The 25th combined West of England and Wiltshire Junior Championships were held recently at St. Joseph’s College, Swindon, with about 300 players taking part.
The older sections proved a triumph for the girls: the West of England Champion at both U-18 and U-16 was Radha Jain, whose eligibility is based on her being a pupil at Cheltenham Ladies College. The Wiltshire Champion for both age groups was Megan Owens who, although a native of Wales, was born in Salisbury.
The U-14 Champion was Kumar Dixit of Hampshire. At U-12, the Champions were Michael Ashworth and Eleanor Hapeshi both of Gloucester. In the U-10 group, the Champion was Harry Grieve (Hants) and the Girls title was won by Martha McCarron (Wilts). There was a tie in the U-9 section between brothers Thomas and Charlie McLaren of Wiltshire, so they won the county title as well. The U-8 Champion was Daniel Seymor (Wilts) while there was a tie for the Girls title between sisters Venetia and Mercedes Hobkirk-Caps of Gloucester. Wiltshire’s U-7 Champion was Rachel Fairfax.
The standard at the top end of each section was extremely high, and national team selectors take great notice of who is coming up through the ranks with a chance of representing their country.
The event was organised by the WECU Junior Organiser, Bev Schofield, with much help on the day from a host of volunteer helpers.
The very first West of England Junior Champion was P. T. Burnett of Kingswood School, Bath, when the event was held in Bristol in 1948. I wonder if he’s the Philip Burnett who plays for the Bristol Cabot club?
Here is an encounter from the WECU Junior Championship of 1974 that won the Best Junior Game prize.
White: H. Sommers. Black: A. W. Brusey.
French Defence [C00]
1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Be2 Nf6 5.0–0 Bd6 6.Re1 0–0 7.d4 Re8 8.Bg5 Bg4 9.Nc3 c6 10.Ne5 Be6 11.Qd2 Nbd7 12.Nxd7 Bxd7 13.Bf3 Re6 14.Rxe6 Bxe6 15.Re1 Be7 16.Ne2 Ne4 An exchanging line which forces an ending in Black’s favour. 17.Bxe7 White has nothing better. 17…Nxd2 18.Bxd8 Nxf3+ 19.gxf3 Rxd8 20.Nf4 Re8 21.Nd3 Kf8 22.Nc5 b6 23.Nxe6+ Rxe6 24.Rxe6 fxe6 White’s inferior pawn formation gives Black a big advantage. 25.Kg2 Kf7 26.Kg3 Kf6 27.Kf4 c5 28.c3 g5+ 29.Kg4 cxd4 30.cxd4 e5 31.dxe5+ Kxe5 32.Kxg5 d4 33.f4+ Kd6 After 33…Ke4 34.f5 d3 Black queens first but will find it hard to win. 34.f5? The fatal error. 34.Kg4 Ke6 leads to a draw – despite being a pawn up, White is not going to win. 34…d3 35.Kh6 d2 36.Kxh7 d1=Q 37.f6 Qg1 0–1
The solution to last week’s position was 1.Qf5! forcing 1…Kg3 and 2.Bf2 mate follows. How can White repeat a 2-move mate this week?