International Junior Challenge Match Sat 8th April
Exeter Juniors vs Philadelphia ASAP
We were invited to play chess over the Internet against an American team from Philadelphia, a match organised by MindSports International.
1 Nick (Black) 1-0 Srisa (White)
2 Vignesh (White) 0-1 Shira (Black)
3 Reece 0-1 Elijah
4 Agnes 0-1 Manas
5 Josh 0-1 Sammy
6 Quillan 0-1 Linda
7 Ned 1-0 Amy
8 David 0-1 Jamal
The plan was to meet before the match at Oxygen House, the headquarters of ATASS Sports, aiming for a 2.00 start (UK time), but road closures and motorway incidents led to central Exeter being gridlocked. Poor Josh had to abandon his journey, having taken about 40 minutes to drive as many yards -- but, as it was an online match, he joined in from home!
We were also joined in person by Anne Willis and Frank Dore from MSI, who kept a steady hand on the technological tiller as we started, and had some surprise gifts for the players.
Once all the players were assembled online at the MindSports Academy site, the match began. In the end the challengers won with a big plus score. There were lots of close games and we could have hoped for a better result, but everyone tried their best and had a good time. The closest game may have been the top board match, where Nick won on time when he was within a second of running out of time himself!
After the match, local Grandmaster Keith Arkell took on everyone at once: over the board in Exeter, and over the Internet against Philadelphia. He disposed of most of the local opposition quickly, but the Internet challengers gave him some tough games, and Keith was very impressed with the quality of their play. We think he dropped just one half-point, against Devon's Vignesh -- many congratulations to Keith and to Vignesh! Keith also played some blitz handicap and 'Exchange' games against the players, which was fun.
Exeter Club Secretary, Dr Dave Regis, said, "We were very pleased to be involved in this great event. The players could chat to each other between moves, and everything ran smoothly. So, many thanks to MSI for their initiative and for coming all the way to look after us on the day. And they managed to produce a Grandmaster to sit in and play against the teams afterwards, which was very exciting for the youngsters. So, many thanks to Keith, too!"
"We are also very grateful to our hosts, ATASS Sports, who provided the venue and computers for the match. We literally couldn't hope to do it without them and we thank them very much for their generous support for the event."
Match supervisor, David Beckwith, remarked, "I'm really pleased we did this. We had the whole range of skills and ages represented, and the atmosphere all day was just great -- cheerful and relaxed, despite the intellectual pressure!"
Grandmaster Keith Arkell commented: "I was delighted to be part of this wonderful celebration of chess. I thought the match was of a high quality. The games were very tight at the top, and although the English lost a number of the lower boards, the games were competitive and the home lads punched back in a number of the 'friendly' games they played with their Philadelphia opponents afterwards.
Keith added: "I found the simul I performed afterwards to be extremely tough. Everybody really dug in against me, and while only one player took half a point off me, others might think themselves unlucky not to have done the same. Congrats to the MindSports Academy, Dave, Tim and all on a great organisational effort."
Dr Dave added: "One of ATASS's sister companies, Sparx, conducts research in maths education, and may have been amused to see copies of Martin Gardner's recreational mathematics books changing hands at the end of the afternoon!"
A peek at a neighbour's game
All eyes on the play
Deep in thought
Everyone on task
Heads down -- Grandmaster watching
Hello, what has happened there
Making a move
Three face the Grandmaster...
...While five wait on the screen