Gateway were once again in the English Primary Schools Chess Association competition at Camber Sands. We went into the Plate competition missing two Bucks U11 players, so not at 100 per cent, but still a strong squad to pose a threat to any of our rivals. There were 20 teams in total and we played the usual Swiss system, whereby you play a team of similar points and standard every round.
First round was up against one of the most feared... The Hall. They usually have several teams that qualify and Chess is a big focus. However this was one of their weaker inexperienced teams and we won 5-0
Next round, the favourites, Roundwood A. The opposite happened against a very strong side who went on to win the competition by a significant margin. We lost 0-5
The next round Herewood House, a close game and we came out fairly even.
So after Saturday we were placed 10th out of 20. The team were a little deflated by the second round defeat after such a good start. However we all had a pleasant evening dodging showers and a splendid BBQ close to the beach lavishly put on by the parents.
This did the trick! Sunday's first 2 rounds were hardly fought out and left us joint 7th going into the last round. However it is worth mentioning our Captain, William R, had injured his collar bone whilst playing on the dunes at Camber Sands. So were we a man down? No, William was determined to play on regardless.... true Gateway spirit - true grit and determination!
The final round put us against Roundwood B team, their A team had already shown us how strong they had fared, so how would their second string fair? Mr Sonley reminded all the Year 6 players (4 of the 5) that this is their last game for Gateway School, so try your best and take it slowly. However that seemed to fall on deaf ears as all players launched into familiar sets of frenzied moves. However each player was in the zone, making aggressive attacks move after move. A quick victory for Captain William seemed to inspire the others and victory's for Simon and Peter followed. Suddenly revenge was on the cards. A fantastic 5-0 victory which propelled us into a final position of fourth, a vast improvement on last year.
All the team deserve credit, the star performances were from Simon E and Felicity B who both came away with 4 wins out of 6. Simon's game and attitude has been superb in the last few weeks and this has paid dividends in his overall game-play. Felicity on the other hand was playing in her first tournament away and against children 2 years her senior. Tilly W, William R(c) and Peter N won 50 per cent of their games with 3 victories each. Special mention to Beatrice N who played as our reserve, probably our most patient player... a big chess future await her.