1946||0||1 - 0||0||Bolina Arjan||0||WLS|
|1||123||WLS||Bell-Thomas James||0||0||0 - 1||0||Brejnik Gustav||1846||CZE|
|1||129||WLS||Evans James||0||0||0 - 1||0||Hakobyan Aram||1833||ARM|
|1||147||WLS||Siromani Daniel||0||0||0 - 1||0||Cannesar Rad||1754||TUR|
|1||134||WLS||Bennett Owen||0||0||0 - 1||0||Murphy Conor E||1976||ENG|
|1||65||CZE||Marek Matyas||1975||0||1 - 0||0||Bennett Rhys||0||WLS|
|1||67||ISR||Striechman Orri||1969||0||1 - 0||0||Evans Nicholas Thomas||0||WLS|
|1||39||CZE||Mikes Jan||2125||0||1 - 0||0||Thorpe Thomas||1829||WLS|
|1||1||RUS||Tryapitsyna Maria||1841||0||1 - 0||0||Du Toit Stephanie||0||WLS|
|1||68||WLS||Camp Imogen A L||0||0||0 - 1||0||Di Benedetto Desiree||1751||ITA|
Round One Report from Andrew Camp ~ Head of Delelgation
We arrived assuming that this would be a very tough tournament and we were right. At first reading, a score of 0/11 from our players does look disappointing but this does not even come close to telling the complete story. All but one of our players do not have a FIDE rating which means that in Round One, they were all but guaranteed to face a rated opponent. But that is not all. The rules of this tournament mean that once they have listed the rated players in order of rating, their opponents are assigned alphabetically. In our party we have a Bell-Thomas, two Bennetts, two Bolinas, a Camp, a Du Toits and two Evans. This meant that our players were paired with very highly-rated players. And didn’t they put up a fight.
There were many highlights from this round despite the score. Player of the round was surely Stephanie Du Toit, who was paired with the top seed and had the black pieces. She also had the thrill of playing on the live boards meaning we could huddle around my laptop in the foyer and scrutinize her every move. It was a joy to watch as she matched her opponent move for move and gave Fritz 12, my silicon friend much to smile about. These wonderful efforts though took their toll and a disastrous move which left her Bishop en-prise as she approached endgame put an end to her fantastic challenge. She was distraught of course but team spirit is very high in the Welsh camp and she was welcomed back like the heroine she is. I think we can expect several points from our Under 10 British Champion.
There were other commendable performances from Arjan Bolina who met his highly rated player with aggression attempting a Bishop sacrifice in order to weaken the enemy King. It proved to be unsound in the end but it caused some problems and he fought well to try and regain the advantage.
Imogen Camp was winning in her game but struggled with the time-control leaving her with too many moves to make which in turn led to a disappointing blunder to give her relieved opponent the win.
Grinders, Owen and Rhys Bennett played their usual solid games and were among the last to finish. Both boys are clearly on a high after their Robinson Cup win recently and I envisage some good results ahead. High praise also goes to James and Nick Evans and also James Bell-Thomas who showed that they could dig in and fight when things get tough. It was really good to see them all still in the Halls after three hours of play. This is clearly an area that Mr Bell-Thomas has worked on and it is very encouraging to see him using his clock so well.
Last but not least, Amrit Bolina, our six year old warrior, Daniel Sirimoni and Tom Thorpe all played with style against their rated-opponents and can all look forward to the rest of the tournament with optimism.
I believe the event holds much promise for Wales and the arrival of our coaches Sabrina and Adam will do much to bolster our players. They are disappointed but enthused. Their team spirit is high and they will each other on. Our parents our extremely supportive, the hotel and organisers are very efficient and new friends are being made.
I look forward to a rewarding week for Welsh Junior Chess.