The latest round of the Welsh Junior Grand Prix doubled up as the Welsh Junior Rapidplay Championships, with over 60 turning up on the last Saturday before Christmas.
(Players and parents should already be aware that anyone who achieved a score of 2 or more in a tournament is eligible to play in the Grand Prix final for that age group on 17th January, and if necessary should contact Ian Eustis or Kevin Staveley for details.)
Under 8 (arbiter Wilf Arnold)
14 players competed for the U8 title. After 3 rounds, Lewis Medcraft had moved into the outright lead on 3/3 but this was as good as it got, when he was defeated in Round 4 by Henry Parnell who moved out on his own to 3 Ѕ . In the last round Henry defeated Edward Verity (on 3) to take the Championship with 4 Ѕ points whilst the remaining players on 3 could do no more than draw, so there were three in joint second place a whole point behind Henry.
1st 4 Ѕ Henry Parnell
2nd = 3 Ѕ Samuel Thomas, Timothy Hatton, Lewis Medcraft
5th= 3 Edward Verity, John McCoy, Abraham Turner
8th = 2 Ѕ Ben Payne, Karanvir L-Singh
10th= 1 Ѕ Tanlia Moran-Ross, Adam Gilchrist-Green, Oliver Piper
13th 1 Non Scott
14th Ѕ Iolo Scott
Under 10 (arbiter Peter Purland)
This was a very hard fought event with the lead changing hands several times and only two players failing to score enough to play in the Grand Prix final.
Thomas Payne went into the lead with 3/3 by defeating Paul Jones (on 2) whilst the other player on 2 points - James Turner was also beaten - by David Kett.
If Thomas had won his round 4 game he would have been guaranteed to be at least joint Champion, but he missed his chance losing to David Kett who went into the lead on 3 Ѕ. David in turn was then beaten by Paul Jones, whilst James Turner was inflicting another loss on Thomas. The two winners in these games thus shared the Championship on 4/5
1st = 4 Paul Jones, James Turner
3rd = 3 Ѕ Owain Davies, David Kett
5th = 3 Thomas Payne, Dylan Taylor, Gus Roberts
8th = 2 Rhyddian Downing, Marcello Verma, Alyssa Wang, Madison Jones
12th 1 Ѕ Nathan Williams
13th 1 Saffron Herbert
Under 12 (arbiter Peter Purland)
Ben Thomas (age 8) who has decimated all opposition in U8-10 age groups for the last two years tried his hand against older and more experienced opposition, and immediately found things were not as easy, only drawing in round 1 and then through inexperience turning down a draw because his opponent was short of time, but in a position he could not hope to win, before blundering and losing.
Meanwhile, four players had reached 2/2, with Charles Kett losing in Round 3 to Kristian Prosser, whilst Philippe Rodgers and Luke Kostanjsek were drawing. The latter two went on to share the title, Philippe beating Kristian in Round 4 and Morgan Taylor in Round 5, whilst Luke was defeating Dan Smith and Jonathan Eddyshaw. Kristian took 3rd place, with Ben recovering from his poor start not quite making the prize list.
1st = 4 Ѕ Philippe Rodgers, Luke Kostanjsek
3rd 4 Kristian Prosser
4th 3 Ѕ Ben Thomas, Dan Smith
6th = 3 Nick Perret-Green, Jonathan Eddyshaw, Christopher Jakubiak
9th = 2 Ѕ Harry McCoy, Morgan Taylor, Josh McKenna
12th= 2 Tamara Herbert, Charles Kett, Geraint Downing, Shalome Kurian, Glen Hamilton
17th 1 Ѕ Ben Savidge
18th = 1 Matthew Hatton, Cavan Nolton
20th 0 Swagath Balanchandran
Under 14 (arbiter John D Thornton)
By the end of Round 2, Alex Freeland had moved into the sole lead on 2/2, with 4 players trailing him on 1 Ѕ. Alex never relinquished this lead, dropping only a half point - to Alex Wills in Round 4, though he was lucky to win a drawn K+gP v K ending with Ahmed Binesmael in Round 5, both sides misplaying. Alex Wills also went through undefeated for 4/5 and second place, whilst Roshan Daniel lost to Alex Freeland and drew with Alex Wills reaching 3 Ѕ for outright 3rd place.
1st 4 Ѕ Alex Freeland
2nd 4 Alex Wills
3rd 3 Ѕ Roshan Daniel
4th 3 Peter Downing
5th = 2 Ѕ Tim Turner, Ahmed Binesmael
7th= 2 Luke Stevens, Varum Varna
9th 1 Edward Pearce
Under 16/Under 18 (arbiter John D Thornton)
(Players are U16 unless indicated otherwise)
With a combined total of only 7 entries, this was run as a single tournament.
Jac Thomas (U18) took the clear lead after beating David Cleverly (U18) in a tough battle in Round 1 and then Sam Turner in Round 2. Wins in rounds 3 and 4 against James Thomas and Alex Bullen left Jac on 4 points already winner of the U18 title and a point and a half ahead in the overall event. Meanwhile, James Thomas had drawn with Sam Lazarus in Round 2 and just scraped a win against Sam Turner in Round 4, whilst Sam Lazarus had also reached 2 Ѕ from 4. To let the U16’s all have a fair crack at their own title, I took the unusual step of giving Jac the bye in Round 5, and from the remaining players, James Thomas beat Sam Turner fairly quickly, whilst Sam Lazarus eventually got a win in his game against Alex Bullen. Curiously, the competition behind Jac, James and Sam Lazarus was so tight that every player in this event received a trophy!
1st 5 Jac Thomas
1st = 3 Ѕ Sam Lazarus, James Thomas
2nd 2 David Cleverly
3rd= 2 Alex Bullen, Mohamed Binesmal, Sam Turner
Players competed throughout the event in a good spirit with no serious disputes, to trouble myself and the other two arbiters.
The Cathedral School provides a good venue for an event of this kind, with Sarah and Tim Kett liaising with the school to get rooms for the day. Suzanne Thomas and Russel Dodington provided refreshments, and Ian Eustis and Kevin Stavely did the remainder of the organising.
Parents must also be thanked for acting as chauffeurs and supporting their children in what was another successful day of hard fought junior chess
John D Thornton