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Welsh Junior Champs (U11-U8) Qualifier

The first qualifier will take place on Saturday 28th September at St John's College, St Mellon's, Cardiff.





Junior Championship changes for 2013/14




1)  We are making some changes to the way the Junior Championships (up to U11) are run for 2013/14. The reasons for this are:


·         To improve the quality of the Championships themselves. To turn them from effectively 'just another Open Swiss' into something really special and which the Champion will have had to work hard for - throughout the season. 


·         At present, because there is a large number of keen young players (which is great), but whose strength is very varied, the championship often consists of 4 or 5 mismatches and only 2 or 3 games between the very top contenders. Luck of the draw can play a large part.


·         Welsh players need to have harder tests and get used to proving themselves in tough circumstances if we are to continue to build on recent improvements in the international arena. We therefore want to turn the Championships into all-play-alls wherever practical so that all games will be hard fought, preparation is encouraged and all players will benefit far more than at present.




2)  Players will qualify for the Championship Final by being the highest placed of their age-group, who has not already qualified, in any one of the qualifying events between Sept 2013 and Feb 2014. 


·         There will be 6 qualifiers, and so the Junior Selection Committee will be required to select the final player or players if 8 are required for the Final. They will make this decision based primarily upon two factors - rating and strong performance in the qualifiers short of ever being top (i.e. near misses).


·         The six qualifiers are:       


·         28th September – St John’s College, St Mellon’s Cardiff


·         19th October – North Wales


·         2nd November – The Old Town Hall, Neath


·         23rd November – The Grange School, Monmouth


·         14th December – Welsh Junior Rapidplay Championships – venue to be arranged


·         1st February – Venue to be decided




3)  Every event is open to all to play in and players from all regions may play in all qualifiers.


·          A very important point we do not want to be missed is this. Everybody can play in every event, including the championship weekend itself.  All players can play in as many or as few qualifying events as they wish. 


·         On the Finals Weekends in March 2014 there will be both an 8-player Championship and a 'Major' or 'Plate' event with its own trophies and prizes and open to all. Even if you have not qualified for the Championship Final or not even played in any qualifier you can still enter the Major and take part in the Finals weekend. 


·         We do feel that if you have not played or done well in any other junior event throughout the season it is not unreasonable to say you have not qualified for the chance to be Welsh Champion (this year).... but of course we still want you to play! Winners of the Major will not be excluded from possible international selection later in the season (and may receive exemption to next years Championship Final?)




4)  Age-groups. 


·         Because the Finals need to be played to the same age-groups as the Qualifiers (under this system) it has been decided to revert to using the school year (i.e. age on 1 Sept not 1 Jan) as the basis for deciding age-groups for all junior events from Sept until March. 


·         The junior committee will meet after that to discuss international representation for the rest of 2014 and will then need to consider everyone based on their age on Jan 1. 




5)  Qualifier sections. 


·         We do not want to make all the Qualifiers sectioned by single-year age-group as that would mean players playing the same opponents all the time. It is good for strong younger players to play older opposition when they are ready. We have decided on a system for this year as follows:


·         U9A - For experienced / strong players up to Year 4


·         U9B - For newer tournament players up to Year 4


·         U11A - For experienced / strong players up to Year 6


·         U11B - For newer tournament players in Y5 and Y6


·         Only the 'A' qualifiers carry Championship Qualifying places, the 'B' events are intended for weaker players to gain experience and confidence against similar opposition.


·         Once a player has qualified for the U8 and/or U9 Final they may enter the U11A Qualifier in future to try to qualify for the U10 or U11 Final too.


·         A player may play in two Finals (max). U8 and U10 will be held on one weekend and U9 and U11 on the other.




5)  U12s and up. 


·         The reason for not extending this system into the High-School ages is because the numbers are usually much lower and these ages are almost all-play-alls and therefore a much tougher test already!  If numbers do increase, however, and the system is successful, we may extend it in future.




6)  Ties. If two (or more) players tie on points then the qualifier will be determined by (in order):


·         (a) Sum of Progressive Scores


·         (b) Adjusted Sum of Opponents' Scores (subtract the lowest)


·         (c) Sonnenborn Berger (Sum of scores of opponents a player beats together with half the score of the players drawn with)


·         (c) Sum of Opponents' Scores


7)  Communication of Progress.


·         As the season progresses the list of Qualifiers will be published on the WCU website.


·         The junior committee will also make all possible effort to get these rules finalised before the first Qualifier on 28 Sept. 


·         As with any new system, there may be unforeseen 'teething' problems but any late additions will only be to cover unclear situations, not to change any of the principles laid out above.






We hope you will understand the desire to drive more improvement in Welsh Junior Chess. Please support this new initiative and help us to further refine it in future with constructive suggestions. 


Junior chess activities are generously supported by a

 grant from the

Welsh Assembly