EYCC 2017

Team England wearing their shirts with pride before the start of round 2

Congratulations to the entire squad at the EYCC2017 for their sterling perfomances. In particular, Shreyas Royal [below] and Shlok Verma [below] who came second and seventh respectively in the Under 8s!

Eight-year-old English chess prodigy Shreyas Royal finished second to Hungary’s Giang Tran Nam with both players finishing on 8 out of 9 points but the Hungarian achieved first place on tiebreak. In August he also gained an excellent fourth-place finish in the World Cadets Chess Championships Under 8 tournament in Pocos de Caldas Brazil. He is already the youngest ever English titled player having gained the Candidate Master (CM) title in 2016 when seven years old and his current FIDE (world chess governing body) rating is 1700.

Shlok continued his form from British Championship where he had won the  U8 section and had come third in U10 section to give a splendid performance in EYCC.. Shlok ended up with an impressive score of 7/9 making him joint 3rd (7th on tie break) in the tough competition.  

Round 9 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

The last round was simply remarkable!

The U8 section has been exciting all through the tournament. Shreyas and Shlok have played so well and going into the last round Shreyas was vying for the top spots. He won his final game in style finishing tied for the lead on points and second overall on tie break. This was a wonderful performance so soon after his trip to Brazil. Well done Shreyas!

We had wins from Shlok (finishing on 7/9 and just outside the medals) Savin, Kian, Charlie, Elliott, Akito and Ravi. There were draws from Shyam, Kishan and Alex.

Just Lavanya’s result to come; after 5 hours of play she emerged triumphant. This brought to close the England teams account finishing with 9 wins, 3 draws and no losses. On any day this is a great achievement but especially satisfying in the final round.

It just remains to say well done again to all the players and heartfelt thanks to our coaches Dagne Ciuksyte, Meri Grigoryan and Charles Storey for all their support and encouragement.

Thanks also to Traci, Gary and Andrew of the ECF for their support prior and during the event.

Finally, we wish Ravi Haria all the best in the World Youth Chess Championship in.Uruguay. Ravi is back in England for just 4 hours before catching his flight to Montevideo – good luck Ravi …

Round 8 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

Round 8 was certainly our toughest day. They say the last three rounds can be the toughest and we felt it today.

The highlights of the day were two very satisfactory wins for Shlok and Alex and well fought draws by Savin, Elliott, Akito and Ravi. In Shlok’s game he was ready for his opponent’s gambit opening. After some great play he entered the end game a pawn up. The win was far from guaranteed but Shlok maintained his fine play to seal point number 6.

Alex had an long game. He showed great patience to wear down his opponent by slowly gaining advantage throughout the game. Alex as always was extremely modest about his play but had clearly demonstrated the flexibility in his approach to match the demands of the game.

Savin was up against a higher grade player. This was his longest game by some margin. In a tight game the draw was a fair result with both player showing some excellent play.

Elliott was playing a Spanish FM. His play has improved as the tournament progressed. Such was Elliot’s confidence he was initially a bit disappointed with the draw but on reflection and analysis the realised he had played a great game.

Akito and Ravi both drew their games. Both players have been exemplary examples to the younger players. In some respects it has been easy to overlook their efforts since they describe their games with great humility showing the utmost respect for their opponents.

A tough day but all are in good spirits and are looking forward to the final round.

Round 7 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

The sun is still shining and so are our players. 

Kian was our first result of the day: he out manoeuvred his opponent in opening and achieved a slight advantage in middle game with a better position. In response, his Romanian opponent played a neat tactic to equalise the position and follow up to win an exchange for a pawn. Kian dug in deep and in the endgame held off his opponent to force a draw following 50 moves without capture or pawn move.

Kishan surprised his opponent in the opening but unfortunately still achieved a worse position with some inaccuracies in the opening. However, Kishan was able to capitalize on his opponent’s poor time management and entered a knight end game a pawn up to secure the win.

Shlok has played extremely well in the tournament and was unlucky in round 6 when he let the game slip from his grasp. In round 7 he again played well against a strong defence and was always in control. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to break through and had to settle for the draw. A good tally and still plenty to play for in rounds 8 and 9 (last round).

Savin was playing black and came out of the opening with a small advantage. He opened up his opponent’s king and won a pawn with a nice tactic. He won a second pawn in the end game and with that, the win.

Alex played a tactical game today sacrificing two pawns in the middle game to gain a small advantage. He ended a pawn up in an endgame. His opponent tried for a checkmate to salvage the position but lost a piece in the process giving Alex a decisive advantage and a straightforward win.

Charlie came out of the opening with a slight advantage following some inaccuracies by his opponent. He contained his opponent who became cramped. Charlie evaded his opponent’s tactics and entered end game 4 pawns up for an inevitable win.

Elliot sacrificed 3 pawns for positional compensation and an initiative. He had a strong attack but his opponent was perhaps fortunate to escape to a drawn rook and knight ending. He played well against a strong French player so overall, a satisfying draw.

Shreyas powers on having had a great game against one of worlds top U8s. When he needed to defend, he defended well but was able to gain the imitative to put his opponent on the back foot. The end game required accurate play but Shreyas was well in control. He had held a time advantage and patiently played out the win to finish the round 7/7.

In summary, a great day, 5 wins and 3 draws with two days to play. 

Even in some of our losses we saw some good play, offering plenty of encouragement for the last two rounds.

Round 6 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

Round 6 was a tough day; a few games were lost from promising positions leaving a few players frustrated but a respectable team score nonetheless. 

We had some great wins; Kian was first to emerge. He played well from the beginning and quickly established a strong position and with his confidence rising, quickly pushed on for the win. 

Shreyas was playing top board and for most of the game the outcome hung in the balance. Facing a tricky end game, Shreyas showed great tenacity to promote and win. 6/6 is great achievement and a board 1 encounter against the top seed awaits.

Within two hours Savin appeared with a broad grin. He was on the back foot to begin with but recovered in the middle game before playing the end game strongly and his forth point. 

In Kishan’s game his opponent made a serious mistake in the opening but unfortunately Kishan could not capitalize on it. In the middlegame his opponent sacrificed 2 pawns for an attack that shouldn’t have worked but in time pressure Kishan decided to give back the material to subdue the attack. The game ended in a draw.

Charlie had an equal position out of the opening but an error in the middle game put him on the back foot. He fought back but time was becoming a factor for both players. With the time control several moves away both players were happy with a draw. 

Elliott clearly enjoyed his game today. Not only a win but some satisfying play. He had a small advantage from the opening but with black’s king stuck in the centre, Elliot’s attack was overwhelming.

4 wins and 2 draws, team England is looking to bounce back tomorrow. As Tigger says, ‘… it’s not how fast you run or how high you climb, it’s how far you bounce!’

Round 5 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

Round 5 saw Lavanya, Kian and Charlie bounce back. Lavanya had another strong opponent who quickly gained advantage in the opening and won a pawn on the Queens-side. However, this was not followed up with a suitable strategy resulting in some misplaced pieces. Lavanya launched a King-side offensive and delivered a beautiful checkmate on the ‘H file’ by sacrificing her Queen!

Kian had a painful wait for his victory as his opponent spent what must have felt like an eternity pouring over the board trying to find a way out of a mate in two. Eventually, having explored the possibilities, he admitted defeat and allowed Kian to play out the winning moves. 

Charlie had a closed position where all 8 pawns were still on the board. He came up with a good middle game strategy but at some point lost tempo. Fortunately his opponent did not take advantage and having outpost squares Charlie slowly ground his Azerbaijani opponent down in the endgame and delivered a checkmate through a mating net by his Rook and Knight.

An interesting game for Ravi. He misplayed the opening giving his opponent had a slight edge. In his words ‘a dubious attack on his King almost worked’ but Ravi admitted to missing a tactical win and eventually this all led to a drawn ending. 

Elliot was playing black against a very cautious opponent and came out of the opening with a slight advantage. His opponent played solidly thereafter giving Elliott few opportunities to attack. Reflecting on the game he had hoped his opponent would have been more ambitious but nonetheless solid play to take into round 6 and another half point.

Alex had a slightly frustrating day. He was feeling better but having been ahead out of the opening, he allowed a strong position to slip which allowed his opponent the opportunity to defend and force a draw. 

Shyam’s opponent surprised him in the opening. The position became tricky but Shyam managed to win a pawn in the complications and maintained this small advantage in the end game to win. 

Finally, the Shrez and Shlok keep coming up with the goods. Shreyas played an excellent game, as those watching on line have already observed. He started comfortably using well prepared opening theory, continued to progress before easily converted the Rook endgame by storming his passed pawns. His 5/5 has him leading the event with four to play. 

Shlok also executed his preparation perfectly and showed great tenacity against the top seed. Shlok slowly outplayed his strong Ukrainian opponent, one of the worlds best under 8s, to edge an advantage. Although a pawn up in the end game, Shlok just couldn’t find a way through and he had to settle for a draw but nonetheless he had played a great game. 

Another good tally from Team England; 5 wins and 4 draws. A rest day on Sunday (all the players and the coaches have worked very hard) and then the last 4 games with plenty to play for. 

If you have the time, check out the live boards on Chess24

Round 4 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

Round 4 and for Shlok and Shrez two great wins. The standard of chess is amazing, its easy to forget they are under 8s! Shreyas had another comfortable opening where his opponent created a weak ‘e’ pawn and failed to deliver it. He then launched an attack on the 7th rank and won the game. In Shlok’s game, having won back two pawns the game began to swing in his favour before his opponent’s seemingly routine took move allowed Shlok to pounce and go a rook up whilst swapping off the Queens. From then on he played solid chess and patiently moved to a comfortable win.

Akito is now in his stride and recorded back to back wins. He felt he had been out prepared and so found himself defending from middle game onwards. In the endgame, his opponent got into time trouble and over pushed allowing Akito’s passed pawns to break through for the win. 

Kashim’s perseverance paid off as he recorded his first win. He has remained positive at all times which is to his credit. It was a game that he commanded from the start and felt comfortable throughput. 

Alex was a little under the weather which was reflected in an uncharacteristic game from him. In such a competitive field it was a reminder of how even marginal differences can have a big effect upon performance. Hopefully he will be back to feeling his best in round 5.

Savin was in fine form. He as well prepared for his opponent and looked confident from the beginning. From then on he outplayed his opponent with some neat tactics to land point number three. 

Ravi had an extraordinary game where he quickly found himself on the back foot. He defended well against an opponent who saw an opportunity to win on time. This may have been unwise with Ravi turning the tables to a winning position. Regrettably time was still a factor and Ravi was unable to execute in the time remaining. The draw was probably a fair result in what Ravi later described as a ‘crazy game’.

Finally, Shyam played another fine game to draw with his Romanian opponent. Despite his best efforts he couldn’t gain an advantage before he received an unexpected draw offer. With an uncertain outcome Shyam happily accepted and enjoyed an early dinner.

Another good day, 5 wins, 2 draws and plenty to look forward to.

Round 3 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

Day 3 and the strength and depth of the chess was on the up! Ravi and Elliott both had wins in time scrambles. These were difficult games; in Ravi’s game his opponent succumbed to the pressure as both clocks counted down allowing a breakthrough on the kingside. Elliot had played well through the game gaining the upper hand against a higher graded opponent. In the end game he kept his cool to press home his advantage.

Savin Dias was back to winning ways when his opponent made a fatal error which Savin quickly punished.

Shyam Modi emerged with a smile chatting with his opponent. They had clearly had a good game, played in a fine spirit. Shyam was happy with his win but had clearly enjoyed the contest.

Younger brother Kisham Modi has been battling away without much luck. He is undeterred and is confident about his next match.

Akito’s opponent looked as if he was about to play the Benoni which was not expected but Akito found a novelty pawn sacrifice which then confused his opponent. Akito took control in a pawn up endgame but unfortunately could not convert with the time remaining and ended in a draw.

Kian had a great game. Both players played excellent moves each cancelling out the other. A draw was a fair result but the coaches were struck by the quality of the game by both players.

The Shlok and Shreyas juggernaut just keeps going. Both won again to keep their perfect scores going.

Finally, Alex had a fine win to bring his tally to 2.5/3 with his opponent playing into one of his strengths.

Overall, a great day with 6 wins and 3 draws.

Round 2 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

Round 2 was another good day and this time it was Shlok Verma out first with that infectious smile. His game was straightforward from an early advantage; it was great watching Shlok’s game on the live board. Similarly, we had been following Shreyas Royal. He had a comparatively comfortable position from the start and eased through the middle game into an endgame where his ‘storming central pawns’ led to his opponent’s resignation.

Lavanya Maladkar’s second game was shorter but no less entertaining. Although giving up a1-h8 diagonal she did have a Bishop guarding g7 and her King. However, the position looked ‘quite scary’ as she looked to have a d6 weak pawn. Her opponent, the U12 Armenian Champion, started a direct attack on d6 but Lavanya used her a, b, and c semi-open files for a counter-attack and won a piece by threatening a checkmate and a fork. From then on it was solid play to win number two. 

It isn’t so unusual to see the younger players finish after an hour or so but Akito Oyama (U18 boys) was out so quickly we almost missed him. He executed his plan perfectly, quickly establishing a strong position which he carried through the game to comfortably win his first point. 

Alex Golding was up against a player who had beaten the top seed in the first round. Although Alex went an exchange up, the position was double-edged and so after careful consideration of the risks and benefits, Alex forced a draw. His Armenian opponent played well and is clearly resourceful in tricky positions, as his previous day’s result also showed.

A strong German player awaited Charlie Metcalfe. Although falling for a tactic early on to drop a pawn, Charlie fought back swapping off to opposite coloured bishops in the end game and subsequently to a drawn position. 

It was another tough pairing for Elliott Cocks who had narrowly missed out to a FM in round 1. Elliott was clearly in a determined mood and playing black, started well. From this solid base he was secure for the remainder of the game. Despite the efforts of both players to gain advantage, the game was eventually drawn. A satisfying days work for Elliot to set himself up for day 3.

Shyam Modi was content with his play. The game had ebbed and flowed and throughout he felt he had opportunities for the win but in the end with an outcome increasingly unclear, settled for a draw to open his account.

In Ravi Haria’s game, he had an established an advantage out of the opening which looked promising. Unfortunately a small error let his Slovakian opponent back in, who then defended well to half the game.

Spirits are high with day 2. Our England Flag was now hanging from the playing hall second floor balcony and team England had finished on 4 wins and 5 draws.

Round 1 – report from Simon Metcalfe (Head of Delegation)

We are underway and team England have had a great start. Our thoughts were obviously with Zoe Varney who sadly couldn’t join us; we all wish her a speedy recovery.

Shreyas was first to appear without the slightest hint of jet lag having not long returned from his superb performance in Brazil. Shlok Verma was out minutes later with a smile that told you everything. Both of them had secured strong positions from the beginning which they quickly converted into wins. Since both are highly seeded they were on live boards. Judging by the way they are playing, I am sure we will be watching many of their games.

Savin Dias was next to appear having secured win number three with some sharp play from the beginning against his Lithuanian opponent. Charlie Metcalfe notched up our win number four against a home player before Kian Shah appeared having secured a great draw against a higher rated French player. A great start to his first England outing. 

Our England v England pairing saw Alex Golding come out on top in well fought game against Shyam Modi. Ravi Haria continued his great form from the British Championships and we were up to 6 wins but it was Lavanya Maladkar who had the best result of the day having battled for over 5 hours before triumphing in an epic endgame. 

At the end of a long and dramatic day, team England had 7 wins and 1 draw – a great start to the competition!

A win for Shreyas in his round 1 game v Alexandru Stefan (ROU)

The European Youth Chess Championship starts on 5th September and runs to 14th September. The event is a 9 round FIDE rated tournament for U8s through to U18s. The venue is Mamaia in Romania.

The England delegation is 12 players and 3 coaches. The team can be viewed here. The event website is https://ecuyouth2017.ro/

The chess-results link for the event (tab across for your chosen age group) is http://www.chess-results.com/tnr296071.aspx?lan=1&art=0&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984

Akito looking forward to his round 1 game in the U18 boys


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