The Welsh Girls’ Championships were held at their customary venue of Inglefield House in Monmouth on 11th January. As usual entry numbers meant combining some age groups. The combined U14/U12 was strong with 6 of the 7 girls all able to beat each other on a good day. Emily Wang’s draw with Shayanna Sivarajasingam in the first round had a significant effect on events as this left Shayanna for the whole event having to play catch up with Stephanie du Toit. The crunch came in round 4 when these two played. Shayanna missed her chance to win in a K+P ending, with the resulting draw leaving Stephanie an easy road to the title. Aishwarya Lutchman Singh was the unlucky U12 who had to play up to Shayanna in the last round - the only one of the top three U12s to play both U14s, though a win for her would have meant she would have won the U12 title outright. As it was she lost, allowing Emily Wang and Neya Govindaraj to overtake her.
The U11s and U10s were straightforward affairs for the winners, Susanna Fraser – ahead of Evie Hurn, and Venetia Sivarajasingam – ahead of Madeleine Smith. Fay Russell was also a convincing winner with 5/5 in the U8s which gave a number of players their first taste of competitive chess.
The other very competitive age group was the U9s. Here there were 5 girls, so each scored a point from a bye, but there were two outstanding players Anna Boyle and Hiya Ray. These were kept apart till the last round, where eventually mutual respect brought a drawn result, and a shared title.
My thanks to Olivia Smith, Megan Richards and Kevin Thomas for their help on the day; to Mrs Phillips, the head, for allowing us use of the school; to parents for getting their daughters to participate in the event, and to the players for being so well organised and co-operative on the day.
Stephanie du Toit 4.5 (U14 Champion) with Olivia Smith
Neya Govindaraj, Emily Wang 3 (U12 Champions) and Aishwarya Lutchman Singh (3rd)
Susanna Fraser (U11 Champion), Evie Hurn (2nd) and Beth Bradfield and Asha Sparks (joint 3rd)
Venetia Sivarajasingam (U10 Champion), Madeleine Smith (2nd), and Nayana Kalavala and Nandini Prasad (3rd equal)
Hiya Ray & Anna Boyle (U9 joint champions), Aneshka Walker and Joanna Anjos (3rd equal)
Fay Russell (U8 Champion), Akshara Nagaruru (2nd), Xanthe Harris (3rd)
John Thornton (arbiter)