Good Performance by Under 11s at EPSCA East Zone Qualifier

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The Essex Under 11s played in the EPSCA Under 11 East Zone at Mount Grace School, in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire on 18th March.  The other teams involved were Barnet, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Newham, Northamptonshire, and Richmond. 

Fortunately the travails of travel to last year’s zonal were not repeated and everyone arrived at the proper time which made preparation a lot more straight forward.  The bad news was that with only five to qualify getting into the final would be extremely difficult as none of teams competing would be pushovers.

Nate Weersing made the rash promise of wearing the comedy wig if the team scored a certain number of points and this proved a great incentive as round one got underway with a flurry of quick wins leading to a return of 8/12 in the first 40 minutes. There were particularly good wins for Ayub, Jerry and Mannan against strong opposition.  However as usual with this event several of our higher boards were up against much higher graded opponents and points were very hard to come by from then on, so well done to Lakshan, Ethan and Adhith for doing just that to give us a return of 11/20 which left us in forth place just ahead of Richmond. 

 

Round two started with a couple of quick losses which is always concerning to the manager, however things then picked up with five wins on the trot including good ones for Nina and Max.  Yet again points dried up after the 40 minute mark with wins only for Tomas, Lakshan, Harry and Fraser.  Perhaps the best illustration of the strength of the opponents was Abbey on board 2 playing an opponent with a grade of 174 (‘Ouch!’).  A return of 9/20 meant we had now dropped to fifth place, however we were some way ahead of the next team. The team photo was taken after round two – play spot the wig!

 

Anything can happen in the last round as teams tire!  However the manager’s nerves were quickly soothed with a return of 7/9 in the first half hour, including very good wins for Dominic, Max and Benedict.  And this time the points did not dry up with good wins for Stewart, Harry and Alexander and the only score against the top team Kent with a draw for Jamie. Then wins for Tomas and Adhith again.  Finally our top two boards, Giulio and Abbey, who had been playing for most of the day for little reward came back with two well deserved draws.  The last round score of 13.5 was equal best in the third round to give the team an overall score 33.5 points and fifth place, only three points behind Cambridgeshire who finished in third.  It should also be mentioned that some of the team had games in the reserve tournament and here they also did very well scoring 8.5/12.

 

Thanks to all our volunteer board stewards and thanks to the coaches, parents and supporters and finally thanks to Herts (plus Barnet) for organising the day.

 

Well done to the team for an excellent performance – not everyone scored well, but everyone tried their absolute hardest for the team and played good chess throughout the day… and that is why we are in the final!

 

Full result at 2017 EPSCA U11 Zone East

 

Mark McCallum

Under 11 Team Manager