– from Catherine Finn
The England Delegation of 7 coaches, 25 players and 19 supporters arrived yesterday in Novi Sad. With just hours to go to departure, there was a last minute change of coach with WFM Meri Grigoryan, fresh from the World Schools in Greece, taking Richard’s place due to a sporting injury sustained this week. Get well soon Richard!
Despite tiring journeys out yesterday, and the shock of stepping off the plane into near-tropical heat of Belgrade, the players were up early for breakfast and their first coaching sessions. After the team briefing, players were presented with silver England badges by their coaches then off to the venue, and the Opening Ceremony in the spectacular, but hot, atrium. With temperatures outside soaring to 38°C, parents rushed out to buy bottles of water, worried about the effect the heat would have on their children.
With 274 participants from 13 national federations, this is the largest European Schools championship to date. For most of the team it is their first time representing England but they are coping well. Communication has sometimes been a slight problem with a couple of players not sure if their opponent was resigning or offering a draw. Sensibly they called an arbiter over and recorded a win.
First out, and with a win, was Raffy in the under 9s, followed not long after by brother Reuben, and then Leo, Jason and Ethan. As the under 9s finished their games with 3 wins out of 5, parents of many older children were still waiting anxiously in the coffee bar. Tim, Lawrence and Mahima came back with draws, and Charlie with a win after over 3 hours. With final victories from Jonathan, Vincent and Gabriel, the team finished the day with 9 wins and 3 draws, and some tremendous play and long, thoughtful games from the players. As the pairings go up for tomorrow, we’re pleased to see no all-England pairings, unlike today.
Meet the team here | Official website here | Twitter feed here
The ESCC 2013 Twitter feed can also be followed on the left of this site!