Junior Congress Calendar

  • 16-Jul (Lancaster)

Lancashire continue to support these NYCA (National Youth Chess Association) events as a means of giving our youth experience of playing against their peers at national level and bringing them to the recognition of national selectors.

Lancashire's u18 team is a little bit of a misnomer, giving the impression of eight players having their last experience of u18 chess; in fact for a good many years the team has been made up of couple of 16 or 17 year olds accompanied by many talented u16's (and younger). This year was no exception, with one nearly 17 year old, many 15 year olds, and even one (very strong!) 10 year old!

Northampton is a bit of a hike but fortunately we had a school minibus with which I was able to drive most of the team, and a parent, down to the event. We arrived in good time and the first round of three, of 45 minutes per player, was under way at 11.30.

A strong first round amassed 4.5 points out of 8 and left us in third place. It was clear Berkshire had a very powerful team in first. We knew Jordan Lewis would have his hands full on board 1, but his loss came right at the end of a strong game. Judd Bennett was up against his eternal opponent of time control and lost out. But we did very well with wins from Matthew Fanning and Matthew Walsh on the top 4 boards, and by scoring 2.5 out of 4 on the bottom four boards, thanks in part to 14 year old Aditya Chakravarty turning out after a last night request to fill a no-show and taking a half point. In fact Aditya was clearly winning but decided he may lose on time if he pushed on the win. There was also a morale boosting win by 10 year old Nugith Jayawarna (who now just happens to be British u10 runner up!).

The second round did not go our way. Despite a very good win for Jordan on board 1, a few games just slipped out of our control and we finished with 3/8, dropping us down to equal fifth.

We needed a strong finish to get back in contention for a prize, and we managed it. Wins for Matthew Fanning (who finished our top scoring player with 2.5/3, for which he won an individual prize), Matthew Walsh, Nugith again, and also Angelica again, gave us a final score of 12, which allowed us to take third prize. In fact another half point would have seen us finish equal second with Kent. Berkshire were the runaway winners, but should lose quite a few players through age next year.

Many thanks to every one of the players for making the effort, greatly appreciated. The fact that we were 2-3 players short of our strongest team on this occasion augers well for the u16 championships in Telford on November 9th.

One aside. This year the co-ordination of an u14 team proved difficult and we were unable to raise a full team to travel to Northampton for the event. One upshot of this was that immediately after the event I asked Pete Edhouse to take on the role of u14 manager, with responsibility for the vital pivotal role of being the bridge between primary school players (essentially u11 and u12) and the senior teams (u16, u18 and county teams). It is the years between these teams that the majority of junior players stop playing chess; it is our intention to bridge that transitional gap as soon as possible. I am glad to report that Pete immediately accepted.

Bill O'Rourke (Lancashire u16 and u18 Manager)

Team Scores

Place   Round 1Round 2Round 3Totals
1st Berkshire 7 8 21½
2nd Kent 5 3 12½
3rd Lancashire 3 12
  South Wales 4 11
  Manchester 2 11
  Sussex 1 9
  Yorkshire 2 2

Individual Scores

Board Round 1Round 2Round 3Totals
1 Jordan Lewis 0 1 0 1
2 James Walsh 0 0 ½ ½
3 Matthew Fanning 1 ½ 1
4 Matthew Walsh 1 0 1 2
5 Judd Bennett 0 ½ 0 ½
6 Nugith Jayawarna 1 0 1 2
7 Angelica Fitzpatrick 1 0 1 2
8 Aditya Chakravarty ½ 1 0
  3 12