Lancashire are the new U16 National Champions!
Saturday 10th November 2012 was a special day for Lancashire's U16 players as they put on a great team performance to win the National Youth Chess Association (NYCA) U16 Inter-Association Championships held at Abraham Darby Academy in Telford.
An inexperienced U12 team also did the county proud finishing in a very creditable fourth position, a result which bodes well for the future of Lancashire chess.
Bill O’Rourke had assembled a strong team comprising eight of the county’s best U16 players for the event but was unable to attend himself due to family commitments. This left me with the honorary title of Team Manager for the day which required him to do nothing but keep out of the way – these youngsters don’t need managing once they sit near a chess board!
There isn’t much to report from Round 1 apart from good chess as all Lancashire players won their games, giving a 100% start that no other team could match. A highlight was seeing Judd Bennett checkmate his opponent with Judd’s digital clock showing that he had four seconds left to play.
Round 2 didn’t go quite as well, with three Lancashire players losing their games to give the team 5 points out of the 8 available and allow the other counties back into the contest. On Board 1 Matthew Fanning mistakenly touched the wrong piece against his strong opponent from Yorkshire, turning an equal position into a loss. On Board 5 Judd again ran low on time but couldn’t salvage the game on this occasion and Angelica Fitzpatrick succumbed on Board 8.
The reverses of the previous round only encouraged greater efforts in Round 3, with the team scoring 6½ out of 8. Judd’s game again went to the wire as he grabbed a draw by repetition with 2 seconds remaining but Natalie Cass was unfortunate to lose her game on Board 7. The team’s total of 19½ points left them in the lead but only ½ point clear of second placed team Yorkshire.
Everything hinged on the final round, with a Roses battle between Lancashire and Yorkshire to decide the winner. The draw was such that there was only one game in which a Lancashire player faced a Yorkshire player and this occurred on Board 3, where James Walsh was held to a draw. For a long time both teams remained in the hunt, with a string of wins reported for both. The longer this went on, the more nervous the Team Manager became! However with these players involved, he should have had more confidence. Judd won his last round game with loads of time to spare, Natalie avenged her defeat in the previous round with excellent endgame play, Matthew Fanning and Angelica both won well and Henry Broadley (Board 2), Matthew Walsh (Board 4) and Stephen Chung (Board 6) all notched up their fourth wins of the day. A score of 7½ in the final round secured the title with a grand total of 27 points out of the 32 available.
The final positions were as follows:
The Team Manager was very proud to see the team presented with their trophy and Henry, Matthew and Stephen presented with their shields for scoring 100%. As well as being excellent chess players, these youngsters are all a credit to themselves, their families and their county.Steve Fanning (Honorary Lancashire U16 Team Manager)
|Board||LANCASHIRE U16 TEAM||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Rd 4||Total|
Lancashire fielded a squad of twelve players at the National Youth Chess Association (NYCA) U12 Inter-Association Championships, held at Abraham Darby Academy in Telford on Saturday 10th November 2012.
Comprising five Year 7s, plus seven Year 6s, with only three ECF-graded players overall, this was a very youthful and relatively inexperienced squad. Compensating for this, though, was their tremendous enthusiasm and spirit, which was ultimately to prove far more important than grades!
In round 1, the whole team showed how focused they were for the event. Two players won their games very quickly. After an hour’s play, only seventeen U12 matches were still in progress and, remarkably, all ten of Lancashire’s players were still playing. With just eight matches left in progress, six involved Lancashire’s players. Fantastic concentration by all concerned. At the end of the first round, Lancashire had compiled a very creditable 6½ points from 12 and lay in joint fourth position, in touch with all the leaders.
In rounds 2 and 3, the whole squad raised their game even further. In round 2, Lancashire scored an excellent 8 points from 12, moving up to third position overall. And they did it again in round 3, scoring a further 8 from 12, to consolidate their third position and close to within half a point of second. In virtually all cases, the matches were lengthy and players really focused on taking their time.
The fourth and final round proved to be a step too far, as concentration levels dipped, perhaps understandably after a long day of achievement, and several matches finished much sooner than in previous rounds. Lancashire’s final round score was 4 from 12, which allowed Greater Manchester to overtake us and grab third position. Lancashire finished in fourth position – an outstanding effort by all those involved.
Every player contributed points to the final total and all are to be congratulated. However, special mention must go to Miles Davis, Lancashire’s U12 Player of the Day, with a superb 100% record of 4 wins from 4 games on Board 6; also Naadiya Mohammed, playing her first game for Lancashire on Board 1 and scoring 3 points from 4 against other teams’ strongest players; and Sam Hardwick, who remained unbeaten on Board 12, also on 3 points from 4 – the same score as Samuel Wood on Board 5.
Many thanks to all the parents, without whom these events cannot take place and who braved a COLD team-room, whilst remaining constant in their support and encouragement of the team.
Finally, special thanks to Rachel Cass, who very kindly offered her services as a Coach to all the U12s between rounds, providing invaluable one-to-one feedback and tips to the players. Much appreciated!John Wood (Lancashire U12 Team Manager)
|Board||Player||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|
|7||Teresita Tapia Laing||1||0||1||0||2|
|Team Total After Round||6½||8||8||4|
|Position after Round||4th=||3rd||3rd||4th|
Final Team Positions:
|2.||Cheshire & North Wales||32|