The first of a series of qualifying touraments leading to the English Primary Schools' Chess Association Championship took place in Colchester where, initially, it was intended that 10 under-11 teams and 6 under-9s should participate. Late withdrawals reduced this to 7 and 5 respectively, an organisational nightmare for the long-suffering control team. An odd number in a team Swiss leads to considerable difficulties.
Creative controlling was the order of the day so an extra round was added for the under 9s, who generally play so quickly that this does not present a problem, and theirs became an all-play-all, whereas a scratch team entitled "Arbiter's All-stars" was created out of the under-11s teams' reserves so that an 8-team Swiss ensured that round-by-round shuffling of players should be avoided. Since the All-stars consisted of what should have been the weakest player from each team, they were not expected to score many points...
The objective was to qualify for the next round, which would involve a weekend away at a Pontin's Holiday Camp in the Summer for the next stage of the competition and there were three places available for under-9s, four for under-11s. Temple Sutton have a strong tradition of great success in this competition, and they were hot favourites. Sir Robert Hitcham School, Suffok, were also reckoned to be quite strong, with experienced tournament players Tom and Alex Huband on the top two boards, whereas there would be strong challenges from R. A Butler School and Dame Johane Bradbury Schools, both of Saffron Walden.
In the end, Temple Sutton managed something exceptional even by their high standards: every player in both teams won every game, giving them 20 / 20 in each competition. Having been involved in this competition for some 12 years, this is the first occasion that I can recall any team scoring a maximum, let alone both teams from the same school.
Whereas first place was never in any doubt in the under 11s, there was a real scrap going on for the remaining qualifying places. Dame Johane Bradbury had brought two teams and their A team had been paired against the Arbiters in round 1. Curiously, this was where the best games were to be found and Alex Randall, the Temple Sutton reserve and Board 1 for the Arbiters, was involved in a tremendous battle against Mattie Cairnduff. As the endgame approached, Alex won Mattie's rook with a bishop skewer, only to walk into one himself. That left a position where white's win could have been made a little tricky as there were only two white pawns left, one of them on the h-file. Since it was a light-squared bishop, this could have presented a few problems but neither player seemed aware of the "wrong coloured bishop" concept.
Round 2 provided the most unlikely result in that the Arbiters' All-stars won a match by the score of 5 - 0. This was not supposed to happen and when they won the folowing round 3 - 2 as well, there was a danger of them being on top board in the final round. As it happened, R. A. Butler emerged with an extra point so after three rounds, the scores were Temple Sutton 15, R. A. Butler 9½, All-stars 8½, Sir Robert Hitcham 7½, DJBS 'B' 7, St. Teresa's 6 and DJBS A 5½.
Temple Sutton now played R.A. Butler, a fixture which in previous years has been close. However, staff changes at R.A. Butler mean that the teacher who used to run the chess has moved on and the players only practice in school once a week. This is insufficient and it showed. Roly Fischer-Vousden, who drew with George O'Toole (and should have won) when they played over a year ago, found himself on the defensive in a position of R & B v R & B (opposite coloured bishops) and in which George had the extra pawn. Roly allowed a discovered check to lose a rook after which he had the good sense to resign.
Results around the room conspired against R.A. Butler and their 5 - 0 defeat caused them to slump from 2nd place to 5th, thereby missing the qualifying places. A team Swiss works very well when there are two or three strong teams, but of the teams which played Temple Sutton, only St. Teresa's qualified, creeping into fourth place on 10 points. DJBS 'B' took second place with 11 points, Sir Robert Hitcham were third with 10½.
|Under 11s||Under 9s|
|Temple Sutton v St. Teresa||Allstars v Sir R. Hitcham||RAB v DJBS 'A'||Witnesham v DJBS 'B'||RAB u9 v St. Teresa's u9 B||Temple Sutton v St. Teresa's A|
|1||W||Peter Morton||147||½||Dominic Allen||148||½|
|2||B||Keith Jones||149||0||Paul Barclay||147||1|
|3||W||Neville Blackie||146||0||Gerald Bayliss||144||1|
|4||B||S. H. Band||144||½||John Philpott||142||½|
|5||W||Kevin Byard||144||½||Aiden Corish||141||½|
|6||B||Michael Williams||144||0||Dana Hawrami||139||1|
|7||W||Colin Hughes||141||½||Alan Hawrami||137||½|
|8||B||N. D. Tomkin||138||1||Dave Rawlings||137||0|
|10||B||Jonathan Kay||134||½||Tom Allen||133||½|
|11||W||Wilson Ransome||132||½||David Cannan||132||1|
|12||W||Peter Szabo||129||0||Phil Zammit||132||1|
|13||W||Gary O'Grady||127||1||Steve Collins||130||0|
|14||B||Michael Price||126||0||Ian Morgan||127||1|
|15||W||Chris Fewtrell||122||1||Khidir Hawrami||0|
|16||B||Keith Parr||107||0||Ken Groce||120||1|
|TOTAL - Home||6||TOTAL - Away||10|
With defeats in the first two matches of what is, this season, a single round competition, this match at the Exmouth Arms represented a last chance saloon for the Essex U150 team's chances of qualifying for the National Stages of this season's County Championship. The exchange of team lists indicated two well balanced sides, but there were some major transport problems on the day, and apart from some late arrivals one member of each side failed to arrive at the venue. In the case of Essex, Shaun Alley and his father Herbie were stuck in the tunnel for more than an hour on the Central Line train immediately behind the one which was derailed at Chancery Lane. Khidir Hawrami, who had brought his sons Dana and Alan to the venue was prevailed upon to substitute for Shaun on Board 15, but did not last long against Middlesex captain Chris Fewtrell. However, this simply cancelled out the free point that Essex had received on Board 9 which Middlesex had to default as they had no reserve on hand, making it a wasted journey from Chelmsford for Ian Woodward.
Alan Hawrami drew on Board 7 shortly after his father's resignation, but Dana on the adjacent board had gained the upper hand by now. There were early fireworks on Board 2 where instead of the quick draw that might have been expected from Wanstead & Woodford club mates, Keith Jones sacrificed a piece early on and drew Paul Barclay's king to g3. The general run of play was encouraging for Essex at this stage, and the lead was retaken as a result of a win by Ken Groce, who has been in good form for both the U125s and the U150 this season. After three draws in quick succession, Essex increased their lead to 5 - 3 when Dana Hawrami's opponent was faced with the unavoidable queening of a pawn.
Tom Allen's draw and Ian Morgan's win boosted the visitors' advantage still further to 6½ - 3½, but at this stage Middlesex closed the gap by taking 2½ points from the next 3 games to finish, with only Dominic Allen contributing to the Essex total during this period. Of the three games in play, from which Essex needed a minimum of 1½ points to win the match, Phil Zammit rated his position as dodgy, Paul Barclay had retained his piece advantage into the ending but was running short of time, and Gerald Bayliss seemed to be under a little pressure but with chances of counterplay.
In the event, all three games turned into Essex victories. Paul Barclay reached the time control, having further simplified the position to one where he had knight and three pawns against five pawns, and Keith Jones resigned with one of his pawns about to fall. Gerald Bayliss's opponent compounded a mistake by positioning his rooks at g3 and e3 which allowed an embarrassing pawn fork by f5 to f4, while Phil Zammit emerged from complications with an extra knight and made no mistake in the ensuing ending.
10 - 6 was an encouraging margin, and leaves the possibility of qualification still open if a similar result can be achieved at home to Kent on 8 February and other results go Essex's way.
Barclay,P - Jones,K [C54]
Middlesex v Essex U150, 25.01.2003
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 Ne4 7.Bd5 Nxf2 8.Kxf2 dxc3+ 9.Kg3 d6 10.Nxc3 dxe5 11.Ng5 Nd4 12.Rf1 Nf5+ 13.Rxf5 Bxf5 14.Nxf7 Qf6 15.Nxh8 0-0-0 16.Qf3 Rxh8 17.Bxb7+ Kb8 18.h3 Rf8 19.Qc6 Qxc6 20.Bxc6 Bd3 21.Bd2 Rf2 22.Be1 Rf6 23.Bf3 Rg6+ 24.Kh2 Bd4 25.Be4 Bxe4 26.Nxe4 Bxb2 27.Rb1 Rb6 28.Bc3 Bxc3 29.Rxb6+ axb6 30.Nxc3 Kb7 31.Kg3 c5 32.Kf3 Kc6 33.Ke4 Kd6 34.a4 g6 35.Nd5 1-0
Essex, having already beaten Cambs and lost to Kent, will be looking to Cambrideshire to inflict defeat on Kent on St. David's Day. Essex have to keep beating the lower teams, having outstanding matches against Bucks and Herts. The following match against Surrey was considerably closer than the score indicates, with the last 10 minutes yielding key points to Essex.
|1||W||Lawrence Trent||209||1||Daniel Bisby||204||0|
|2||B||Richard Webb||212||0||Peter Kemp||196||1|
|3||W||David Sands||207||½||Dan Rusen||193||½|
|5||W||John Hodgson||191||½||Paul Mercer||180||½|
|6||B||Li Wu||187||1||David Rowson||176||0|
|7||W||Russell White||185||1||Anthony Andrews||172||0|
|8||B||Jeff Goldberg||181||0||Dave Hill||171||1|
|10||B||Bill Stirling||180||1||Aidan Rawlinson||165||0|
|11||W||Ezra Lutton||175||0||Paul Dupre||165||1|
|12||W||Bill Saunders||178||1||David Malcolm||163||0|
|13||W||Robert Payne||176||1||Chris Clegg||161||0|
|14||B||Larry Marden||173||0||Angus French||160||1|
|15||W||Ivor Smith||172||0||Paul Barnard||155||1|
|16||B||Mark Weighell||160||½||Joe Skielnik||151||½|
|TOTAL - Home||9½||TOTAL - Away||5½|
During a round of the UK Chess Challenge, at Barons Court Infant School, Westcliff, in a game between two 6-year-olds, black placed her bishop adjacent to White's king. The following gem was then overheard: "My king is Henry the Eighth ... King takes Pope." Does this explain why I have just had to araldite the head back onto a Knight?
|White to play and win.||Last week's solution (Kasparian 1961): 1.Rc1 Nc3+ 2.Rxc3 h2 3.Rc1 Ne2 4.Rh1 Ng3+ 5.Kf3 Nxh1 6.Be4+ Kc7 7.g4 Kd6 8.Kg2 Ke5 9.Bf3 Kf4 10.Kxh1|
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