Success for the Kent teams at the ECF U18 County Championships

Congratulations to the Kent U18 Open team for winning the ECF County Championships for the second time running.

This year the event was held in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and it took the form of a two-round standardplay tournament.  There were two sections, U18 Open (12 Boards) and the U18 Minor (6 Boards). Kent entered a team into both sections.

The young players taking part were:  Freddie Hand, Aditya Verma, Mikey Watson, Jacob Watson, Aurideep Nayak, Shlok Verma, Saahil Bansal, Ben Barton, Eoin Moore, Nikhil Chidipothu, Lakshya Lokwani, Orla Dorman, Ciaran Brightley-Davies, Marius Kobler, Iris Davies, Roxolana Chaban and Scarlet Watson.

It was an early start for the long journey to Grantham, with the majority of the Kent squad meeting to travel together on a mini-coach.  After a smooth run up the A1 and a short struggle to find somewhere to park at the venue, all arrived in the team room ready for the first-round battles.

Unfortunately, due to illness, players had dropped out the previous evening and one of our squad was unable to come along at the last minute. So, some of the players were moved up a board and some of our younger players got the chance to play, but sadly we still had to default the bottom board of the minor team. 

However, with smiles and enthusiasm all the Kent players stepped up to the challenge and we soon had some great results coming in.  

After round one the Open team were equal first with Sussex, with Surrey just behind – so it was still all to play for and could go either way.

The Minor team also achieved a fantastic score in the first round and stood on 4 out of 6 points which was a credible third place. 

The second round brought tensions and excitement as the scores slowly came in and we tried to calculate who would be the winning county. Every game and every half point counted.  All the county teams had strong players and there were some quality chess on many boards.  It wasn’t until the final games finished that the very close result was guaranteed.

The final results in the Open section were: 

1st - Kent  - 16.5 points

2nd - Sussex - 16 points

3rd - Surrey - 15 points

4th Hertfordshire - 9.5 points 

5th equal -  Leistershire and Suffolk  - 7.5 points.

The final results in the Minor section were: 

1st - Norfolk - 9 points 

2nd - Yorkshire - 8.5 points

3rd - Kent  -  7 points  (from 5 out of 6 boards) 

4th - Nottinghamshire - 5 points

5th - Surrey - 2 points

6th -  Hertfordshire - 1.5 points.

Congratulations and thanks to each and every player for their great chess games, everyone got a score to add to the totals.  Also for their general positive attitude and team spirit throughout the event. It was a pleasure to spend time with everyone on the day. 

Also to GM Chris Ward for his advice and support during the run-up to the event, and thanks to Gary Dorman for his help on the day. 

The Kent teams rely on the support of all the parents and carers who bring the young players to the events and it is much appreciated.

Finally, thanks go to Neill Cooper - ECF manager of secondary chess, Lincolnshire chess and the King School, Grantham for a very well run, friendly and relaxed tournament.

Jo Wildman – Team Manager