It's been a long and tough chess season this year, especially for us parents, but the end was in sight this weekend at the TeraFinals in Daventry. 2 of our Downend Juniors qualified for this prestigious event where the final 250 out of 44,000 juniors around the UK were to battle it out for prizes and titles. Both Oli and Toby were in the TeraFinals Challengers A section, which included all age groups ranging from U8s to U17s and players with grades as high as 206.
The event this year was feature packed with live boards shown on Chess24, commentary from GM David Howell, GM Stephen Gordon and IM Malcolm Pein. It was a big revamp from previous years with Sarah Longson's hard work very evident.
Oli has been in a great run of form lately and as predicted he was setting the pace playing great chess and going unbeaten on Day 1 with an amazing 2½ out of 3. Toby on the other hand was finding it tough, by all accounts a very disappointing 1st day with only 1 win out of 3 and finding the 60min +10 sec increments evaporating far too quickly. However, it's easy to forget how formidable the field of players were, for sure there were not going to be any mugs here.
Day 2, Oli wasn't feeling too well and Toby had to dig deep after his disappointing start, his personal goal was to win all 3 games (I'll be honest, I wasn't confident). Both boys had to show character and grit to get through the final day. Oli was unfortunate in Round 4, narrowly beaten by a 159 after out playing his opponent in the opening and middle game but he came back with a draw and a win in Rounds 5-6. Toby managed to pull off his masterplan, winning all 3 games, his final game being so tense and close it was the second from last board to finish. At the end, both boys finished with a superb 4 out of 6 coming 10th overall and Toby winning joint Top U11s.
It was a great weekend, with great commentary from the David, Malcolm and Stephen. Also, a big congratulation to all juniors from Bristol and Somerset, I counted at least 9 that were competing. A special mention for Chirag from North Bristol Chess Club, he managed an amazing 5 out 6 and came Joint Winner in the TeraFinals Challengers B section.