Report from a chess parent U9 EPSCA Final

Saturday the 27thApril 2013, it was the day of the 2013 EPSCA U9 final and little did we know as we all arrived at Wycombe High School in Buckinghamshire, what the day had in store for us. After all, we had only come fifth in the zonal, some 13 points behind the winners, Barnet, and so our expectations were modest. We had a good team, one which we knew could perform well on the day – but experience had taught us that nothing is ever certain in the world of junior chess. All the children felt energized and were eager to get started; no one was prepared for what happened next…

Round 1 – We were wary of Barnet having played against them in the zonal and knew that Wey-Valley and Nottingham were also very strong. We were up against them all in round 1 together with many other good players from counties all over England and Wales. The results started to come in, win after win after win. We had scored a fantastic 11 out of 12 in that first round and our reserves recorded an amazing 5 out of 6. Perhaps third place was a realistic possibility after all. No one from our team had settled for draws and many had fought through some tough positions to come out victorious.

The top three after round 1 were as follows: Kent 11 points, Barnet 9.5 points, Nottingham 9 points

Round 2 – Everyone was hugely psyched up for their next round and we scored an incredible 10 out of 12 with our reserves also scoring well with 4 out of 6. It began to dawn on us that we had a realistic chance of winning this event. We had last won the trophy in 2009. All we had to do was hold it together for one final round.

The top three now were: Kent 21 points, Barnet 18.5 points, Wey Valley 17 points

Round 3 – This was the final push - but the team was becoming tired. Could we hold it together? Would our nerves hold out? There were some really tough games ahead. We seemed to be out graded on most of the boards and some early losses led to a nail-biting finish. There were some great wins, one of the last results being a super win over Barnet. We had only scored 6 out of 12 which gave us a total of 27. Was it going to be enough?

The news gradually filtered through. It was all so close with just two points separating the top five teams. We were ahead of Barnet by half a point, but what about Wey-Valley? It was so tense. Wey-Valley had scored 10 points in the last round; we had both tied on 27, which sent everyone scrambling for the rule books trying to determine who would go home with the first place trophies.

Then the news we had been waiting for - We were 2013 U9 CHAMPIONS!!!! Our team had done so well. Everyone had played their part with many great performances to be remembered and to be proud of.

Our victorious team in alphabetical order, was: Abirami Muthukumar, Aditya Jain, Alexander Levin, Ben Barton, Bobby Akeya-Price, Dennis Ivin, Edward Cross, Freddy Nunn, Isaac Willats, Jamie Perry, Kiran Shiatis, Mahuaa Verma, Mikey Watson, Navieinaah Haridas, Nikhil Chidipothu, Saahil Bansil, Thomas Gardner and Ximan Mao. Also a special mention to Aria Sharma, who played her part for Kent in the Zonal but was unable to make it for the final.

A huge thanks to all the organisers in Buckinghamshire for hosting such an extremely smooth running event, to our Coach GM Chris Ward for keeping everyone focused, to Krishna Shiatis and Rachael Gardner for their team management and for getting the team all together for the zonal and for the final, to all the parents for their continued support and of course to our fantastic team that gelled so well and recorded such an outstanding victory against all the odds; one which will be remembered for many years to come. A big, big well done to all!!

The final results were as follows:

1 Kent - 27 points (on tie-break)

2 Wey Valley - 27 points

3 Barnet - 26.5 points

4= Nottinghamshire and Essex -25 points 

6 Richmond -21.5 points

7 Sussex -21 points

8 Berkshire - 20.5 points

9 Hertfordshire - 20 points

10 Cambridgeshire - 18 points

11 Lancashire - 16 points

12 Manchester - 15 points

13 Yorkshire - 14.5 points

14 Oxfordshire - 14.5 points

15 Cheshire and NW - 11.5 points

16 Wiltshire - 10 points

17 Wirral - 6 points

18 Buckinghamshire - 5 points

More details can be found on:

Andrew Shiatis