Kent U9 become 2018 National Champions and secure overall Grand Prix

Congratulations to all players and supporters of the Kent U9 chess team on winning the 2018 EPSCA U9 Finals and becoming the National Champions! 

It has been an absolute privilege to manage a team of very talented Kent players throughout this year. I can truly say that thanks to our wonderful group of parents and children we played as one team, supporting each other through some very tough games and celebrating our wins together! 

This year the finals were held in Birmingham on Saturday 28th of April. Most of the team travelled up on the train in the morning, practising some openings and tactics on the way. 

There were 16 teams from across the country who had qualified for the finals and the competition was tough. The U9 team had finished second in the semi final to Richmond and we expected it to be a very close event throughout the day. 

The day started from some training and last minute tips from GM Chris Ward. 

After the first round of play, Kent were second with 10 points, trailing Richmond in the first place by 0.5 points. Warwickshire were not far behind in the third place with 9.5 points. 

The second round brought some adjustments to the positions of the top 3 teams. Kent and Warwickshire moved into the first place with 19.5 points and Richmond dropped to the third with 18 points. 

We expected the Finals to be close but they were even closer than we expected! The first place was decided in the very last game of the tournament. Warwickshire and Richmond finished their games first and were both on 27.5 points. Kent had 27 points but with one game still in play, the very last game in an empty sports hall of the Grace Academy in Solihull. Our fate depended on the newest member of the team Raffi French, who was playing Adhritt Seth from Barnet. It was a very close competitive game but Raffi played very calmly and came out victorious with Adhritt losing on time. Kent retained their National crown! 

The full team list was: 

Shreyas Royal, Shlok Verma, Roxolana Chaban, Xirui Mao, Ismail Longia-Zaidi, Yifan Luo, Max Bell, 
Makariy Shkuratovskyi, Raffi French, Teo Saunders, Roshan Rao, Rohan Pasari, Arman Tengayev, 
Oli Garrett, Ryan Nguyen, Zeno Burns, Joshua Moisey 

Overall Grand Prix Success 
It has been a very successful season for all Kent teams with the wins for U18 mixed, U11 mixed and silver trophies for U11 girls team, securing overall Grand Prix for Kent. The Grand Prix trophy and shield were received by our U11 and U9 board #1 player Shreyas Royal and GM Chris Ward.  

The team celebrated the win by emptying the shelves of sweets at Birmingham International and binging on the train back. 

This success could not have been possible without continuous and tireless support from all the parents and carers. Many thanks to you all for bringing the children along to both the Zonal and the Final competitions.  

We are very grateful to our GM Chris Ward who coached the U9 team and travelled with us to the Zonal event in Richmond and to the finals in Birmingham as well.  

The full U9 results are available at Oxford Fusion website 

Taras Chaban  - Kent U9 Team Manager