ESCC: Flying the flag at the European Schools Chess Championships

Yes, the Varneys and Sheremetyevas did travel with BA to get here, but that’s not what I’m referring to.

Yesterday (17th June) the girls received their England shirts and badges after the introductory team meeting and it was time to bring the England flags and balloons out.

Here it is appropriate to mention the official ECF website link and England juniors Twitter feed for the tournament. There’s a particularly relevant photo of Zoe, Elizaveta and Marianne getting to grips with a St George (flag, not opening) together with their team mate, Asha Jina.

Zoe had predicted that she would be playing Marianne in the first round because they were the only two unrated players in the U15 girls section and it appeared to be the way things were done previously. Fortunately, however, that was not the case.

When the draw was finally published at around 12:30, we saw that Marianne had Black against the 5th seed while Zoe was White against the 6th seed.

In the U13 girls section, Liza was in the top half of the draw, so facing a lower-rated opponent. With lunch, a team meeting and photos to fit in between getting onto the website with the draw and setting off for the venue for the first time, that left almost no time to prepare against the individual opponents.

Liza was first to finish, and was quite upset to have lost to a lower-rated player, only really cheering up after a late-night trip to the beach with Zoe.

Marianne followed soon after, around the 3 hour mark, having lost due to a miscalculated combination.

It was literally just a few minutes later still that Zoe came out of the venue with a big grin. In the words of her coach, quoted on the ECF website report (see link above) she “generated a sparkling attack that culminated in a win of her opponent’s Queen.”

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Andrew Varney

Andrew is an ECF-accredited chess coach and very active in coaching juniors in the Oxfordshire area on a professional basis. He attends Cumnor Chess Club when he gets a chance to take a break from coaching on Thursday nights. One of the books he recommends to his students is ‘How to Beat Your Dad at Chess’ but his own children are definitely beyond the point of needing such a reference!

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