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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 bye.


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).



Rd5: 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 resigned immediately!


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 to win.


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 nervous opponent.


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 and David.

Sept 2012. 





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