Done and dusted – the European Youth Rapid and Blitz

Full results can be found here —
Meet the team here – lots of them —

HoD’s report
The English Chess Federation sent its largest ever Junior delegation to this event, comprising 54 players. This is perhaps less surprising when you consider there were three separate Tournaments – European Youth Rapidplay Championship, European Youth Blitz Championship and European Youth Rapidplay Team Championship – and those subdivided into 6 age categories, further split into girls and open.
Estonia laid on a great venue at the Hotel Sokos Viru in Tallinn, with the playing hall decked out with flags of the 27 nations taking part. There was a palpable sense of excitement as delegations arrived, some extremely well funded. Russia arrived escorted by Valerij Popov GM, former winner of the adult European Rapidplay Championship and now coach to the youth team. The England delegates knew they were in for an intense and tough event with those taking part in all 3 events facing a total of 25 games ahead.

European Youth Rapidplay Championship
The Rapidplay consisted of 9 rounds, under time control of 15mins + 10second increment. As expected, Russia dominated, winning 5 out of 6 girl’s age categories and 3 out of 6 open age categories. Great credit goes to our strongest performing delegates in each category –
U14 Open Bobby Akeya-Price 5/9; U12Open Adam Tarling 5/9; U12 Girls Reya Karpe 3.5/9; U10 Open Conall McBrinn 6.5/9; U10 Girls Elis Denele Dicen 6/9; U8 Open Billy Fellowes 6.5/9; U8 Girls Amya Hetal Patel 4/9
With further impressive performances from the following England players, who all finished on half points or higher, with very few western Europeans finishing higher – Giulio Sahinoz, Mohammed Aayan Ismail, Edward Jackson, Ivan Chetverikov, Shlok Verma, Denis Dupuis, Theo Khoury, Yunus Ahmed, Zain Patel, Philip Wood, Mae Katelyn Rose Catabay, Alexander Linton, Patrick Damodaran, Kameron Grose, Aayush Dewangan, Alfred Soulier, Anirudh Muppidi, Cian Ward.

European Youth Blitz Championship
The Blitz consisted of 9 rounds, under time control of 3 mins + 2 second increment. This was significantly tougher for our Under 8s and Under 12s, as the age groups were merged into only U18, U14 and U10. Congratulations to the top England performers –
U14 Open Bobby Akeya-Price & Kennan Kesterson 5/9; U14 Girls Reya Karpe & Rosa Zeng 3/9; U10 Open Aayush Dewangan, Denis Dupuis & Lior Yedid 6/9; U10 Girls Elis Denele Dicen 6/9.
Impressive performances from the following, all finishing on half points or higher – Mohammed Aayan Ismail, Edward Jackson, Adam Tarling, Lucas Barnett-Harris, Joe Hirst, Joseph Whelan, Conall McBrinn, Billy Fellowes, Shlok Verma, Kai Millar, Louis Salussolia, Zain Patel, Kazumasa Nakano, Patrick Damodaran, Benjamin Moser, Royce Zeng, Mae Katelyn Rose Catabay.

European Youth Rapidplay Team Championship
For many, the team event was the highlight of the trip. Teams of 4 were formed. They bonded, discussed games between rounds and encouraged each other. There were 7 rounds of 10 min + 5 second increment. Congratulations to the top performing teams. In the Under 10 age category team ‘English Kings’ [below], comprising Shlok Verma, Patrick Damodaran, Denis Dupuis and Aayush Dewangan, finished 9th out of 44.

Congratulations also to top performing Under 14 team, England A, comprising Bobby Akeya-Price, Kennan Kesterson, Mohammed Aayan Ismail and Edward Jackson, together finishing 15th in the older age group.

England can be proud of its delegation, with impeccable behaviour and strong chess. Many young players left inspired and motivated. Friendships made and experiences to treasure. The venue had great facilities, plenty of space for parents and coaches and even boasted a KGB museum. During the Soviet era, this hotel was the only one in Estonia allowed to host western guests. The KGB occupied an entire floor for ‘monitoring’ purposes. Today this is a museum, where the delegates learned that life was very different for Estonians just a few decades ago.
After the tournament finished, many had the chance to explore the beautiful old town of Tallinn with its 15th century walls, defensive towers and cobbled main square hosting a Christmas market. The entire England delegation enjoyed the experience.