EPSCA Inter-Association Championship 2016 UNDER 11s – East Zone

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The Essex Under 11s played in the EPSCA Under 11 East Zone at Orleans Park School in Twickenham on 19th March.  The other teams involved were Barnet, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Newham, Northamptonshire, Richmond, and Suffolk.

Having decided to override my sat nav and taken the longer way round (less traffic lights!) to Twickenham via the M25/M4 route I was pleased to be almost at the venue with plenty of time to spare when my mobile starts ringing - a parent calling to say he had been stationary on the North Circular for 45 minutes!  Arrive at the venue 10 minutes later – and with a number of messages from parents in a similar position.  Forget all the usual preparation – were Essex going to have a team?!?

Lots of phone calls, organisers sympathetic but could only delay slightly, missed most of Vince Cable opening speech (sorry!).  Upshot was most made it, however two players unable to get to venue (completely stuck) and three players were going to be arriving after the start of round one.  Regig the team sheet, hand out the board numbers, deep breath, down to start.  Think I have everyone in right place, out to see where my missing players are!  Oh dear Ayub who was expecting to be a reserve had missed that he was now board 20 – apparently took some persuading that he needed to be on a different table – thankfully didn’t put him off too much as he won his game.  Lakshan made it 20 minutes after the start.  Sadly Tejas didn’t and we had to default his game (apologise to his opponent).  Sebastian arrived just after 1pm (well done mum), and Tejas about 1-15pm (well done dad).

In the circumstances 8/20 (with one default) was a good return with good wins for Charukgan and Fraser.  However 7th in the team standing was not going to be good enough to get to the final (top 6 place needed).

Round two with a full team and a reserve!  Good wins for the Papena boys, Findlay and Scott. A move up the table with 9.5/20?  Actually our opponents have other ideas.  We are now equal 6th with Northants and one point behind Cambridgeshire.  Last round is going to be fun!

Last round!  Three quick wins settles the manager’s nerves a little, then a loss, then Tejas comes in with a surprise quick win against Barnet.  Then things start to get difficult with a string of losses, punctuated by good wins for Dio and Abbey, plus a draw for Rory.  Several looks at the results sheet shows that Northants are also struggling.  Finally, on the hour Lakshan comes up with the win to confirm we have qualified – phew!  Final round score – 8.5, overall 26 points.  Commiserations to Northants – you certainly pushed us!

Bizarre moment of the day – Sebastian telling me he had played a Barnet player in his reserve game in round two and played the same player as board 19 in round three.

Special mentions to Giulio who had the unenviable task of playing on top board against some very strong players and gave a very good account of himself, and also the Bromelows who had a very frustrating day in their car and no chess at all.

Thanks to our volunteer board stewards – Srikanth, Siddharth and David.  Thanks to our scribe Margherita.  Thanks to our kit manager Anne.  Finally thanks to all the parents for your support throughout the day and the players who just got on with it.

Full result at 2016 EPSCA U11 Zone East

See you in the final!

Mark McCallum

Under 11 Team Manager