EPSCA National Semi-Finals; Bristol, Saturday 14th May

The day began very well with three straight wins: the ‘C’ team’s victory over one-time U11 champions Brooklands was a great start! The ‘A’ team was to fight hard, just failing to reach that coveted finals place in the top three. Particular commendations here go to team captain Frank Hudson (5/5) and Adam Hamid (3/5), who so nearly defeated top England junior players with grades of 140 & 150. The GM coach Peter Wells was hugely impressed by his play.

The strength in the bottom three boards also helped us to do so well: Adam Winn on board 3 and Thomas Salter both scored 3/5 against good opponents. Frank Hudson (board 5) was outstanding on the day, his knowledge of sharp openings destroying some opponents in quick time.

The ‘B’ team were unlucky to do so well that they then faced top of the table opponents. Hard fought wins were then followed by matches in which they were just outplayed by stronger ‘A’ teams. Theo Sanders on board 1 (3/5) had a great tournament, playing way above his grading in all his games. He gave England junior Elias Gelain-Sohn (132) a particularly tough match and beat two players graded in the mid-eighties. Felix Macphail (3/5) was equally successful in support on board 2, defeating a 106 graded player (Kyal Foster) in his fourth game.

The ‘C’ team was always likely to find the going tough – MCS was the only school with a qualified ‘C’ team, reflecting the strength in depth. Tom Image was the start of this team on top board. Tom scored 2½/5 and played very thoughtful and committed chess. For four of his five matches, he was playing the best players from other schools. Jason Ou (board 3) scored 3/5, a good result for him as a Y5 player.

Results:

U11A: Won 4-1 v Radlett B; Drew 2½-2½ v Westminster; Lost 2-3 v KCS Wimbledon; Won 5-0 v Haberdasher’s Aske ‘B’; Won 3-2 v Twickenham Preparatory ‘A’

16.5 pts; 4th= / 36; just missing out on a top three qualifying place by 1pt.

U11B: Won 4-1 v Haberdasher’s Aske ‘B’: Won 4-1 v Claire’s Court, Maidenhead; Lost 0-5 v Westminster ‘A’; Won 4-1 v Upton St John; Lost 5-0 v Radlett ‘A’

12pts; 20th / 36

U11C: Won 3½1½ v Brooklands: Lost 2-3 v Twickenham ‘B’; Lost 0-5 v Nottingham High ‘A’; Won 4-1 v UCS London; Lost 0-5 v Hampton Hill ‘A’

9.5 pts; 24th.

Teams (in board order):

U11A: Adam Hamid, Hugh Mortimer, Adam Winn, Thomas Salter, Frank Hudson. Reserve: Hiro Matsuzaki.

U11B: Theo Sanders, Felix Macphail, Ben Turner, Joey Chataway, Shreyas Anand. Playing reserve: Joe Hodges.

U11C: Tom Image, Huw Jiang, Jason Ou, Charlie Merryweather, Jack Moore, Peter Pan.