16th June 2017
EPSCA Semi-Finals at Pontins in Prestatyn – 10 & 11 June
Hallfield has a long tradition of sending teams to compete in the semi-finals of this event. One parent described it as a “rite of passage” for all chess players and their parents and this year, among the 33 children competing for Hallfield, there was a good mix of seasoned veterans and wide eyed newcomers.
We had 6 teams in total: three in the U11 section, two in the U9 section and one in the U9 Plate (for teams who did not qualify at the initial zone event at Bluecoat last January).
There were 30 teams competing, all champions in their own right. As usual it was a tough event for the B and C teams, but despite this they outscored many of the other schools A teams. Our progress in the last 12 months can be gleaned from the fact that our U11 B team scored more points this year than our U11 A team scored last year!
Our U11 A team played magnificently and were always in with a great chance of qualifying for the finals and they went into the final round needing to win by 3.5/1.5 to make it through. They didn’t quite make it this year but it was a tough assignment given that they are all Y5 players playing mainly Y6 opposition. Next year the other schools need to watch out.
Two of our teams qualified in the U9s amongst a field of 30 zonal winners and runners-up. The B team started off like a rocket and by the end of the first day were standing equal 4th with our A team! Although they inevitably slowed down on the second day against the stronger teams this is very encouraging for next year as half of the team were Y3 players.
The U9 A team were always in the top few teams and were unbeaten going into the last round and needing a win to progress to the finals. Instead of simply winning the match they whitewashed their opposition 5/0 providing just enough points to jump from 4th place to winning the event outright by half a point from Akiva and Wetherby who came second and third. What an amazing performance from our U9 team and their individual results are below:
Hallfield U9 Winning Team
Manvith Sandhu – 5/6
Kanav Monga (Y3) – 4/6
Ethan Vas – 4/6
Ritik Jose – 4/6
Simon Cheung – 2/3 (+ 3/3 reserve games)
Daniel Ryan – 2/3 (+ 2/3 reserve games)
We will now compete in an 8 team all play all final on 4th/5th July against the very best U9 school teams in the county. This is coincidently the same week as our U11 team compete in the finals of the ECF schools U11 final at Uppingham – a busy week for our elite chess players!
U9 Plate Team
This year I entered a team in the Plate competition. This is open to school teams which did not qualify for the semi-finals and I used it mainly to give some of the promising younger players who were fairly new to competitive chess a chance to gain a little experience. To my shock and delight they not only gained experience but in doing so they won it the event. The highest scorer in the team was Sana Khan who scored 4.5/6 on board 4 following her recent success in the Megafinals where she was crowned Suprema. The biggest story of the U9 Plate success though was, following a late withdrawal of a member of the team due to illness, we drafted in Aaron Suthi (brother of Eshan Suthi – U11 A Team) to play on board 5. Aaron is a very talented player but given his age (Y2) his performance was almost miraculous as he went on to score 4/6 against far older opposition. A great effort by Aaron and he is certainly a star of the future.
Well done to all players who competed and a big thank you to all of the supportive parents who braved the long journey and the rain on Saturday. It was a very successful event for us chess wise but also a great team building and fun event for the whole family.