Gigafinal | Match Report
In this year’s UK Chess
Challenge Jake, Izzie and Marianne all qualified
for the Gigafinal in Reading. This year’s
competition was as tough as usual.
Marianne started with a win
which meant she met Akshaya Kalaiyalahan in the
2nd round – last year’s winner with a perfect
6/6 and a grade of 141. After a long battle she
came out – delighted – with a draw! Still the
penalty of doing well is still more tough
competition and the next round brought England
player Anna Purvis and a loss. Still, great
experience and she won a further two matches to
end on 3.5 and got the all-important rosette.
Izzie was feeling unwell most of the day and
played 6 matches on a virtually empty stomach.
Not an ideal scenario but still each match
lasted nearly the full hour and she managed two
draws and won the friendly she played during a
Jake: I was feeling
reasonably confident after winning the Megafinal
with 6 from 6. Rounds 1, 2 and 3 resulted in
straightforward victories. This included beating
the 2012 board one for Oxfordshire.
Unfortunately, the next two rounds I was up
against two England players. Round 4 proved to
be too tough a test against Jackson Wen; round 5
against Jake Liang (an ECF 157 rated player)
resulted in a similar fate. The last round
finished with a comfortable victory. No
Terafinal this year then! However, 4 wins did
allow qualification to the newly founded “Silver
Plate South 2012”.
Silver Plate South | Match Report
A new development this
year was the follow up Silver Plate competition
for those scoring 3.5 or more but not ending in
the top 3 places. Both Jake and Marianne
qualified for this and decided to enter.
Marianne had to play in the U13s as the age
sections were different.
Here’s Marianne’s report:
I was also the only U13 girl
as four others couldn’t make it so therefore I
was mixed within the boys making it a tough
challenge. After losing my first match against
the overall winner I then had to play a friend
from Oxfordshire which wasn’t such a satisfying
win. The next matches were people all graded
above 100 and I was happy about getting 2.5 of
the remaining 4. So I ended on 3.5 which
would’ve given me a rosette if I wasn’t the U13
girls champion. This came with a silver plate
and £25 as well.
Here’s Jake’s report:
The Preparation: I had
put in some meticulous planning in the build up
to this event. Firstly, when I was asked on
Friday morning whether I should start to play
some chess (having done some on Thursday), I
decided to spend the day on the sofa playing
video games and reading football books. My claim
was that this would enable me to start
‘thinking’ in preparation for the competition.
Friday evening was spent late in the local curry
house celebrating the homecoming of my older
brother from University. The on the day of the
competition itself, we foolishly set off to
Surrey at 7:15am. It no longer felt like a good
idea when we arrived at the venue a full one
hour before the start! However, on the upside,
we had somewhere to sit which was not in the
corridor (as many families ended up doing).
Jakob Holton vs. Kartik Velayudham
The Prize: the
opportunity to represent England at the 2013
European Schools Chess Championship! I was in
the U11 boys section.
Round 1: was against
the only player I played that had a grade lower
than myself. It started with a French-style
opening and I slowly won more and more material
throughout the match.
Round 2: turned out to
be a tough test, but as the game progressed my
opponent eventually cracked under pressure and
lost to a King-Queen knight fork.
Round 3: I played the
Steinitz Defence following the Ruy Lopez, which
resulted in an even game until he fell into my
trap and lost his knight and potentially a
couple of pawns in the next few moves. He
Round 4: As black, I
played against the highest graded player in my
U11s, but after a couple of errors from my
opponent I had a strong advantage, and I went on
Round 5: In this game,
although I was dominant throughout, it also
turned out to be full of missed opportunities
(so I was told later). Playing white I started
solidly. The opening was a King’s Indian
Defence. On move 12 black moved his pawn to f6,
weakening his pawn structure. Unfortunately,
instead of playing the much stronger d6 (my
first mistake), I played Bc4, okay but not
great. He then mistakenly took e5 instead of
blocking with d6 (we are all making mistakes
now!). On move 14 I still don’t move d6 (second
mistake), and in the process lose most of the
advantage! I then gradually built up advantage
again. On move 23 instead of following up Qf7 +,
following his blunder Knight d4 with e7... I
play c3 giving up all advantage (third mistake)
again and end up exchanging the queen. On move
26 black plays b6 and the advantage was back and
the end was close for black. Eventually a win
and a tournament win on progression!
Round 6: Playing
without any pressure certainly helped me in the
last match, as I cruised through to win after
only 20 minutes as a result of confidence and a
The result: 6 wins from 6,
£25, a silver plate and an opportunity to
represent school and country somewhere in Greece
(possibly – so my Dad says)!
As a footnote: Mike Basman
was surprised to see two children from the same
unknown school winning! A special thanks to all
the Witney folks for putting in the time on a
Monday night with the kids.
Marianne, Catriona, Jake