The Gazette - August 2016

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

2016 BCA Junior Championship

April 23rd at Wallington Chess Club, Wallington United Reformed Church

BCA Junior Championship Organiser, Arbiter and Coach, Owen Phillips, reports:

The week before the Championship was a downer, as there were seven withdrawals, leaving only eight participants. So instead of running a six round Swiss event as planned, I split the players into two all play all qualifying groups; ‘Tal’ and ‘Fischer’. The top two from each would proceed to a Championship all play all ‘Kasparov’ group and play off for the top four positions, whilst the 3rd and 4th players in the qualifying groups would go into the ‘Korchnoi’ all play all group. All games were rapidplay with 25 minutes per player.

The top seed was the 2014 and 2015 BCA Junior Champion, Efe Shimwell, with an ECF rapidplay grade of 111. He was followed by Gregory Yu with a rapidplay grade of 76 and others graded 73, 62, 51, e50, e50, and e40, so whilst Efe was the clear favourite, a good tournament was in prospect. The players ranged in age from 7 to 12.

The game between Efe and Jijjith Thukaram was a tight one which went down to both players only having minutes left. Efe won and after that the qualifying groups were dominated by the top seeds who both scored 3/3. Jijjith won his other two games, and so also proceeded to the ‘Kasparov’ Championship group, alongside Efe and Gregory. The final spot was won by Ayush Mehrotra (e50), who is clearly on an upward curve! In the ‘Korchnoi’ group were Nishad Patil, Sheroze Bhutta, Ayush Patel and Ehteshaam Bhutta.

The first shock of the championship came in round 1 of the ‘Kasparov’ group, when Gregory Yu with black defeated the reigning champion, Efe! Meanwhile Jijjith beat Ayush Mehrotra to join Gregory in opening up an early lead. In the ‘Korchnoi’ group Nishad and Ayush Patel also had first round wins, but round 2 in that group saw Nishad play very well only to squander a huge material advantage with a stalemate! Despite being the youngest competitor, Nish took this with great aplomb and was reassured by others who noted what a harsh rule that can be! Still, it was a healthy lesson learned! Meanwhile in the battle of the Bhutta brothers, the older brother, Ehteshaam, prevailed, meaning that all players had now scored!

In the ‘Kasparov’ group Efe struck back by winning with black against Jijj, even though Gregory won against Ayush Mehrotra, this meant that theoretically we could still see the event finish with a multiple play-off for the main prizes! The final round saw more tough games but eventually, by stealthy play and good use of his time, Gregory Yu won considerable material against `Jijj', which he was able to convert. Efe meanwhile hit top form against Ayush and had one of the rare quick wins of the day.

In the ‘Korchnoi’ group both Nish and Ayush Patel won giving them 2.5/3 and setting up a play off for 5th place. Nish chose the white pawn, leaving Ayush with the black pieces. However, Ayush could then choose whether the game would be 15 or 10 minutes. Without hesitation, he chose 10 minutes! It was a fine encounter with early inroads by Ayush and then a successful counteroffensive from Nish, who proceeded to win many pieces. In the end, Nish’s flag fell, however by then he had reduced Ayush to just a King, thus the game was drawn and the original scores from the qualifying groups were used as a tie-break.

Overall I felt the chess was of a higher standard than in 2014 and 2015. The fact that many games resulted in both players only having minutes left, suggested that by and large the chess was highly competitive and that in the main players were not moving too hastily. All players were very sporting, chatted with each other between rounds and enjoyed a few friendlies too! Thus, whilst lacking the larger numbers that were anticipated only a week before, the event was most enjoyable and hugely successful.

There were many prizes to be won, some donated by the BCA and some by me. I was thanked for organising the event and the refreshments. We would all like to thank the BCA again for their generous ongoing sponsorship of the event. People were impressed by the David Hodgkins Annual BCA Best Game Prize, which was on display throughout the event. The juniors were reminded that recording their games is good practice as they can look through them later and perhaps find a gem to enter for the award. I noted that they could enter games for the award from any BCA event and proposed that they look at the forthcoming events on the BCA website. Down to what you all really want to know; the most popular snacks were Jaffa Cakes and the most popular openings were the Hippopotamus, Larsen, Colle, and Zukertort!

Final Standings and Prizes:

2016 BCA Junior Championship winner: Gregory Yu with 6 points and a tournament performance rating of 123!

2016 BCA Junior Champion: Efe Shimwell with 5 points

2016 Bronze Medal Winner: Jijjith Thukaram

Jijj also won the Best Game Prize Trophy for his victory over Ayush Mehrotra in round 1 of the ‘Kasparov’ group.

4th: Ayush Mehrotra, who also won a book for the Best Sportsmanship

5th: Nishad Patil, who also won the ‘Korchnoi’ trophy

Others in the ‘Korchnoi’ group won medals: 6th Ayush Patel, 7th Ehteshaam Bhutta, 8th Shehroze Bhutta.

Gregory Yu chose the Black Shard of Glass Trophy, and Debbie Yu his mother kindly returned his £50 winner's cheque to the BCA with thanks for the sponsorship and ongoing organisation of the event. Efe Shimwell won the Round Glass Trophy. All participants received a hearty round of applause in recognition of their excellent behaviour and their interesting and tenacious play!