English Girls in Norway!
[pictures by Doug Neil / Alan Price]
It was way back in November when a father of one of my students approached me to ask whether some English girls would like to play in the Norwegian Girls championships – he told me that traditionally foreign girls were invited and this year they wanted English Girls to play….So that’s how it came to pass that on the 1st February, five girls (along with their parents) came to visit Bergen for the weekend to lock chess horns with the best Norway has to offer! Those five girls were: Phoebe Price, Jennifer Neil, Eleanor Hapeshi, Anna Purvis and Eva Ressel and they were supported by group leaders: Sabrina Chevannes and Lawrence Cooper.
Bergen is famous for two things: it’s the gateway to the majestic fjords (in fact the city is surrounded by seven mountains) and that it never stops raining! So after arriving to the airport on Friday morning, the group found time to enjoy the sights the: crooked Hanseatic houses on the Bryggen wharf and a trip on the Funicular to see the most spectacular view in Bergen.
The Norwegian Championships for Girls were held in the newly built Fauskanger School in Askøy, an island located forty minutes outside of Bergen. Even getting to the school was an outdoor adventure, as the group (minus Sabrina, Anita and Anna Purvis who safely took the bus directly from the centre) decided to get into the Norwegian Spirit and take the local boat and then catch the bus to the school. However our intrepid explorers suffered a minor setback when they discovered that the bus did not stop at the boat terminal during peak hours! However they made it to the school just on time to play the first game of chess.
The tournament atmosphere was cosy small but great fun, the girls all had a great time socialising with their Norwegian counterparts who luckily are all rather fluent in English. In Scandinavia, a big emphasis is also put on the social aspect so as well as the chess, the girls are encouraged to form friendships and to do everything together from sleeping in the same room, eating meals, playing in the gym of course play chess!
Group A (Kadett and Ungdom merged)
Eleanor, Jennifer and Phoebe competed in the top FIDE rated section which saw two sections merged together Ungdom (Under 26)/Kadett (13-17). Nearly all of the Norwegian girls in this section are seasoned internationals having competed in several World and European Junior Events and two of them – Line Jin Jorgensen and Erle Hansen have represented Norway at the Chess Olympiad! With the star of Magnus Carlsen in the ascent, chess is becoming more and more popular – Magnus is a big idol and is seen on the front page of the newspapers nearly every week. Now, with the Tromso chess Olympiad 2014 within sight, many of the young girls are in serious training to be able to get in the National teams and compete on home territory!
In light of this, the competition for the girls was very strong. Jennifer played very calmly and actively impressing local IM and trainer Kjetil Stokke with her mature style. She only lost to the top two seeds Olympiad internationals- Erle and Line Jin. With a few tweaks here and there, Jennifer could easily have scored much more, something that is very promising for the future!
At thirteen years old, Eleanor was the youngest participant and raced to 2/2 defeating two of Norway’s young hopes Edit Machlik and Maud Roedsmoen quite spectacularly (with the English speciality the Grand Prix attack of course!). Eleanor plays with a pleasing raw energy here is a position from Eleanor playing white in the second round against Maud Roedsmoen:
Eleanor has rather speculatively sacrificed a rook for a menacing and most probably unsound attack however her older opponent Maud does not sense the danger and carelessly recaptures the white knight with 16…cxd4 (16….Qxd4 was essential and the Queen can be used along the a1-h8 diagonal to protect its king)
Can you guess what followed?
17.f5! a devastating blow! Now Blacks position is hopeless
17..Kh8 18.fxg6! Rg8
at too late a stage her opponent realises that 18..fxg6 is not possible because of 19.Qe5+ winning from now on Eleanor is relentless.
19.Rxf7 Rg7 20.Qe5 Bf8 21.hxg7+ Kg8 22.Nf6+ Qxf6 23.Qxf6 Bd6 24.Rf8+ Bxf8 25.Qxf8#
Phoebe had a tough time and came 4th in the highest category however she actually played a lot of girls who are very experienced competitors – which made the event a fun but valuable chess lesson.
Final scores from our girls in Section A were:
Jennifer : 3.5/6 (fourth in the Kaddett)
Eleanor: 3/6 (seventh in the Kadett section)
Phoebe on 2.5/6 (fourth in the Ungdom section)
We had two girls competing in the Lilleputt section (girls under 13) Anna Purivs and Eva Ressel who were ranked third and fourth respectively. Favourite and top seed was Ingrid Greibrokk, who had defeated Eva at the U12 World Youth Girls and also held England’s Akshaya to a draw. However, the event despite promising to be quite closely fought quickly descended into the Eva show. When I first walked into the tournament hall on a late Saturday morning the first person I saw was Eva, rosy cheeked with a big smile on her face dashing around, “How did you get on?” “Oh I won” she replied before she continued on her travels. In the words of my room-mate Victoria (who is an incredibly strong player) a happy relaxed chess player makes a successful player!
Having trained Eva at the World Youth, I gave her the nickname “Endgame Queen” as she won most of her games in the endgame. In Norway, endgame or middle game, it didn’t matter, Eva won them all and finished with six points out of six! Eva’s regular coach Sabrina Chevannes has worked incredibly hard with Eva these last few months and their work together is paying off in dividends. I look forward to following her progress.
Eva won second prize in the beauty prize for the following game -
(1370836) Ressel,Eva (1462) – Lorem,Helene (1044)
Norgesmesterskapet for jenter Fauskanger – Askøy (2), 01.02.2013
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.f4 0–0 8.Nf3 a6 9.Qd2 [9.Bd3 is more commonly played forcing Black to do something about his king 9...f6 (as 9...c5 loses to 10.Bxh7+ Kxh7 11.Ng5+ Kg6 12.0–0 with the idea of playing Rf1–f3–g3 embarrassing the king further 12...f6) 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Qd2 c5 12.dxc5 Qxc5 13.0–0–0 Nc6 14.Kb1 b5 15.Ne2 b4 16.Ned4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Bd7 18.Rde1 Rfe8 19.Rhg1 a5 20.g4 Kh8 21.Qe3 a4 22.g5 Ne4 23.Bxe4 dxe4 24.Qxe4 a3 25.Rg3 Kg8 26.Rh3 g6 27.Qe5 Qb6 28.Rxh7 1–0 (28) Ibragimov,I (2565)-Murthy,P (2165) 10th Open, King's Island USA 2001]
9…c5 10.0–0–0 Nc6 11.Qf2 Nb4?! [interesting but I don't think its quite good enough] [starting the pawns rolling is more to the point. In these positions with opposite side castling, the person who gets going more often than not is the person who wins! 11...b5 something like the following could be a plausible continuation 12.h4 b4 13.Na4 c4 14.h5 c3 15.h6! (15.bxc3 would be a bad positional move as suddenly the black Queen has access to the White king. Only computers are allowed to get away with moves like this! ; if 15.b3 the typical french pawn break looks quite good. 15...f6 16.h6 g6 17.Qe3 f5) 15...cxb2+ 16.Nxb2 g6 17.g4 Nb6 18.Bd3 Na5 19.f5 Nac4 20.Rdf1 with a complicated position]
12.a3 Nc6 13.Bd3 h6 [13...b5 loses to 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg6 16.Qh4 and black loses]
14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.g4!? Nxd3+ 16.Rxd3 f6! 17.Qe3 [17.Re1 is more accurate. Black will not get to exchange queens and will instead have to suffer uncomfortable pressure in the centre. 17...fxe5 18.Nxe5 Nxe5 19.Rxe5 Qf6 20.Rf3 Bd7 21.h4 looks very pleasant and harmonious]
17…Bd7 18.h4 fxe5 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.Qxe5 Rf7?? [not a good move, Black hands the iniative on a plate to White] [20...Qf6! the best defensive try, a good defensive rule is to exchange off the attacking pieces. Since Black's king is beginning to look a little hot under the collar, black would be well advised to seek refuge in the endgame 21.Qxf6 Rxf6 22.f5 exf5 23.Nxd5 Rf7 24.g5 still looks more comfortable for white as after 24...h5 (24...Bc6 25.gxh6 gxh6 26.Rg1+ Kh7 27.Nf4) 25.g6 wins]
21.g5! 21…Raf8 [if 21...h5 Eva has the absolutely stunning 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.g6! Rff8 24.Qxh5 mating; 21...Rf5 also fails to the tactic 22.Nxd5 Rxe5 23.Nxe7+ Kf7 24.fxe5 winning]
22.Rf3? [missing 22.Nxd5 exd5 23.g6 and black loses the exchange]
22…hxg5?? [handing White a ready made attack down the h-file] [22...Rf5 and black is back in the game]
23.hxg5 Bc6?? [the final mistake] [23...Rf5 24.Qe2 (24.Rfh3 does not work because after 24...Rxe5 25.g6 black has the desperate 25...Re1+ winning) 24...Qd6 25.Qh2 Kf7 and black can still grovel on]
24.Rfh3 Rf5 25.g6 [and its mate]
25…Rxe5 26.Rh8# 1-0
Anna scored 3.5 points and finished in fourth place – it was a useful learning experience for Anna and one of her personal highlights was defeating the top seed Ingrid A.Greibrokk, in a well-played endgame. If one thing she learn’t my chess motto – “Mrs Safe and then push those pawns!”
1. Eva Ressel 6/6
2. Sara Naess 4/6
3. Regina Forsaa 3.5/6
4. Anna Purvis 3.5/6
5. Elise S. Jacobsen 3.5/6
Anna and her opponent Regina Forsaa won third place in the beauty prize for their encounter.
I consider this tournament an outstanding success for our girls, not only did the group really act as a team supporting each other and making valuable new friendships and experiences. From swinging on the ropes with their newfound Norwegian friends, hunting the Northern lights to standing on a podium with a huge chess trophy. Very importantly in chess terms it also gave them valuable international experience something that they can use to arm themselves when they all go on to play in the World and European events. I would also like to give my deepest thanks to the organisers who so very kindly allowed our girls to grab this opportunity and also to the John Robinson Trust Fund who made this trip affordable for the girls. Finally, I would like to mention the efforts of Sabrina and Lawrence who not only are amazing chess coaches but who also were of invaluable help on my very first role as an Organiser!
St Catherine’s School to host National Schools Girls’ Chess Championships 2013
This year St Catherine’s School Bramley is sponsoring the English Chess Federation National Schools Girls’ Championships, which will bring together the largest ever number of girls’ schools from across the UK in the quest to win the official ECF titles of ‘Under 11 Girls’ and ‘Under 19 Girls’ National Schools Chess Champions.
Andrew Martin, ECF Manager of Schools, says, ‘This unique event is the first of its kind. It is my hope that girls all over the country will have an opportunity to take up chess’. The Head Teacher of St Catherine’s School, Alice Phillips, is delighted that the school is taking such an active role in promoting participation in a game which has such well documented benefits for players.
“Not only does chess encourage the concentration and mental dexterity of our girls,” she said, “it also teaches them the social skills of winning and losing graciously and encourages them to persevere despite setbacks”.
Speaking about her enthusiasm for this event, Naomi Bartholomew, Head Teacher of St Catherine’s Prep School said that the school is delighted to be involved in such an innovative project and the first of its kind in the UK. Miss Bartholomew is keen to promote the playing of chess, even from a young age as it combines social benefits with enhanced mental stamina, focus and concentration. ‘It is wonderful to give the girls this opportunity to play chess and for them to develop a love of the game which can be a lifelong interest and be played at any age anywhere in the world.’
Holiday fun on the Rock!
- by Jovanka Houska
Gibraltar is a rather unique place, a lovely fusion between Spain and the United Kingdom: there are strong characteristics of the UK, but the imposing Rock, the sunshine and the monkeys that jump and play in the roads assures the visitor that this is certainly not the UK!
Gibraltar is fast becoming known for its Winter Chess Festival in late January/February where several of the top players compete for some rather magnificent chess prizes. Last year, the Winter Chess Festival introduced its little sister – the Summer Chess Festival (partnered with the Gibraltar Government and the educational charity Kusuma Trust) held with the same objectives: great prizes, great chess tournament, great experience but this time for juniors!
I cannot stress enough how unique and wonderful this tournament is; the emphasis of this tournament is not just about packing as many juniors as possible into a dingy sports hall. This tournament is about providing juniors with a chess holiday – some of the activities organised include a Rock and Dolphin Tour all topped off with a closing banquet! The Kusuma Trust is an educational trust for children so very much in the spirit of this tournament, four visiting professionals: Grandmaster’s Pia Cramling, Juan Bellon-Lopez, Stuart Conquest and myself gave popular evening master classes. As well as being there to give advice and help to any junior who requests it, we also, with the assistance of Grandmaster Raymond Keene gave a Simultaneous Display to over fifty players – juniors and parents included! It must be said that such was the strength of the juniors (and parents) that none of us managed a clean sweep on our boards!
The Chess Tournament itself is split into two sections – the Under 12 and Under 16. Within these sections there are very generous prizes (£1000, £900 for 1st place in the Under 16 and Under 12 respectively) as well as age prizes and in addition two girl prizes of £350.
Starting with the younger section, the tournament was won convincingly by Alejandro Perez Garcia with 5½ points out of 6. In joint second, special mention must go to Celia Girlis Onieva from Spain who finished in joint second place with 4½ points and to finish as the best placed girl. However as a player can only win one money prize, the actual £300 money prize was shared between Ana Cramling Bellon (daughter of the visiting Grandmaster’s Pia and Juan) and Asha Jina from England who finished on 3½ points. Asha Jina had a very successful tournament in the end almost defeating Ana in the last round. I am sure we will be hearing much more about the achievements of all three girls, I must also add that there was also some Gibraltarian girls playing under the banner of England (Gibraltar doesn’t have its own chess federation). With chess now being actively promoted in Gibraltarian schools, I am certain we will see more and more girls from the Rock taking on the Chess World!
The Under 16 tournament, from the outset looked as though it would be dominated by the Hungarian FM Benjamin Gledura who was rated over three hundred points over his nearest rival. However English and Spanish Juniors are terribly underrated and Benjamin did not have an easy ride at all. A draw to Spaniard Carlos Garcia De Lomas Guerrero meant that that both Benjamin and Carlos shared first place on 5½ out of 6. In fact it was Carlos who with a better tiebreak pipped the Hungarian FM to the title!
Four girls entered into the Under 16 girls but it was two girls, Faber Cup team mates Jennifer Ehr and Cosima Keen who impressed achieving performances significantly above their actual ratings. 13 year old Cosima narrowly edged out good friend Jennifer to win the Girls Prize. Cosima scored 3½ points from 6 and a performance of 1949 255 points above her current rating of 1694. Her highlight of the event was defeating one of the top seeds Miles Edwards-Wright with some stubborn defence and then a vicious counter-attack.
Jennifer in contrast had a heart-breaking tournament although she finished on 3/6 ; she was within a whisker of defeating the eventual tournament winner Garcia De Lomas Guerrero and actually was winning nearly all of her games. However these are all promising signs and I am sure with some more hard work we will definitely be reading more on both these girls!
It has been confirmed that there will be a Junior Event in August and I can wholeheartedly recommend this tournament to absolutely anyone, where else can you find the unique combination of chess, friendship, sunshine, dolphins and monkeys?
Girl Power at the European Youth Championships in Prague 2012
– from WFM Sarah Hegarty
Seven of England’s strongest female chess players have just returned from a successful trip to Prague. They were competing in the prestigious European Youth Chess Championships where they challenged leading players from all over Europe.
The girls were enthusiastic and must be commended on how much effort they put into doing well. They are all top of their respective age groups in England but the standard of chess in this international event is extremely high with no easy games! The most notable performance was by Akshaya who scored 6/9 and finished in 14th place; an outstanding performance where she only lost one game.
Laura, Beatrice and Eva made their international debuts! Beatrice was delighted to have the opportunity to compete against a Women Grand Master and was proud of an excellent 4.5/9. Eva played some fantastic chess and had nice wins against Luxembourg, Moldova and Macedonia. Laura played some brilliant attacking games and scored 4 points against a very tough field including players from Italy, Estonia and Poland. This was an excellent performance especially since Laura was a year younger than most of the other girls in her section!
This was Meytal’s second international event having already represented England in the World Schools Chess Championships earlier this year. She thoroughly enjoyed it and played some great chess. The hardest part was having to play an Israeli girl as Meytal was born in Israel and lived the first two years of her life there. However, there are no friends over the chessboard; Meytal played a lovely game and won!
Amy is experienced as an international player and had a successful tournament including an excellent game against the top seed from Hungary. Chantelle and Katherine also did well in the U16 section against a tough field.
It was pleasing to see that the girls all enjoyed themselves and supported each other; their spirits always stayed high regardless of the results. My coaching group consisted of Laura, Eva and Meytal who were all great students and a pleasure to work with!
Laura Davidson who was competing in the U10 Girls has written a short piece on her experiences in Prague:
“The EYCC in Prague was great fun. I met some interesting ‘chess’ friends from other European countries. Some of us swapped email addresses, so hopefully we can stay in touch and play chess online.
The coaches were brilliant! I was coached by Sarah Hegarty. She spent lots of time coaching me in the morning before my games and analysing them afterwards, in the evening. Sarah was also coaching my friends, Meytal and Eva. Sometimes we would sit together in the afternoons and play chess.
Sarah and my mum kept telling me to drink lots of water during my games because it was so hot in the playing hall. Also all my opponents swapped small gifts with me before the start of each game.
It was exciting in the evenings, waiting to see which country and opponent you would be playing the next day. I would do it all the time if I could. I wish all competitions were such fun!”
In round 2 all three of my students won beautiful attacking games – who says girls can’t attack?
Girls at the British
For two weeks, a place in Britain becomes the focus of British Chess and many people, be they, young, old, male or fight it out to become British Champion in their respective categories. This year, the action took place in North Shields, one of the most northern venues in England, the British has ever been played While North Shields may not by itself have been the most exciting place, the Championships boasted an excellent venue and a close location to the picturesque town of Tynemouth and vibrant city of Newcastle. Of course, many thanks and congratulations go to the Tournament Organiser Lara Barnes and her team for organising such a wonderful event!
The British Championships are separated into several tournaments: the Championship Event which lasts 11 days (and also incorporates the u18 and u21 junior championships) and the Major Open and other weekend events. The Junior Championships are week long affairs but split into the age categories: under 16, u14, u13, u12, u11, u10, u9 with the youngest category being the under 8s, into each age group incorporates a girls Championship. It is these titles I will be focusing on in the report. The Junior Championships can be both a rewarding but tough experience but the juniors seemed unfazed by the sheer amount of chess, with many playing in not just two of the week long events every morning but also the Championship and Major Open in the afternoons!
As mentioned, the under 18 and under 21 junior championships are incorporated into the Main British Championship, which meant that the juniors had to satisfy the entry level requirements in order to play. This year, two of our leading U16 girls Radha Jain and Amy Hoare made their debuts into this extremely tough event. Radha scored 4/11 to win the u18 girls prize taking some big scalps along the way. Her highlight of the event was beating Don Mason rated roughly 376 points above her! Here is her smooth victory with very light notes below:
Mason,D (2244) – Jain,R (1868) [D15]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Sc3 Sf6 4.Sf3 a6 5.c5 Lf5 6.Sh4?! White is confusing systems. This move is not challenging to Black at all – black would rather exchange the traditional problem piece rather than have it trapped on c8 [6.Lf4 is more standard 6...Sbd7 7.e3 and now black will play to achieve a pawn break on e5. ] 6…Lg6 7.Sxg6 hxg6 8.e3? not the best. White must really try and do his utmost to prevent Black from securing the pawn break e7-e5 [8.Db3 Dc8 9.Lf4 Sh5 looks better] 8…Sbd7 9.Ld2 e5! Very thematic! Now black has achieved this break with little problems. Radha stands fine 10.Le2 Le7 11.h3 Dc7 12.b4 0–0 13.0–0 Sh7!? an interesting manouevre to activate the dark squared bishop. Black’s target is clear the d4 pawn! 14.Db3 Lf6 15.dxe5 Lxe5 16.Tad1 Tfe8 17.Lc1 Sdf8 18.f4? this is just madness. White desperate for a plan lashes out but saddles himself with a weak e3 pawn. Black’s plan is now simple and what I call CRD.. Control (place pieces opposite i) , Restrain (stop it advancing) and Destroy [18.Lb2 would have been my choice but black with the open e-file and nice squares on e4, c4 and f5 for the knights definitely has the nicer game ] 18…Lf6 19.Lf3 Se6 20.e4?? blundering a pawn. From now on Radha is just relentless 20…Sd4 21.Db1 Sxf3+ 22.Txf3 Lxc3 23.Txc3 Txe4! Controlling the only open file 24.Tf3 Tae8 25.f5 gxf5 26.Txf5 Dg3 27.Tdf1 Te2 28.T5f2 Txf2 and White cannot avoid mate[28...Txf2 29.Txf2 Te1+ 30.Tf1 Te2] 0–1
Whilst Amy struggled in the Championships only managing one point, this was a great learning experience for her and one that she can come back stronger.
In the Major Open, the only girl playing was Chantelle Foster, however she completed a very successful summer by scoring a very impressive 6 points from 11, with a rating performance of 1989 a full 175 points above her current rating of 1809. Here is an example of her aggressive style:
Foster,Chantelle L (1809) – Edwards-Wright,Miles D (1983
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Lg7 3.Sc3 d6 4.Le3 a6 5.Dd2 b5 6.h4!? a very poisonous anti-modern line. White’s idea is very clear, he begins the attack on the kingside before black can gain adequate counterplay on the queenside. The dilemma for black becomes should I let the h-pawn advance or not? 6…h5?! Miles decides that the h-pawn will not advance but the downside to this move is that White will establish a white knight on g5 which will not be easy to expel. In addition Black can no longer seek safety on the kingside anymore. 7.Sh3! correct the knight heads to g5 7…Lb7 8.Sg5 Sf6 9.f3 Sbd7 10.0–0–0 b4? not correct. Black really needs to get c7-c5 in order to make distract White’s kingside attack [10...c5 11.dxc5 dxc5 12.e5 Sxe5 13.Dxd8+ Txd8 14.Txd8+ Kxd8 15.f4 Seg4 16.Sxf7+ Ke8 17.Sxh8; 10...0–0 looks suicidal but black is preparing the counter-strike c7-c5. 11.g4 c5! (11...hxg4 maybe okay for computers but not for mere-mortals. Playing with an exposed king is not fun! 12.h5 gxh5 13.fxg4 hxg4 14.Ld3 b4 15.Sd5 and white is attacking) 12.gxh5! cxd4 with a complicated position(12...Sxh5 13.dxc5 Da5 14.cxd6 Lxc3 15.Dxc3 Dxa2 16.dxe7 and the e-pawn is too powerful) ] 11.Se2 a5? White will be attacking with all her army, black will be attacking with….two pawns. Its basic mathematics! This is the wrong pawn push 12.Sf4!? [12.e5 natural and very good, the rest of the sequence is forced and easy to calculate 12...dxe5 13.dxe5 Sxe5 14.Dxd8+ Txd8 15.Txd8+ Kxd8 16.f4 Seg4 17.Sxf7+ Kd7 18.Sxh8 Sxe3 19.Sxg6 and black is lost] 12…Sf8 13.d5 white is threatening an unpleasant check on b5. From now on every single move Chantelle makes either improves her position or conceals a threat, exactly how one should play when they have the initiative! 13…Lc8 14.Lc4 S6d7 15.Lb5 La6 16.Lc6 Tb8 17.La7! Tb7 18.Ld4 Tg8 19.Lxg7 Txg7 20.Sfe6 fxe6 21.dxe6 Tb6 22.exd7+ Sxd7 23.Se6 Db8 24.Sxg7+ 1–0
As the Junior Championships were played in the morning, it was possible to follow the games live on the internet, it was very clear to see that the overall standard was not only pretty high but pretty fierce too.
The under 16 event was the toughest event in terms of competition with a hotbed of talent five England Internationals, Radha Jain, Maria Wang, Chantelle Foster, Katherine Shepherd and Louise Head all fought hard to win the Girls U16 title. From the beginning it appeared that Maria Wang would be the runaway leader after scoring 3 points out of 4. However it was Chantelle Foster who won the title with 4.5 points from 7,her win in the last round meant she snuck past Maria. Special mention must go to Maria who had a great tournament and had been fighting amongst the overall leaders for the most of the tournament. Chantelle however displayed a remarkable fighting spirit she came back from a slow start to win her final three games.
In the Under 14, four girls competed, rising star 11 year old Akshaya Kalaiyahan along with Cosima Keen, Jessica Wen and Zoe Strong. In the end it was a three-way tie between Akshaya, Cosima and Jessica each scoring 3.5 points from 7 although both Cosima and Jessica both received full point byes due to an odd number of players.
The Under 13 event saw a splendid performance by Anna Wang who finished the tournament with 5 out of 7 to come in third place. I must also mention that Anna came very close to winning the overall event, however a loss in the sixth round ended her chances of overall victory. However she bounced back from this loss to defeat the top seed William Claridge-Hansen in the final round. Other results from the girls In 8th place Cosima Keen 4 points and the improving Eleanor Hapeshi finished on 2.5 points.
In the Under twelve section, there was a wonderful array of participants from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, a very promising sign for the United Kingdom in general! As you can imagine the competition was very strong, so strong it would have been difficult to pick a favourite. Indeed in the final round there was a four way tie for first place between Monica Espinosa (Scotland), Eva Ressel (England) Imogen Camp and Ayssa Wang (both Wales). In a nail-biting finish it was Monica Espinosa from Scotland and England’s own Eva Ressel who both won their final round to secure victory and share the title.
Other Girls’ Scores:
Anna Purvis (ENG) 3.5, Cassie Graham (ENG), Imogen Camp (WLS) and Alyssa Wang (WLS), Mhuiregagain, Eibhia Ni (IRL) 3. Lottie Gill (ENG) 0
In contrast to the tough competition in the under 12, the Under 11 title was won very convincingly by massive talent Akshaya Kalaiyalahan with 5 points out of 7. For all of the event, Akshaya was in the running for the overall under 11 title however a loss in the late stages of the tournament cost her first place and she had to be content with third place. Another name to watch though is Elizabeth Ivanov who didn’t finish too far behind Akshaya with 4.5/7 and Asha Jina who finished on 3/7.
The Under 10 girls title was won by Stephanie Du Toit from Wales, who also deservedly won the Roy Clues Prize for the best performance by a Welsh player. She scored an impressive 4.5 out of 7. Anita Somton (who also competed in the under 9 and under 8 events) came second with 3.5 points. Other girls scores:
Megan Chan (IRL) 3 /7 Emily Wang (WLS) 2.5/7 Gabrielle Dawson 1.5/7
In the Under 9 section, 9 girls competed for the Girls title which went to Mahima Raghavendra who scored a magnificent 5 points out of 9 to finish on eighth place, a fantastic achievement! In the last round she defeated one of the grading favourites for the overall title Aditya Verma, graded 71 points above her! Isabelle Gilbert and Laura Davidson finished second with respectable 3.5 points from 7.
The Under 8 Girls title was won by Arushi Ramiya on 4.5/7, ahead of Eva Wang, the youngest of the three Wang Sisters, (Maria and Anna) who finished on 4/7. Arushi finished in overall sixth place which is a great achievement for someone with an estimated starter grade of 40 – 95 grading points less than the overall winner.
Eva Wang 4/7 | Anita Somton, Thivyaa Rahulan, Venetia Sivarajasingam 3/7 | Georgia Headlong 2 | Jamie Ashworth 1
- Jovanka Houska
ECF activities for girls’ chess are led by the Managers of Women’s Chess, IM Jovanka Houska and WFM Sabrina Chevannes.
National Girls’ Champions
Under 18: Sheila Dines
Under 16: Jennifer Ehr
Under 14: Katherine Shepherd
Under 12: Cosima Keen, Beatrice Steele, Naomi Wei
Under 10: Elizabeth Ivanov
Under 8: Isabelle Gilbert
For a report from last year’s championship finals, see Sabrina Chevannes’ website. Sabrina is organising another set of regional rapidplays followed by a championship finals tournament in which the 2012 National Girls’ Champions will be crowned. Watch this space and Sabrina’s website for details.