World Youth 2012 – meet the team!

This entry is part 2 of 22 in the series Slovenia 2012

England’s Team for the World Youth Chess Championships, Maribor, Slovenia, 7-19 November 2012.
Playing for England and the English Chess Federation – 34 players and 9 coaches … click to enlarge!

U18  – Saravanan Sathyanandha, Astghik Stepanyan, Craig Whitfield, IM Yang-Fan Zhou
U16 – Peter Batchelor, William Foo, Oskar Hackner, Amelia Hoare, Louise Head, Roy Zhang
U14 – Daniel Abbas, Ananthanarayanan Balaji, Robert Fitzgerald, Ravi Haria, Andrew Horton, Cosima Keen, Tarun Malhotra, David Redman, Adam Taylor
U12 – Joshua Higgs, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, Gorak Rajesh, Eva Ressel, Brian Tarhon, Matthew Wadsworth, Yang-Jian Zhou
U10 – Laura Davidson, Isabelle Gilbert, Koby Kalavannan, Anthony Zhang, Zheming Zhang
U8 – CM Joshua Altman, Leo Sanitt, Aditya Verma
GM Nick Pert – Head Coach | WGM / IM Jovanka Houska | IM Lawrence Cooper | GM Neil McDonald | GM Mark Hebden | IM Andrew Martin | IM Andrew Greet | IM Thomas Rendle | GM Stuart Conquest

U18  – Saravanan Sathyanandha
Saravanan attends Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Elstree. He would like to thank Barnet Knights Chess Club and Haberdashers.
U18 – Astghik  Stepanyan
U18 – Craig Whitfield

U18 – IM Yang-Fan Zhou

Yang-Fan attends the Whitgift School, South Croydon. He’d like to thank the Whitgift School, Mike Basman, Mrs Armstrong, Roger Emerson and Charlie Cooke.

U16 – Peter Batchelor
Peter started playing chess at the age of 8 and upon entering the UK Chess Challenge that year, managed to get straight to the Terafinal! After getting into the England junior squad at the age of 10, he has participated in many internationals and has also been a regular on the junior circuit. This has culminated in him becoming the current U16 Junior Grand Prix champion.

U16 – William Foo
William learnt how to play chess at the chess club at Earley St. Peter’s CE Primary School in Reading at the age of 8. He was encouraged by Mr Avenell at the school to try for the U9 Berskhire Junior team and William has been an avid chess player ever since. Proudest personal achievements so far were to be able to play in the last two British Championships and also played for England at last year’s World Youth. He would like to thank all those who has helped him in his chess and also sincere thanks to the Reading Chess Club for giving him the opportunities to play in the adult chess league.

U16 – Oskar Hackner
Oskar learnt the basics of chess when he was younger, but he really became fascinated by the game of chess in the Autumn of 2008 when he was 12½ years old. He played his first tournament a year later, and has made a great progress during the past three years. He came third at the British Chess Championships U14 in 2010 and has won the British Championship title at U15 (joint) in 2011 and U16 in 2012. Oskar is a member of the National Junior Chess Squad and has enjoyed playing at the Gibraltar Junior Chess Festival 2011 and 2012. He is also due to take another squad trip to Poland in October. He came joint 1st at the National Junior Chess Squad Championships U16 in 2012. He has represented England at the World Junior U16 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey, August 2012 – his first international event at such a high level. Oskar is home educated. His other interests include reading and skiing – both slalom and cross–country. He wants to thank all those who have supported his chess as this is his great passion and he is very much looking forward to playing at the World Youth Chess Championships in Slovenia

U16 – Amelia Hoare

Amy learnt to play chess when she was 5 years old, winning the under 8 prize at her first tournament. She qualified for the National Chess Junior Squad at the Under 11 trial and has since travelled widely with her chess, competing in Guernsey, the Czech Republic, Holland, Poland and Italy. Highlights include: competing in the 2008 European Youth Championships and the 2010 London Chess Classic (Women’s Invitational), and qualifying for the British Championships at the Women’s International Masters Tournament in Uxbridge. Over the last year she has helped to coach the Sussex Girls under 11 Team, accompanying them to the National Final in Nottingham where they won the 2012 National Title.
Amy is a pupil at Farlington School in Horsham. She is passionate about all sports and represents her school in netball, tennis and rounders, and plays hockey for the county.
She would like to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged her with chess, in particular: Jonathan Tuck, Lawrence Cooper, Sussex Junior Chess, Horsham Chess Club and Farlington School

U16 – Louise Head

Louise learnt to play chess at the age of 6,  and has been competing regularly since her first tournament at 7.  She has been playing in Berkshire Junior Chess teams since she was 8.  She was the joint British U14 girl’s champion in 2011 and this year gained the British girl’s U15 title. She has travelled to France and Belgium with the National Junior Chess Team and competes in one of the AMCA 4NCL teams.
Louise attends the Abbey school in Reading and other interests including playing the French horn in their orchestra and concert band, plus playing in the school tennis and hockey teams. Last year Louise played in the U14 girls’ section at the European Youth Chess Championships in Bulgaria.  Louise would like to thank Crowthorne chess club, BJCA, the Mercers’ Company and her coach Ken Coates for all their support. She is looking forward to competing at the World Youth Championships.

U16 – Roy Zhang
Roy is 15 years old and attends Reading School in Reading, Berkshire. Roy learnt the rules of chess from a school classmate when he was 8 years old. Although he has other interests and hobbies, he has always passionately regarded chess as the most enriching and rewarding. He would like to thank all those who have supported him in his chess endeavors, as well as his school, which has allowed him to improve his standard through experience in many international events.

U14 – Daniel Abbas
I started playing chess at the age of 5. I qualified for the National Chess Junior Squad at the Under 11 trials, and have represented England in tournaments in Holland, Poland and the Czech Republic. I attend the Manchester Grammar School and I was part of the team which won the inter-schools national finals in 2012.

I would like to thank everyone who supported and encouraged me with my chess including Jill Barber, David Hulmes, David Levens, Manchester Chess Federation and my club, 3Cs. Special thanks to Phil Adams of 3Cs for his support, guidance and coaching over the last 2 years. Away from chess, I enjoy playing cricket, hockey, tennis and cross-country running.
U14 – Ananthanarayanan Balaji
Ananthanarayanan started chess at an early age and has shown steady progress in recent years. He participated in some international tournaments and would like to improve his chess by playing strong opponents. Studying in year 9 at QE Boys Grammar school, he also enjoys playing cricket, rugby and football.

U14 – Robert Fitzgerald
Robert was playing chess competently at the age of four, and won the Sussex County under 7 Championship one month after his sixth birthday, adding his name to a trophy first won by Grandmaster David Howell. British and London Junior Championships followed and he has had the honour of playing for England on many occasions and in many different countries. The people who have helped Robert with his chess are too numerous to mention, but special thanks go to Tom Rendle, who guided and inspired him at the European Youth Championships in 2008 and to Mark Hebden who has taken on the same challenge for the World Championships in 2012. Away from the chessboard, Robert enjoys all sports, but especially cricket, football, golf and badminton.

U14 – Ravi Haria

As well as enjoying competitive chess, Ravi is a keen all-round sportsman and plays cricket and hockey for his school team. He also loves drama and music and plays the double bass and bass guitar. Ravi has played chess in Open and Junior international events in Delhi, Vietnam, Turkey, Crete, Halkidiki, Amsterdam, Brazil, France, Athens and Prague, winning a Bronze Medal in Delhi (2007), and a medal for 6th place in the U12 section at the World Youth Chess Championship, Brazil, 2011. Ravi has won British Championship titles at Under-8 (joint), Under-9 and Under-13.
Ravi attends Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Elstree and would like to thank his school, the English Chess Federation and the wider chess community for much appreciated support, guidance, opportunities and encouragement to develop as a player and represent England

U14 – Andrew Horton
I attend the Manchester Grammar School, and played in the team which won the inter-schools national final in both 2011 and 2012. I started playing chess aged 6 and have participated in many competitions since. Although I didn’t qualify at the U11 trial event I qualified to play for England Juniors at the British Championships in 2011 (U13 section), and have been abroad on a couple of trips.
I’d like to acknowledge the help and support for my chess from Jill Barber, David Hulmes, Manchester Chess Federation and 3Cs club. I’d like to thank Phil Adams for the great coaching that he has given me in recent years. Away from chess, I enjoy playing hockey, cross-country running and Ultimate Frisbee.

U14 – Cosima Keen
Cosima has been playing chess since she was 5, coming joint first at the Southern Gigafinal that same year. Since then she has had the opportunity to play opponents from all over the globe – travelling as far as Brazil for the World Youth Championships last year. Cosima loves music. She plays the oboe and the piano and sings. She has performed at Glyndebourne and the Royal Albert Hall. She enjoys sport especially netball and has just started ski race training. She would like to thank: her coach Jovanka; Trevor Norton for his years of patience; Colin Harding; all at Sussex Junior Chess and Matthew Turner GM, at her new school Millfield, for all their invaluable support, wisdom and encouragement.

U14 – Tarun Malhotra
I am 13 years old and a student at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School. Chess has been a passion for me since I was six years old. I have won the U-11 (2009), U-12 (2010) and U-14 (2012) British Championships and LJCC U-10 championship (2008). I have regularly represented England in both World Youth Chess Championships and European Youth Chess championships in the past. Apart from chess, my other interests include football, cricket, swimming and music. I would like to thank my school for being supportive of my interest in chess and ECF for giving me an opportunity to represent the country.

U14 – David Redman
David started playing chess when he was 5 years old and has played in tournaments regularly since he was 6; he has been competing in the UK Chess Challenge ever since. He won the UK Chess Challenge Under 11 title in 2010. He has also represented England in France and Flanders. As well as chess, David also enjoys playing football for the local team, badminton, tennis and running.
David attends Cottenham Village College and would like to thank his Dad (for taking him everywhere and for funding him), Sue Gymer, Nick Jackson, Cambridge City Chess Club and for all the chess players who have helped him improve and made this possible.

U14 – Adam Taylor
Adam started playing chess at school when he was 9 years old. As he was unbeaten at school, he went on to compete in Megafinals and Essex Junior Events. He is currently the U14 London Champion. Adam also competed in the Hastings Masters for the first time with a commendable performance rating of 2098 (+1.93)
Adam has represented England in the Four Nations in Dublin in 2011, winning all 6 of his games and achieving the overall Board prize and recently at the Europeans in Prague where he scored an encouraging 50% in this his firt major International tournament. Adam currently plays league chess for both the Essex and Colchester adult Teams. He is both a consistent and improving player and has high aspirations regarding his future in chess. He is keen to play strong opponents from both England and abroad to improve even further.
In addition to Chess, Adam plays rugby badminton and tennis and is the cricket captain at his school, The Gilberd in Colchester. He also enjoys watching Formula One and athletics.
He’d like to thank all those people who have helped him improve his chess, in particular – The John Robinson Trust, The David Wood Memorial Trust, The Hervey Benham Charitable Trust and IM Harriet Hunt.

U12 – Joshua Higgs

Josh was taught to play chess by his older brother Sam when he was 5 years old. He discovered Sussex Junior Chess when he was seven years old and played regularly ever since in their excellent Grand Prix series and in their strong county teams. He qualified for the National Chess Junior Squad at the Under 11 trial in 2011 and has since travelled widely competing in Gibraltar (twice), the Czech Republic, Scotland, Wales, Flanders, and Holland. Highlights include coming 2nd in the British U11 in 2011; 2nd in the British U12 in 2012; 1st= in the 2012 John Robinson Junior Grand Prix; 1st= in the 2012 U12 National Junior Squad Championship. Josh is the current Sussex U13 champion and the Sussex Prep School individual champion in 2011 and 2012. He is a pupil at Worth School in Sussex.
Josh would like to thank everyone who has supported and encouraged him with chess, in particular his coach Mr. Jonathan Tuck, Mr. Peter Purland, The Graham Family, Sussex Junior Chess, Worth School and his older brother Sam who enabled him to discover his love of chess.
U12 – Akshaya Kalaiyalahan
U12 – Gorak Rajesh
U12 – Eva Ressel

U12 – Brian Tarhon
I am 11 years old and attend Lingfield Notre Dame Senior School. I am a passionate sports fan, playing football, tennis and golf for my school and the local clubs. I started playing chess competitively at the age of 8. In 2011, I qualified for National Chess Junior Team and have been part of the squad trips to Belgium and Czech Republic.

U12 – Matthew Wadsworth

Hello, I am Matthew Wadsworth. I learnt chess at the age of 4, through playing with my dad. I am a pupil at Reading School, where we won the plate in this year’s national schools chess competition. I also play rugby for the school. I have competed at World and European youth events since 2007, and am looking forward to Slovenia. My proudest chess moments so far are beating Mickey Adams in a simul in 2011; my first open tournament win earlier in 2012 (an event which included my first longplay win over an IM); and my various British championship age group titles. Thanks to Nigel Dennis and the rest of the Berkshire Junior Chess Association; my coaches Andrew Martin and Nick Pert; and the three ECF junior directors who have selected me for international events.

U12 – Yang-Jian Zhou

Yang-Jian attends the Whitgift School, South Croydon. He’d like to thank the Whitgift School.

U10 – Laura Davidson
My name is Laura Jean Davidson. I go to Coworth Flexlands School in Surrey. I started playing chess just over a year ago. Mrs Kate Hegarty taught me how to play chess at school. My first tournament was the Megafinals in April 2011. Since then I have played in many tournaments across the country, and won lots of trophies and medals. I play for the Wey Valley chess team and at the Sandhurst chess club. I also play violin, sing, swim in the school team, ice skate and play tennis.
I would like to thank Mrs Sweeney, Mrs Hegarty, Sarah Hegarty, Nicholas Pert, Mike Basman, Mrs Pat Armstrong, Jonathan Tuck and Alec Aslett. I have met some great people playing chess and thank you all for giving me the opportunity to play the game.
U10 – Isabelle Gilbert

U10 – Koby Kalavannan
I am 10 years old and attend Grand Avenue Primary and Nursery School in Surbiton, Surrey.  My chess career started off at school when I was 7 years old and I was unbeaten for two years. I continued my winning streak and with my parents’ recommendation, I have decided to play advanced level chess. My ambition was to play international chess and I am amazed that my wish has come true.
My first ever tournament was the UKCC Megafinal. I have competed in the Terafinal once and the Terafinal Challenger section once and won the Best Under 9 Boy award. I have also won the English Youth Chess Championship Under 10 Grand Prix and ECF Junior Grand Prix 2011/2012 year.
I am an active member in cub scouts, where I was awarded the Chief Scout Silver award. I enjoy playing sports especially cricket. I enjoy music and drama. I love playing Eastern and Western violin and keyboard, on which I have obtained high grades.
I would like to thank all the people who has supported and encouraged me with chess , in particular Miss Katlin Vinze, IM M Basman, Mr Sainbayar Tserendorj, Mrs Pat Armstrong and IM V.Ravikumar. I also would like to thank CCF chess club, Ealing Juniors, Surbiton Chess Club, SCCU U14/U120/U140 Teams, Tough chess, Wey Valley Surrey and my school for all their support. Finally I would like to thank ECF for selecting me to represent England.

U10 – Anthony Zhang
Anthony is a pupil at St Paul’s C of E Junior School in Wokingham, Berkshire. He learnt the rules of chess from his elder brother Roy at the age of 7. He played in the U10 section at the 2011 World Youth Chess Championships and is delighted to have the opportunity to learn from this experience again this year in the same section.

U10 – Zheming Zhang

Zheming attends the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle. He would like to thank Tim and Abi Adams, Paul Bielby and Jonathan Hawkins. He learned to play chess at the age of six and half while he was visiting his grandparents in China. He then started to play chess on computer and at NJCA tournaments. Zheming won British U8 and U9 titles in 2010 and won the best U9 prize twice at the UK Chess Challenge Terafinals. Zheming won the England U11 trial in 2012 and became a member of National Junior Chess Squad.

U8 – CM Joshua Altman

Joshua is the 2012 European Youth Bronze Medalist and England’s youngest titled player, having been awarded a Candidate Master title along with his medal. Having recently defeated the now grown-up Luke McShane (who was at the time cleverly distracted by Gawain Jones) in a game during the launch of the AGON FIDE Grand Prix in London, Joshua is a next-generation darling of English Chess and one to watch. His wild card playing style and games have been venerated in the chess columns of the Times, Telegraph, and Spectator. Engaging and deadpan, he is featured in the October issue of CHESS magazine. For fun, Joshua annotates his own Grandmaster “revision” games on ChessBase, debunking classic variations. Joshua eats a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal before a game and aims to collect the Pot-of-Gold in the Worlds. He plays over 200 tournament games a year, or, the equivalent of his body weight in cereal consumption, has won over 50 trophies, medals and champion titles, and reports on Twitter @kid_chess

U8 – Leo Sanitt

Leo’s Uncle Dave taught him the moves when he was six. He then constantly nagged his parents to play chess with him until, a few months later, he realised beating them was no longer a challenge (why has nobody written ‘How to Beat Your Kid at Chess’?). Leo also enjoys Lego, cricket, swimming, The Simpsons and playing/bickering with his brother and sister. Leo is currently the U8 London champion, the U8 and U9 Barnet champion and a member of the winning team in the U9 National Primary School Championships.
Leo attends Garden Suburb Junior School, London. He’d like to thank Barnet Knights and Barnet Junior Chess Association.

U8 – Aditya Verma

Aditya is the current British U8 champion and as per FIDE age, is the highest rated under 8 and 9 chess player in UK. He started playing chess at the age of six and within a year had already won the British Chess Championship and qualified twice for the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal. Aditya already has few adult championships under his belt and is all geared up to compete on the world stage.
Aditya attends Cranbrook Primary School, Ilford. He’d like to thank Ilford Chess Club, David Wood Memorial Trust, Dave Hawkins, Anthony Mathurin and Lorin D’Costa.

GM Nick Pert – Head Coach

I have competed in World and European Youth and Junior Championships every year from age 12 to 20 so I have a lot of experience in these types of event. My best finishes were a gold medal in the World Under 18 Championships in 1998 where I achieved my IM title and a bronze medal in the European U12 Championships. I became a grandmaster in 2003 and have played for the England first team in Olympiads and European Team Championships on many occasions. I won the British Rapidplay Championships in 2004, and currently have the highest rapidplay grade in the country. I haven’t won the British Championships (yet!), my best finish was outright 2nd in 2010 behind GM Michael Adams.
I have been active on the individual coaching front with a very small number of pupils for several years, however now I have stopped jobs outside of chess I have been able to spend a lot more time on this recently. One of my first pupils, Felix Ynojosa, who has now moved to Venezuela, has just told me that he has achieved his IM title at age 16. At the recent British Championships, 2 of the people I work with regularly at chess won their age group, 1 won a grading section and 2 others won prizes for top junior performance and best improvement in grade.
I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me in chess throughout my life, not least my parents for taking me to lots of tournaments when I was young, my brother, IM Richard Pert, for giving me a rival, my first chess coach, Kevin O’Connell, and many others who I have been extremely fortunate to work with at chess. I hope that I can help others get as much enjoyment and success from playing chess as I have, if not more!

WGM / IM Jovanka Houska

British Women’s Champion and ECF Manager of Women’s Chess

IM Lawrence Cooper

Lawrence is based in Staffordshire and has been a self employed chess coach since February 2008 after taking redundancy from his civil service job. He is an ECF accredited coach with CRB clearance. He coached at both the 2007 & 2008 Glorney & Faber Cups and was Head of Delegation and a coach at the 2008 World Junior, 2009 & 2010 World Youth, 2011 European Youth, 2012 World Schools & World Junior. His best known private pupil is Thomas Pym whom he coached for seven years.
Lawrence was captain and Head of Delegation of the England mens (open) team at the 2009 & 2011 European Team Championship and the 2010 Olympiad and was also Head of Delegation at the 2012 Olympiad which was his last event as International Director of the English Chess Federation, a post to which he was elected in October 2009. His only remaining involvement with the ECF is as International Rating Officer, having been appointed in April 2012.
As a player he achieved the title of International Master in 2000 and has 30 years of playing experience both nationally and internationally. He represented England on board two at The Mind Sport Games in Beijing in October 2008.

GM Neil McDonald

GM Mark Hebden

IM Andrew Martin

FIDE Senior Trainer, International Master. Veteran of many ECF trips. Current ECF Manager of Schools, Junior Clubs and Counties. You Tube Channel here –

IM Andrew Greet
Andrew Greet is an International Master with one GM norm. Originally from Cornwall, he now lives in Glasgow where he works at the book publisher Quality Chess. He won the Scottish Championship in 2010, and remains the only player ever to score a perfect 11/11 over a 4NCL season (in Division 2, 2004/05). Andrew has coached both adults and juniors of varying levels at numerous international competitions. He is also the author of four books. Away from chess, Andrew trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has recently taken up competitive kettlebell-lifting.

IM Thomas Rendle
Having represented England at World and European Youth events from U12 to U18, I have experience in these events both as a player and as a coach. I started coaching about 6 years ago, shortly after achieving the IM title in 2006. I have one GM norm gained at the 2007 Gibraltar Masters where I shared 5th=. I’ve been a regular coach with the England Juniors over the last few years at World, European and other youth events.

GM Stuart Conquest


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