Sunday, 13th May, saw the first of this summer's major junior chess events - the Mega Final, held at Woodbridge School. This is an event where players qualify through school or club stages to compete in the county final. From these, the top Suffolk players, the very best qualify to compete in the national Giga Finals.
Congratulations to all players who played in this event - they have all done extremely well to qualify. The results will be appearing shortly on the UK Chess Challenge Website.
Before we move on to the results, it was great to see the representation from Suffolk's schools and chess clubs, with many players coming from the Bury Knights. Players also came to the event having succeeded in the schools / clubs stage at Woodbridge school, Bosmere, East Bergholt, and Handford Hall - and other schools which I have not recorded. Thank you to all schools and clubs who took part in this event - it is a great way to make chess fun and competitive in clubs and also helps give a target and competition. Thank you to the UK Chess Challenge organisers for running the competition, and thanks also to Adam Hunt and Dagne Ciuksyte and for organising and running the event.
With the U7s category having been grouped with the U8s, Indula Dedigama played extremely well to win all his games while still an U7, while Lade Laguda won the U8s with some excellent chess, with both being Supremo in their categories. Athene Ross won the title of Suprema in the girls U8 category, again with some excellent chess.
In a big section with many players, Rowan Kent played well to win all his games to takes the title of Supremo in the boys U9 category, while Sofia Ciuksyte took the title of Suprema in the girls section.
The main drama of the day took place in the U10s section. Here there were 3 main protagonists who were all equal at the end of the event with Amy John, Georgia Pommier and Louis Thomas all equal on 5 wins from 6 games respectively, with Amy having beaten Louis, Louis having beaten Georgia, and Georgia having beaten Amy. The boys section was straightforward with victory and the title of Supremo going to Louis Thomas - congratulations to him. After checking the rules, it was confirmed that Georgia would take the title of Suprema due to her victory over Amy, so very well played, Georgia, for some excellent and consistent chess. And congratulations also to Amy for some excellent chess and a very well deserved qualification for the Giga Final.
With the U11 & U12 sections grouped together, Toby Martin earned the title of U11 Supremo with 4 wins from 6 games, while Amber Cook earned the Title of U11s Suprema. In the U12 section, Adam John earned the tile of Supremo with a perfect score of 6 wins from 6 games, while the title of Suprema was awarded to Charlotte Ciuksyte.
Tom Roy took the U13 Supremo title with an excellent 5/6. Samuel Prior won the U14 Supremo title, while Caitlin Shore won the U14 Suprema title. In the U15 section, Rowland Kerr took the Supremo title with an excellent 5.5/6, while Jenny Rochford took the Suprema title.
Over the last few weeks, Suffolk's Junior players have represented the county at U9, U11, and U18 levels. The teams have had varying levels of success, but should all be very proud of their efforts in their matches and also of the way they have represented the county.
Before we get to the important business of the teams, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the clubs and schools who have provided players to the Suffolk teams. The 2 main chess clubs, Bury Knights and Ipswich Junior Chess Club provided the teams with many players and sincere thanks go to Bob Jones and Martin Tomes for the very significant time and effort they put into providing opportunities for young Suffolk players. Thanks also go to the schools with Woodbridge School, St Edmunds Catholic Primary School and Handford Hall being among the schools providing players. Without these clubs and schools, there would be no Junior Chess in Suffolk, so thank you to them all.
In all 3 of the Suffolk teams, the spirit and good natured behaviour was noticeable and I would like to thank the players and their parents for the commitment to travel to the various venues, none of which were close to Suffolk and to spend all day with the team. The players cheerful approach to the game and the team spirit were very noticeable - thank you to all.
Thank you to Ground Control for supporting the team and helping to make the event possible for the players.
On 25th February, the U18 team competed against 5 other counties in the major section in Grantham. While the team struggled against the tough opposition, the games were generally hard fought. Suffolk sent a team of 12 juniors who had an overall average grade of 122 - an impressive achievement in itself. However when competing against counties with average grades of 151, 154 & 161, it was always going to be a tall order.
Well played to the whole team: Alex Sheerin, Jaden Jermy, Adam John, Gavith Dharmasena, Kian Dharmasena, Alan John, Rowland Kerr, Tom Roy, William Moody, Rowan Kent, Mario Saenz de Villaverde, and Amy John.
Thank you also to Bob Jones for organising the team.
The report on the English Chess website can be seen here.
On Saturday 10th March, Suffolk's U9 team gathered in Richmond for the regional inter county event. Against some really strong teams we travelled in hope of strong results, but also prepared for a tough event with many of our players at the start of their chess careers.
In this 12 board event, we had a tough first round, winning only 3.5 points from a possible 12. A stronger 2nd round was needed, and the team delivered, winning 5 points and they followed that up with a further 5 points in the final round.
The team needed to finish in the top 6 to qualify for the national finals, and managed in the final round to overhaul Cambridgeshire to finish 5th - a truly fantastic result which bodes well for the future.
The stand-out performance of the day was undoubtedly by Edison Lorejo. Edison, who has a grade of 24, was asked to play opponents of grades 86, 63 and 26. In winning all three games, he managed a grading performance of 101. Surely his best performance to date.
Another notable performance was by Freddie Dannatt in securing 2.5 points from a possible 3 points which were crucial to secure qualification for the next round - well done Freddie.
The future of the U9 team will also be strengthened by our young new recruit Lade Laguda, who is only just 8. In winning 3 games out of 3, he will strengthen the team next year when the bulk of the players become too old for the U9s.
Not everyone wins all their games, and in these events, the way the matches are arranged, some players have a tougher draw than others. It was fantastic to see that all the players took their defeats and kept smiling and all enjoyed themselves, which is by far the most important thing.
Very well done to the ENTIRE team of: Rowan Kent, Raf Calumpiano, Edison Lorejo, Isaac Kim, Tania Roy, Luke Holmes, Mevin Biju, Freddie Dannatt, Hamilton Lowdell, Karthik Kamatham, Indula Dedigama, Tyler Whalen, Lade Laguda, Kara Whalen, Max Lewis, and Gabriel Kim.
The Suffolk results can be found here.
The full results can be found here.
Yesterday, 17th March, it was the turn of the U11s to represent Suffolk in a snowy Bromley. With 20 players per team, and 10 counties represented in the south-east zone, this was a big event with 200 players in the playing hall as well as reserve players.
After a tough first round in which the team scored 6/20, the team scored a good 8.5/20 to go into the final round needing plenty of wins to qualify for the national finals. Unfortunately, with some tough pairings, the team just failed to qualify.
The most notable performance was probably that of Milan Biju (Grade 53) who scored a win, a draw and a loss to score 1.5/3 against 3 players who were all graded over 100 to finish with a grading performance of 93 - very well played.
Other notable performances were by Raf Calumpiano, Eniko Stuller, Luke Holmes (all 2/3) and Marina Pommier (1.5/3).
The full Suffolk results can be found here.
As with the other teams, ALLthe players should be very proud of their performance. In these events, depending on the draw, some players can have a much tougher draw than others. Well played to EVERYONE.
Following the conclusion of the chess, it was time to travel home on a distinctly snowy and dark evening. One thing that will live long in the memory is the exceptional and ruthless aim of some of the players with snowballs, particularly at yours truly! You know who you are...
Spot the Chess Piece
Seen below is the Under 11 chess team in Bromley - can you find the Knight hiding in the photo???
Check here for articles about the Suffolk Juniors.