This yearís WA Junior Chess Championships were held at Perth Modern School on the weekends of 7/8 & 14/15 of May. We were originally going to hold them at the end of the school holidays but some schools changed the dates of their holidays, making this too hard. When we were looking for suitable dates, not easy with our calendar, the first two weekends in May jumped out as being ideal. In our excitement, we overlooked that Motherís Day and the WA football derby both fell in that period! This was a nuisance, but we worked around it as best we could.
The overall entry of 39 was about normal for this event, but we continue to struggle to attract Girls. This year, we were unable to present Girls prizes in the Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 divisions.
Jack South, Dennis Holland and myself shared the DOP duties. Apart from scheduling problems, the event ran very well.
As usual, these two divisions were combined, because only 7 players entered. From the beginning, it looked like a straight fight between Thomas Pinnock and William Williams. This proved to be true, with Thomas winning the crucial game and becoming WA Junior Champion. However, although we had not seen too much of Sam Cunningham prior to this event, he put in a good performance, just losing to the top two.
There were several Under 14 players who could easily have stepped up to the top division: Aston Taminsjah, Varun Mukhedkar and George Carolin-Unkovich. In the end, Aston and Varun dominated the event.
We suffered a slight scheduling error at the end of the first day. We only announced session times, without trying to decide how many rounds would be held in each session. This is because it is difficult to predict just how long these games are going to last. However, a couple of players thought we were only going to play 2 rounds on the first day. As it turned out, there was enough time for the third round. Unfortunately, we did not realise until too late that Aston had already gone home, and had to suffer a forfeit.
In their individual game, Aston defeated Varun and we now have a tie for the WA Under 14 Championship, which will be resolved by a two game play-off. From my point of view, this is the best outcome.
Sean Xiong easily won the Under 12 WA Championship, winning his first six games before drawing with Yash Shitole in the last round. Matthew Ashworth and Nicholas Pizzino played well to finish equal second. Nicholas, in particular, finished above a number of players higher rated than himself.
This division saw our first female player, with Indira Savory winning the Under 12 WA Girls Championship.
The Under 10 division was a very closely fought affair, unlike some of the other age groups. The last game to finish, between the two equal leaders (Heron Carson and Amul Dharmapuri) was watched with intense interest by the rest of the players. When the game finally ended in a draw, pandemonium broke out as we finished up with a five way tie for first, and several lucky young boys suddenly had a second chance!
These 5 players (Ignatius Yap, Heron Carson, Amul Dharmapuri, James Kim and Gary Zheng) all came back the next weekend for the play-off, which consisted of a round-robin tournament. This time, Ignatius won every game to become the WA Under 12 Champion. Heron, James and Gary all played very well in view of their limited tournament experience.
Casey Tay won the Under 10 WA Girls Championship.
Report by Haydn Barber