Day 2: Glorney Gilbert International 2015
Scotland were paired in the morning against Wales and in the afternoon against Ireland. The coaches and parents were noticing that some of the players who had played 9 days of gruelling chess previously in the Scottish Championship were starting to show signs of fatigue. Nevertheless, the standard of play in the morning was very high and there were again some notable successes. With the sum of game points being aggregated for the final match scores, every point was the subject of fierce completion. In the Gilbert, the Scottish girls competed hard against Wales with Stuthi Hedge gaining a creditable draw. One of the star performances of the morning was a beautiful win by Rachel-Lorna Smith with a decisive Queenside attack and the trapping of her opponents bishop in the corner of the board. This match ended in a 1.5-1.5 draw. In the Glorney, Scotland proved too strong for Wales with nice wins for Ben He, Jamie Underwood and Carl Milton. Lennart Koehn added a draw to win the match 3.5-1.5. In the Robinson, Wales proved to be too strong for the U-14 team with only Euan Dawson and Siddarth Berera being able to secure draws. Although the match ended 1-5, the scoreline does not tell the story of some battling performances some of which were not concluded until deep in the endgame. In the Stokes, there was also some disappointment with a 2-4 loss with sparkling wins from Jake Sanger and John Morrison. One of striking features of the squad is that they support each other. So with support from the coaches and parents, the squad rallied round after lunch with all determined to put in strong performances in the afternoon.
Ireland, the afternoon opponents, are developing a formidable array of strong junior players. In the Gilbert, they proved to be too strong for the Scotland team and went down 0-3. In the Glorney, there were draws for Declan Shafi and Carl Milton. A win for Ben He was insufficient however to win the match with the final result being 2-3. In the Robinson, Euan Dawson was first to finish. Down a piece in the opening and with the consensus being that a quick resignation was inevitable, he sacrificed the second Knight for a forced mate in 4 in front of a shell-shocked opponent. This seemed to spur on the others and after a win for Euan Gray and draws for Callum Smith and Kai Pannwitz a 3-3 draw was achieved. In the Stokes, Ben Volland produced a truly spectacular Knight sacrifice on f2 in the opening of what Hamish Olson described as a sort of reversed Fried Liver Attack, and following a devastating sequence of attacking moves which saw the White King wander across the board, mate quickly followed. Ben’s win was followed by a nice win for Andrew MacMillan but it was not enough and the team went down 2-4.
So tomorrow it is the auld enemy England in the morning and then the final match against Wales in the afternoon. The squad is in good spirit and ready for the challenges that tomorrow will bring.