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???
Yesterday, the Abbey School sent a chess team to take part in the National Primary Schools Chess Championship. This is an event in which the school have a good record having come within a whisker of qualifying for the National Finals in the U9s section last year. This year Mr Hunt led the U11 team to Moulsham Junior School in Chelmsford. The team delivered in fine fashion to qualify for the Semi-Finals, which will be held over a weekend at Pontins this summer.
Having taken two reserves, the team got off to a good start, winning 4 out of 5 games on the scoring boards, and winning both of their reserve games. The second round saw a perfect result with all seven players winning their games. As the competition got tougher, the team lost their number 2 player, Marina Pommier, who had to depart to swim for Suffolk! The rest of the team had to step up a board, with Marina's sister, Georgia, playing board 2, and Henry Allen stepping up from the reserves to play board 5. It was a tougher round and a 3:2 win was well deserved with wins for Rowan Kent, Georgia Pommier, and Theo Pommier (yet another of the chess playing Pommier clan).
Success in chess always leads to tough matches and the 4th round was no different. The Abbey were drawn to play against Number 1 seeds Brentwood Prep school, led by ex Ipswich player Richard Pert. This was a tough round and proved to be the team's sole loss. The final round saw a return to form with a 3.5:1.5 win for the Abbey including a crucial draw on Board 1 for Rowan and wins from Fred Bartlett-Smith, Theo & Georgia to secure another win for the team.
Overall the teams finished 3rd out of 15 schools - a fantastic result.
With 2 wins from 2 for Henry Allen in the reserves, before stepping up to Board 5, and 4 wins from 5 for Lade Laguda (still only 8 years old) in the reserves, this shows the strength in depth available to the school.
Overall, the points were as follows:
Rowan Kent: 3.5/5
Marina Pommier: 2/2
Georgia Pommier: 4/5
Fred Bartlett-Smith: 2/5
Theo Pommier: 4/5
Henry Allen: 2/5
Lade Laguda: 4/5
Below are Photos and positions from the event.
Top Left: Spot the chess piece - Theo Pommier, Lade Laguda, Henry Allen, Fred Bartlett-Smith, and Georgia Pommier are seen here hiding a chess piece - where is it?
Top Right: Mate-in-One for White - This is a position from Rowan Kent's 3rd round game - he Check-Mated next move - can you see how?
Bottom Left: This is a position from the same game, but one move earlier. The chess computer assures us that there is Mate-in-5 for Rowan (playing white) - can you see how? I believe it starts Queen takes the Rook on b3. The first person to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the correct solution gets their name "in lights" when we publish their solution here.
Bottom Right: The Abbey Chess team - Henry Allen, Rowan Kent, Fred Bartlett-Smith, Theo Pommier, & Georgia Pommier collecting their medals for 3rd place. Marina Pommier and Lade Laguda had had to leave early.
Check here for articles about the Suffolk Juniors.