Round 5 vs France and summary – Nate Weersing (HOD)
England fought tremendously hard against the French, capturing 9 of the 20 possible points, but fell just short of knocking off our rival, and just short of two major trophies for the entire competition. Specifically, the U14 Robinson team finished joint first with the Netherlands on 21 out of 30, but lost on a tie break. The U12 Stokes team also finished with 21 out of 30, but fell a half point short of the Dutch for the title. The U-18 Women’s Gilbert team finished in third place behind the Dutch and the French, and the U-18 Glorney team finished above the Welsh. The Glorney team had an undefeated player (Alfie Onslow) and everyone on the team contributed to our score. It was an honour to be part of our fine delegation.
Total round 5 scores v France were —
- Stokes: England dominated 5 – 1
- Robinson: England drew with France 3 – 3
- Gilbert: France won 3 – 0
- Glorney: France won 4 – 1
Those interested in playing for England in 2019 when Ireland host the tournament should express their interest via the ECF website in late 2018.
In the Stokes
Edison Xu as white played against the Sicilian. It was a very tight and tough game, and the end it transferred into opposite coloured bishops, but with more active pieces, Edison managed to squeeze in a pawn and get the win, finishing with an excellent 4 out of 5 on board 1, which was the highest point total of our board 1s
Abigail Weersing lost two pawns early on and fought back well to draw within one pawn, but couldn’t complete the comeback, eventually losing
Samuel Gilmore: Samuel got up an exchange relatively early and calmly avoided a number of swindles and traps to claim the win. This moved Samuel to 3 out of 5
Henry Huang anticipated his opponents opening, with some excellent prep work done with Charlie Storey. Under pressure, his opponent blundered and Henry quickly finished her off to end the tournament on a fantastic 4 out of 5
Niamh Bridgemam finished with an incredible to 4.5 out of 5. After analysing the game, Andrew Martin said, “if I didn’t know the player, I would have wondered if Niamh somehow had access to a chess engine, as she played almost a perfect game. You deserve to wear the England shirt!” concluded Andrew to Niamh
Shivam Agrawal won a piece for a pawn very early on, fought off the attempted swindles, and laid a sneaky trap for the checkmate. Shivam finished with a fantastic 4 out of 5
In the Robinson
Ranesh Ratnesan made a mistake in the opening, losing a pawn, which at that level is fatal. Ranesh finished with an impressive 3.5 out of 5
Mikey Watson struggled in the opening, managed to equalise into a blitz ending under time pressure, and was able to secure the draw to finish on 3 out of 5
Tristian See pulled out the game after a balanced opening. Tristian launched a king side attack, which proved decisive. Tristian finished with a very impressive 4 out of 5
Rajeiv Ratnesan’s opponent played the game of his life and won. This loss left Rajeiv on a very impressive 4 out of 5
Alex Leslie had a great attack, sacked an exchange on purpose for an attack, which ultimately didn’t work. Alex found a perpetual check to pull out the draw. Well done to finish with 3 out of 5
Teddy Onslow jumped out to an early lead, which he ultimately converted to a win. It is worth noting that he was the last English game playing, and about 20 Dutch players and coaches were hovering around his board, hoping he would falter. Well done Teddy finishing with 3.5 from 5.
In the Glorney
Alfie Onslow played the Tarrasch defense with an opposite coloured bishop middle game. Both sides had chances, but neither took full advantage and the game was ultimately a draw. Amazing achievement for Alfie to finish undefeated with 3 out of 5
Matthew Forster’s game was a Queen’s gambit accepted. Matt had an attack and a chance for a win, but the winning move was missed and his opponent subsequently managed to defend for a win
George Harman was slightly better for much of the game, but lost a piece under time pressure leading to a loss
Avi Gogna played a good sophisticated defensive system, but attacked a bit too early, resulting in a poor position and ultimately a loss
Max Miller had the advantage at the start, but made a blunder under time pressure to go behind by an exchange. Max did very well to fight back and secure a draw
In the Gilbert
Nadia Jaufarally made a mistake in the middle game, losing the exchange, which ultimately proved decisive
Lucy Bennet-Stevens had a very complicated middle game, which her opponent managed to break through and win material, and ultimately the game
Sarah Weersing was slightly better out of the opening, but lost a pawn later, resulting in a lost endgame.
Overall a decent round of results for the England juniors and a fantastic effort. Many thanks to the parents, coaches, ECF support team and most importantly the players for outstanding effort and spirit. Let’s hope to build on this successful year in 2019 in Ireland.
Round 4 vs Ireland
England fared very well against Ireland in round 4, capturing 12.5 of the 20 possible points. In particular, the Robinson and Gilbert teams did well winning 83% of the available points. After round 4:
- England are leading the U14 Robinson Cup with 18 points out of a possible 24 with the Netherlands 1 point behind
- England are in second in the U18 Gilbert Cup with 8 points out of a possible 12. We trail the Netherlands by 1.5 points and lead France (our round 5 opponent) by a single point
- England are a solid second in the U12 Stokes Cup with 16 points out of a possible 24. We trail the Netherlands by 2 points, and lead Ireland by 2.5 points. The Dutch own the tie break advantage so we’ll need maximum points in round 5 to have a chance
- England are fifth in the Glorney, trailing Ireland by 4 and leading Wales by 3. The French team has been telling us and everyone who will listen that England don’t stand a chance against them in round 5. Our team of underdogs begs to differ, and we are determined to continue exceeding expectations and to fight for every point in the final round
Total round 4 scores v Ireland were –
- Robinson – England won 5 – 1
- Gilbert – England won 2.5 – 0.5
- Stokes – England won 3.5 – 2.5
- Glorney – Ireland won 1.5 – 3.5
In the Robinson
Ranesh Ratnesan won a good position out of the opening, which he maintained before his opponent blundered near the end to make the win easier. Ranesh moves to 3.5 out of 4 for the tournament
Mikey Watson seized a small positional advantage through his Catalan opening, which he maintained throughout the game and converted into an excellent win to reach 2.5 from 4
Tristian See was quoted as saying, “The opening was a mess, but after precise play, I was able to scrape a draw” from a complicated end-game where he was down at least one passed pawn. Team leadership had chalked this down as a loss, but Tristian rose to the challenge to secure a draw to reach 3 out of 4
Rajeiv (rhymes with machine) Ratnesan moved to 4 out of 4 with another win. I didn’t catch up with Rajeiv regarding his game, but whatever he is doing has been working
Alex Leslie: Alex had a positional game taking advantage of the doubled isolated pawns to win. Alex moves to 2.5 out of 4 with this win
Teddy Onslow had a positional advantage in the opening, but he wasn’t sure how to best take advantage of the advantage. After exchanging a number of pieces, it was a drawn end-game
In the Gilbert
Nadia Jaufarally remained level with a slight positional advantage for much of her match, which she successfully converted into a win. It is the mark of a true champion to rebound with a win after a disappointing loss
Lucy Bennet-Stevens jumped out to an early one pawn advantage, and was overheard saying, “She made a mistake on the opening, and I crushed her.” English women are tough! 3.5 from 4 games. Fantastic!
Sarah Weersing gifted her opponent a piece for a pawn on move 14, and had the team convinced it was all down to Lucy and Nadia to beat Ireland. However, she buckled down and fought back to earn a draw, thus preserving her undefeated record. (2.5 from 4)
In the Stokes
Edison Xu played solidly early before his opponent blundered a piece in the middlegame. From there Edison improved his record to 3 out of 4 with a convincing win
Abigail Weersing’s long day concluded with a disappointing loss after gaining an early positional advantage. She is determined to follow her teammates examples and bounce back with a strong performance against the French
Samuel Gilmore was outplayed in the opening and therefore couldn’t recover. Like Abigail, Samuel can’t wait for round 5 to bounce back
Henry Huang drew his game from a leading position. With time running out, he opted for the draw, and secured the match for England with the final half point
Niamh Bridgeman moved to 3.5 out of 4 with another drama-free win. After a level opening, Niamh won a pawn, and this tournament has proven that if you lose a pawn to Niamh … you lose.
Shivam Agrawal defied his coach’s mid-game prediction that it was going to be a draw. His opponent did ask for the draw, but Shivam battled on for England and found the winning moves
In the Glorney
Alfie Onslow drew again on board one, as he didn’t have enough time to convert the stronger position. Alfie remains undefeated and joins his brother on 2.5 out of 4
Matthew Forster won a tight game. Says Matt, “I was crushing, then was getting crushed, then swindled my way to a win.” Well done for earning the lone win for the Glorney team against Ireland and extending our lead against the Welsh
George Harman fell behind, eventually losing on time as he tried to fight his way out of a dubious position
Avi Gogna dominated the opening, but unfortunately lost his queen, leading to a loss
Max Miller didn’t follow his intended line in the opening, putting him in an early hole, from which he couldn’t recover
Overall a solid round of results for the England juniors and fantastic effort. Andrew Martin perhaps said it best when he addressed the team to say —
“I have been very impressed by our teams. The overall attitude is first-class, really good, stylish games are being played and we can aim to finish in a high position in the rankings. This strong showing is being backed up by our parents, coaches and our trusty head of delegation. We are a powerful squad. We now come to the last round and a big set of matches against the French. My advice is not to change a thing. Get stuck in, give 100% and cede nothing to the opponent. Don’t back down from the challenge. If everyone goes in with that attitude I am convinced we can win.”
Good luck to all in round 5, which starts at 9:30am on Wednesday, July 18th. Results are kept up-to-date on www.chess-results.com under the Scottish Federation (SCO) portion of the website if you wish to follow.
Round 3 vs Scotland
After a pleasant evening with most of the team going to the Delegates’ buffet meal at the Ralston Golf Club, where we bonded as a team and chatted with some of the Scottish players, Tuesday morning was time to get down to some serious chess business as our young juniors took on their Scottish friends in round three. On paper, most of our teams were stronger going into the round, and many of the games went to form with a few surprises and interesting challenges thrown in. The overall results were to England’s advantage with a match win for both the Stokes and the Robinson team, a draw for the Gilbert and a loss for the Glorney. The Robinson match was particularly impressive, as virtually every game was closely contested, with the English team pulling match after match out of the fire. England now leads the Robinson event by 0.5 with the Stokes (0.5) and Gilbert (1.0) teams running close seconds. Total round scores were:
- Robinson 5.5 – 0.5
- Stokes 4.5 – 1.5
- Gilbert 1.5 – 1.5
- Glorney 1 – 4
In the Stokes
A good win for Edison with the black pieces. He was faced with an unexpected opening but managed to gain the advantage and his opponent struggled in the middle game to allow Edison to strengthen his position and win the game.
An eventful morning for Abbey who had an entire cup of coffee spilled down her neck and chest in a mishap at the cafeteria. Event staff were excellent, with no blistering occurring after some efficient first aid treatment. Abbey was allowed to start late 15 minutes late and briefly led, but as the adrenaline wore off, a few costly mistakes cost her the game.
Samuel was the very first game out of the tournament hall when his opponent unfortunately blundered two pieces to give him a quick, comfortable win.
A win for Henry after his opponent missed a tactic in the opening, which allowed him to go a rook up and calculate a clear win. Henry is on an impressive 2.5 out of 3.
A good win for Niamh. Playing black it was fairly equal out of the opening, however a tactical attack on the King allowed Niamh to win a pawn and set up a strong position to gain another pawn and find the winning endgame. Niamh is also on a fantastic 2.5 out of 3 highlighting the strength and depth of the English team
A draw for Shivam. He had a slight advantage in the opening but spotted a complicated playing strategy from his opponent and decided to simplify the position to secure a certain draw. Shivam remains undefeated with a win and two draws
In the Robinson
Ranesh won his game moving to 2.5 out of 3. The Scottish player had gained an advantage out of the opening and he was playing a consistent game to achieve a draw. However, Ranesh used his strength and experience to disrupt this plan and found a technical endgame to get the checkmate and win the point.
A win for Mikey who played a tactical game and got a positional advantage winning the exchange. His opponent played a good ongoing defensive strategy, but Mikey was able to convert his advantage into a full point.
Tristian played well out of the opening and won the exchange. He was then able to build on his position to get a piece advantage and eventually checkmate his opponent. Tristian is playing very well on 2.5 out of 3
Rajeiv played a strong game throughout. He gained an advantage from the opening and then progressed to a comfortable win. Rajeiv remains on full points with 3/3
Alex Leslie played a tactical game with a cautious opponent that lead to a closed in position and a drawn result
Teddy had a positional advantage out of the opening and played very well under time pressure to grind out a well deserved win. Teddy has bounced back from an early disappointment with two wins on the trot. Both Onslows are doing well with 2 out of 3.
In the Gilbert
Nadia played long and complicated game in this round. It remained in a fairly equal position from the opening and long into the middlegame. However, Nadia got into some difficult time pressures and her opponent was able to capitalise and win the game.
A draw for Lucy. Her position was better out of the opening, but then she lost positional advantage and the opponent defended tenaciously leading to a drawn position. Lucy is on a fantastic 2.5 out of 3
Sarah had finished her game in just under an hour. She played a strong opening and then gained a pawn and a piece through clear tactics to win the game in 19 moves. Sarah remains undefeated on 2 out of 3
In the Glorney
Alfie took on the newly-crowned Scottish open champion and played a very strong game to achieve a draw. He had a slightly better position in the middle game, as his opponent delayed castling, and he then exchanged into a rook endgame. Alfie had a pass A pawn and the opponent had an extra pawn on the king side which resulted in drawn game.
Matt played well throughout the game and calculated his moves to achieve a reasonably strong position in the middle game. However, increasing time trouble meant that his opponent was able to gain an advantage and win the point.
A draw for George. It was equal out of the opening and a stronger position in the middle game, going a pawn up. However, he then lost positional advantage and struggled with time pressure which meant that the players agreed a draw.
A challenging game for Avi who was equal out of the opening and was level until the 16th He then sacrificed a bishop for a knight, which resulted in being exposed to a strong King-side attack and the result going against him.
A challenging game for Max against an opponent with a Fide rating over 250 points higher. Max was equal out of the opening, but then struggled with the position to give his opponent an advantage that allowed him to take the point.
Overall a solid round of results for the England juniors with 12.5 out of a possible 20 points against an improved Scottish side. Well done to every one of the young players, they are all representing their country well and are enjoying the tournament. All is still to play for in the tournament … after round three our teams are in good standings in the competition, with the Robinson, Gilbert and Stokes teams either leading or within one point of first place. Good luck to all in rounds 4 and 5 where we have strong opponents in Ireland and France to play against.
Round 2 vs Netherlands
2018 saw the Dutch team return to the Glorney after a 20+ year absence. Having failed to reach the World Cup, Dutch leadership have apparently poured all their resources into fielding a strong chess team. They are the highest graded country in three of the four Glorney competitions. England knew we were in for four very tough matches. Our teams did well under the circumstances. Specifically:
- Our U18 women’s Gilbert team drew 1.5 – 1.5 despite averaging 128 FIDE points less per player to maintain joint first with the Netherlands and the French
- Our U14 Robinson team drew 3-3 despite averaging 141 FIDE points less per player to be 1.5 points out of first place having played the top seed
- Our U12 Stokes team lost 2 – 4, and could have easily drawn the match, despite only being the favorite on 1 out of 6 boards. We are in third in this group, 1 point out of first
- Our Glorney team fought hard and played a number of close games, but eventually succumbed 0.5 – 4.5, which is understandable given our average Fide grade was over 300 points less than the Dutch. This team continues to lead Ireland and Wales in the competition, who have similar Fide grades.
Rajeiv Ratnesan and Lucy Bennet-Stevens are still on 100% with several others still undefeated. Tomorrow we play a Scottish team much stronger than in recent years in the morning followed by a resurgent Irish team in the afternoon. There should be some interesting games.
In the Gilbert
Nadia Jaufarally achieved a balanced position from the opening, but then played for some risky complications which were unclear and eventually left her with a lost position
Lucy Bennet-Stevens won cleanly over a much higher graded player after a nice tactical material gain in the middle game
Sarah Weersing joined Lucy in defying the Fide rankings by fighting back from a tricky position and managing to draw via tactical means
In the Robinson
Ranesh Ratnesan drew against a 2150 after his opponent played a very solid defensive line
Mikey Watson made an inaccuracy to end up material down out of the middle game, and his opponent played very well to stop any counterplay
Tristian See as white faced a solid defence and after multiple exchanges a draw was the result. Great result as he was a 200+ point Fide underdog
Rajeiv Ratnesan as black managed to get to Rook and knight vs Rook and bishop in a position where the knight had a great outpost and with great endgame play won a pawn and eventually the game. The Ratnesan family is on 3.5 out of 4!
Alex Leslie lost in a complicated tactical melee
Teddy Onslow played well to win a pawn out of the opening and went on to win carefully. Excellent win as an underdog!
In the Stokes
Edison Xu as white achieved an equal major piece ending, but an exchange that improved black’s pawn structure was significant in allowing black to break through with a passed pawn
Abigail Weersing was black and managed to generate some counterplay on an open file with some back-rank threats. Eventually she managed to draw a knight and pawn endgame. 1.5 from 2 for Abbey
Samuel Gilmore was unfortunate to lose a pawn in the opening. He did manage to fight back to achieve some counterplay, but then over-pressed with a sacrifice that didn’t quite work – eventually losing
Henry Huang as black managed to turn round the position in the middlegame to reach an endgame 3 pawns up. The time pressure however, was a deciding factor and the final result was a draw. 1.5 from 2 for Henry
Niamh Bridgeman played well, pushing for a win most of the game – though an error towards the end allowed her opponent back in with a draw. 1.5 from 2 for Niamh
Shivam Agrawal did well to recover from a position the exchange down and managed to pick up enough of his opponents pawns to draw the game. Charlie Storey and Nate were sure this was going to be a loss. Well done Shivam! Also on 1.5 from 2
In the Glorney
Alfie Onslow’s opening transformed into an opposite coloured bishop endgame via a mass series of exchanges, and although a pawn down, he held it comfortably. Alfie remains undefeated on 1.5 from 2
Matt Forster achieved equality from a complicated opening line but overpressed with a king side pawn advance and lost in the subsequent complications
George Harman also succumbed after an accident in the opening involving a loose piece and a pin
Avi Gogna was under pressure out of the opening, and eventually lost out to a king side attach against the weak white squares along the b1-h7 diagonal
Max Miller achieved a promising position as white, but transformations in the pawn structure resulted in a winning kingside attack for black
Round 1 vs Wales
A great round 1 for England in Glasgow, Scotland where we won 16.5 out of a possible 20 points against Wales. There were some great debut games, and many thanks to Mike Forster for providing the technical analysis on the games. England won all 4 matches against Wales – including –
- 6 – 0 win in the U12 Stokes
- 4.5 – 1.5 in the U14 Robinson
- 2.5 – 0.5 in the U18 women’s Gilbert
- 3.5 – 1.5 in the U18 Glorney
Edison Xu as black played well to get a strong attack going, and his opponent did well to survive. In the end he took advantage of a mistake in the endgame to achieve the win.
Abigail Weersing as white wore down her opponent in a closely contested game, eventually winning a piece for a pass pawn to seal the win
Samuel Gilmore as black won a pawn early on and then faced a committal attack. Eventually white played a very risky sacrifice that proved to be insufficient and allowed Samuel to win
Henry Huang gradually built up positional pressure and found a winning tactical breakthrough on the queenside after his opponent defended passively
Niamh Bridgeman played a careful defensive game as black facing an attack from her opponent. Repulsing it to win material after an inaccuracy from white gave her a great opportunity
Shivam Agrawal, in his debut performance for England, set up a powerful double fianchetto, won the exchange, consolidated his advantage via complete control of the centre before launching a winning attack against the black king
Ranesh Ratnesan accumulated a nice edge as black, and manoeuvred carefully keeping up the pressure until his opponent made a fatal error and had to resign
Mikey Watson played solid chess to achieve an edge – cautiously reaching a draw after a long game
Tristian See won in an epic performance
Rajeiv Ratnesan played a superb positional game keeping a grip from start to finish with a convincing victory
Alex Leslie as black developed a significant attack where white eventually crumbled under pressure
Teddy Onslow used up a lot of time to establish a winning position, but was unfortunate to blunder in time pressure and lose
Nadia Jaufarally did very well as black to resist an all or nothing kingside attack and was left with a winning position after the attack fell short
Lucy Bennet-Stevens gradually constricted her opponent who became desperately short of moves with a king in the middle against a strong centre. Eventually, she broke through for a great victory
Sarah Weersing neutralised her opponent’s opening pressure setting up good diagonals for her bishop pair. Under increasing difficulties, white managed to hang on for a draw.
Alfie Onslow won a nice game as black after entering a double rook and bishop endgame where he was able to collect a number of weak white pawns to reach a won position
Matt Forster as white managed to evade some opening difficulties and emerged a pawn up in a rook and pawn ending, with all pawns on the same side
George Harman did very well to draw after a long tactical exchange in the opening left him with Rook and Bishop for a Queen
Avi Gogna as white had a nice space advantage out of the opening, but black managed to swap off to a safe endgame and drew
Max Miller managed to win an interesting game with Queen versus two rooks, where he managed to get two passed pawns moving and converted the win