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Glorney Cup 2017
The Welsh Chess Union are hosting the Glorney Gilbert International 2017.
Arrival - 23 July, Departure- 27 July 2017 at Park Inn Cardiff North, Circle Way, Cardiff.
The Scotland squads:
Declan Shafi, Euan Gray, Siddarth Berera, Leston D’Costa, Alexander Bond
Jake Sanger, Ben Volland, Marco D’Alessio, Jonathan McKay, Sambhav Chadha, Kalyan Kante
Connor Sibbald, James Hartman, Dietah Connolly Sams, Ritvik Maheshwari, Sorcha Shepherd, Chelsea Liang
Daily Reports From Ruairdh McKay
2017 Glorney Report
On a warm Sunday morning, the Fishers Tours coach rolled into the usual hideouts to pick up young Scottish warriors for a journey south to battle for glory. The air conditioning was working in the front half and this was naturally where the adults gravitated to. Whatever the heat and humidity conditions in the back (perhaps good prep for playing hall conditions anyway), it seemed not to take away from the experience and excitement of the journey as games of Monopoly Deal were one of the vehicles for banter and hilarity.
The evening meet was full of anticipation and pride as adults took photos of juniors looking smart in their new international Chess Scotland polo shirts. Other juniors milling about in their England and Ireland shirts added to the excitement of the days to come. As well as the 5 nations’ A-teams, in each competition there was a B-team provided by one of the nations which made up the 6th team. In Glorney and Robinson, there was an Ireland B team, in Stokes there was an England B team and in Gilbert there was a Wales 2nd team.
As the French had arrived at 3am due to their transport issues, the start times to the rounds were pushed back with the morning round starting at 11:15am and the afternoon round at 4:30pm. The English had the pleasure of playing a presumably tired French whilst our morning round was against Wales, who took the home team prerogative of all arriving at their boards with a couple of minutes to spare. Those who finished early had the pleasure of heading through to the Irish room and going on a live commentary Twitch TV feed being done by Henry Li and his Irish Chess Union colleagues. James Hartman in particular delivered a quick swashbuckling win which he then went on internet TV to speak about. The results came fast and quick from the Stokes team with James, Dietah, Sorcha and Chelsea all scoring towards a Scotland win in the Stokes. Declan also scored a quick win with a line he had used on the same opponent 2 years ago where his king in the middle was quite safe.
As the results started filtering in, it became clear that an impressive points haul against the Welsh was in the offing. Wins for Alex and Leston as well as a draw for Siddarth gave Scotland 3 1/2 points out of 5 in the Glorney. Stuthi managed a draw in the Gilbert. In the Stokes, there were 3 wins and 2 draws with there being 3 wins and 1 draw in the Robinson. There were a few disappointing losses but the instinctive reaction back at Base Camp to such news was always that of support and consolation, with all having been there before.
So with an impressive and dominant showing against the host nation Wales, the mood was buoyant and ‘gallus' heading into the late afternoon clash with the Auld Enemy. This time there were no quick results and the Marie Celeste feeling back at the base lasted longer before the first returns. First ones back this time were losses and the reality bit of being up against a strong English side. Highlights however were a draw for Sorcha in the Stokes and draws for Alex and Siddarth in the Glorney. Siddarth in particular was playing a game which was capturing the imagination of internet TV and was then on the newly acquired overhead projector in the Scotland Team Room. Despite an adventurous h-pawn in the opening and strong effort to promote his passed pawn in the ending, time was his enemy and a draw was agreed.
The team that bucked the trend against England was the Robinson team who pulled out an identical result to the morning efforts against Wales. There were wins for Ben, Marco and Jonathan and a draw for Kalyan.
The French in the morning followed by the Irish in the afternoon. Both tough teams, particularly the Irish when it comes to Glorney 2017, who throughout the week have demonstrated that top players with high gradings matter but so does team spirit, organisation, access to an outdoor football pitch and an internet TV channel.
The French were strong today however and perhaps the good night’s sleep may helped with this. Board 1 wins for Declan Shafi against Anatole Kieffer (FIDE rating 2199) in the Glorney and Jake Sanger against Alexandre Rachid (FIDE rating 2044) in the Robinson were notable. Declan delivered a delicate manoeuvring game but then sacrificed a couple of pawns and got a winning initiative with queen and rook. Marco D’Alessio scored a good draw against an opponent rated 1974 where he managed to claw back well the other player’s initiative and material.
The Robinson team were still 2nd going into their afternoon match against Ireland A. Given that Irish had beaten the French quite convincingly on Day 1 and were leading the crosstable, this was going to be a tough match. In that context, a draw by Jonathan and a fine win by Ben Volland over a strong opponent in Dennis Ruchko. Ben’s slow and steady squeeze on his opponent’s lack of development on the queen side eventually left the result in no doubt.
In the Glorney against Ireland A, draws were achieved by Declan, Siddharth and Alexander. Euan’s match against Alex Byrne was being cheered on in the Team Room and Euan was unfortunate not to hold the draw in the knight and pawns v bishop and pawns ending.
Of last particular mention in Round 4 was Stuthi Hegde’s draw against recently crowned World Under-17 Champion Diana Mirza. Diana’s solid approach as white showed respect for Stuthi’s play and a draw resulted.
Tuesday evening was pizza night! Orders were clumped together into large pizzas and different ends of the squad who happened to have the same taste in pizza got to meet each other. Football in the patch of ground outside the Irish team room also happened with the Francophones (players and coaches) playing the Anglophones (players).
Prep for the next day’s round then happened before bedtime given the early start….
There was one round today and it was an early 9:15am start. This was our round against the 'B' teams with our Glorney and Robinson teams playing Ireland B, our Stokes team playing England B and Stuthi playing Wales.
Stuthi once again showed her skills and composure and was able to hold her opponent to a draw. She thoroughly deserves plaudits for staying proud and representing her country despite lacking teammates this week. Alba gu bràth Stuthi.
Declan once again won on Glorney Board 1 against Alice O’Gorman. He went the exchange down but got that exchange back and throughout the action he snaffled a first then a second pawn advantage which was decisive in the end game. Alexander came back with a respectable draw (which he described to me as “lucky”, but on seeing the post-game analysis, perhaps some of that ‘luck’ to get back into the game was a bit of pluck as well). Euan, Leston and Siddharth fought bravely before succumbing. Siddharth in particular had another nail biting endgame in which he had done well to get a winning position but made a heartbreakingly inaccurate move just at the end. As a 14 year old born literally one day on the wrong side of the FIDE age cut-offs, Siddharth’s play across the week for the Glorney team has demonstrated he is more than capable at that level. Edinburgh Tiger Cubs will be proud of all their juniors coming through and Siddharth ranks highly amongst them. Whilst I mention great youth work, the other hotbed chess academy supplying players to the Scottish team is the work of Harry Marron in Lenzie (Marco D’Alessio in particular has had a great tournament). But this should not overshadow the recognition of the achievements of those juniors who have made their own way to selection - choosing hard study and chess tournaments over what most of their other peers are doing.
So the Glorney was won by the French for the first time in 17 years as they finished 3 and a half points clear of England. They celebrated well into the night (but more of that later). The Gilbert was won by the Irish pipping the French by half a game point.
The Stokes team represented Scotland well. James Hartman was the one for results and impressive games, but there needs to be special mention made to Connor Sibbald for the way that he led the line on Board 1 and conducted and applied himself to the task with national honour and pride throughout the tournament. These Stokes players showed fantastic team spirit and support for each other when results were difficult (including our Stokes team and others coming to support and applaud Ritvik fighting out that draw on the last board of the last Stokes game). As many of us know, it is this attitude in particular at such a young age that promotes development as chess players and as people. Chelsea, Ritvik, Sorcha and Dietah (as well as Connor and James who I previously mentioned), you did your country proud.
The Scotland team with the best results haul was in the Robinson. But then this was a Scotland team with the talents of Jake Sanger, Ben Volland and Marco D’Alessio - all players who we have watched develop into strong 1700 and above calibre over such a short space of time. The Irish were stronger than everybody here and demonstrated that not just with victory but the supply of a strong and competitive Ireland B team. Scotland, England and France were all bunched close together behind and in the end we finished 3rd above England A (having beaten them on the Monday afternoon) which is an achievement to be applauded in any context. Well done boys! Special mention to Sambhav and Kalyan who - as well as good results - brought many good things to squad camaraderie and ethic. Sambhav managed an average tournament rating of 1585 whilst Kalyan got 1394 and will no doubt have international FIDE ratings post-tournament fairly soon.
Following the end of the tournament is when the real fun started with afternoon and evening blitz tournaments (the evening one being organised by ourselves) allowing people to get to know each other properly following all the seriousness of the previous days. Plenty of stories there but probably not for the website report ;)
Here’s to our juniors and congratulations on a great showing at Glorney 2017. Math dha-rìribh!