The culmination of the under-11 season came on Saturday with the national final – Sussex came a creditable 7th place:
Emily Ashcroft, James Beecroft, Henri Blin, Aidan Burnside, Luke Chapman, Luke Freeman, Niamh Grace, Aditya Gupta, Caspar Irani, Thomas Irani, Joseph Johnson, Louisa Kiss, Seha Konara, Samuel Merchant, Austin Mitchell, Cillian Nagy, Nayan Keats Rastogi, Amelie Rees, Kaysan Salajee, Taran Sharma, Avyanna Singh, Ann Tagg, George Tagg, Charlie Wannasin Bell
Thanks to Barnet for organising this event (and the previous friendly and arena battle), things ran very smoothly on the day.
I would like to thank all the children and parents who have made this season such a joy to be involved with, despite it all being done online. Over 40 children have represented the county at under-11 this year and it was tough to narrow down the squad for the Final.
The format for the Final was a 5-round mini-SWISS tournament for each of the 20 boards – an excellent idea seeking to replicate the over-the-board jamboree used in pre-covid times. Time limit was 10 minutes plus 5 seconds increment which was about right as it limited the screen time for the children to about 2.5 hours.
The reserves were in a 5 round SWISS tournament with the same time limit. We were well represented and scored very well; special mention goes to Emily Ashcroft who came 3rd with 4.5 points.
The standard of the Final was very high. In the first round our top 8 boards found themselves paired against the top seeds and despite some long, heroic defensive efforts we could only manage ½ point. Fortunately, boards 9-12 found the going somewhat easier and ensured we gained a respectable 9 points from the round.
There followed a gradual upturn as we scored 9.5 in round 2 and then 10 in round 3. For rounds 3 to 5 we were a player down unfortunately but round 4 saw an amazing return of 15 points before we dipped away a little in the last round scoring 10.
I was thrilled with the efforts of the players. Time was used well, games were hard fought, early losses were put aside and everyone contributed at least 2 points, a great team effort.
We had a very young side, over half being under-10s or younger which bodes well for the future and the long hoped for return to over the board chess in September.
See you soon!
Dave Graham Sussex under-11 coach