Scotland’s top juniors started competition in this year’s Glorney Gilbert International. The event is being held at Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, Co. Meath, Ireland and approximately 40 km north of Dublin. The competition is divided into the Premier Glorney Cup (male) where the nations of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland compete at U-18 level in teams of 5. The corresponding Gilbert Cup (female) is being contested at U-18 level in teams of 3. In addition, the four nations are competing
for the U-14 Robinson Cup and U-12 Stokes Cup (teams of 6 respectively). Each player plays 2 games against their respective opponents from each nation over three days.
On Day 1 we witnessed some quality chess from the Juniors in the different teams. Scotland’s opponent in the morning was England. In the afternoon they played Ireland.
In the Gilbert Cup, team Scotland, represented by Caitlin Reid, Rachel-Lorna Smith and Stuthi Hedge, fought bravely against England in some very long matches but went down 0-3 in the end. In the Glorney Cup, Scotland went down 1.5-3.5 to England in a series of very close games. The star performance was a thumping win by Declan Shafi, our recently crowned Scottish Junior Champion. He was closely followed by a solid draw
from Lennart Koehn. In the Robinson Cup, we also suffered at the hands of England with a 2-4 scoreline. Here, Kai Pannwitz and Euan Gray earned solid draws on Boards 1 and 2. Callum Smith provided the win on Board 3 with strong ending play in a 2 xB vs B + N ending. The Stokes Cup was a much tighter affair with Scotland succumbing in the end 2.5-3.5. The U-12 players displayed plenty of talent with terrific wins on Boards 1 by Ben Volland and on Board 3 by Andrew MacMillan. A nice draw on Board 6 by Dietah Connolly-Sams made the final half point- so very close to scoring a big upset against the much higher graded England team.
In the afternoon, Scotland were paired against the much fancied Ireland team. In the Gilbert Cup the girls found it hard going with Stuthi Hedge making a very solid draw. The final score of 0.5-2.5 did not reflect the quality of the girls’ play overall. In the Glorney Cup, Scotland battled incredibly hard with the last 2 games to finish in the tournament hall being those of Carl Milton and
Jamie Underwood. Declan Shafi again showed his enormous talent by effortlessly demolishing Scott Mulligan with an impressive Queenside attack. A very long match saw Carl Milton also earn a very solid draw. A loss of 1.5-3.5 is not a reflection of the huge effort that the Scottish boys put in here. The strength of the Ireland teams was also reflected in their play in the Robinson Cup. Here, solid draws from Euan Dawson and and Callum Smith were not enough to prevent a 1-5 defeat. But late on Monday afternoon, it was our valiant U-12s that secured the first team victory with a 3.5-2.5 win over the Ireland team. Three nice wins from Ben Volland, Jake Sanger and James Hartman supplemented by a draw from Dietah Connolly-Sams secured a well-earned victory. Special mention should go to Ben Volland for a lovely win on the White side of a Caro Khan involving a beautiful Knight sacrifice on g6 plus a Rook Sac to secure mate. This game, that hopefully will appear in the Chess Scotland magazine in the near future, showed that the future of chess in Scotland is in good hands.