ESSEX

OXFORDSHIRE

1 D.G. Cannan 1 - 0

A.J. Wyeth

2 M. Petchey 1 - 0

R. Jacobs

3 C. Barratt 0 - 1

I.R. Brooke

4 D. Bird 1 - 0

A. Collins

5 W. Pottrill 0 - 1

M. Brindley

6 M. Ashkettle 0 - 1

A. Heslop

7 N. Hopgood ½ - ½

L. Collins

8 J. Figgins ½ - ½

J. Booker

9 R. Hayley 1 - 0

F. Fallon

10 B. Sheppard ½ - ½

R. Soulsby

11 T. Allen 1 - 0

D. Metcalfe

12 M. Kingsley 0 - 1

P. Staniland

13 G. Benger ½ - ½

D.A.S. Buckland

14 E. Lodge ½ - ½

C. Kerrigan

15 R. Giddens 1 - 0

M. Creasey

16 P. Pattison 1 - 0

J. Buchanan

9½ - 6½

Another excellent win by the Essex under-125 team over their Oxfordshire counterparts leaves the Essex team strongly placed to participate in the National stages of the competition. Essex have now won four out of their five matches to date and lead the table, ahead of Kent, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Sussex.

Richard Joyce continues to pick a team nicely balanced between youth and experience. There can be few players in the County with greater experience than Dave Cannan, and if his form for the County this season is matched in his league and congress chess, then it seems probable that he will be too highly graded to be allowed to compete in the under-125s next year. At the other end of the scale, 13-year-old Robert Giddens continues to notch up points: Robert is graded 99 and is therefore the board 1 for the under-100 team. At his current rate of improvement it seems possible that he too might become ineligible for the 1996-97 season.

Warren Pottrill, of the Southend Club, was playing in his first County match. Warren achieved an astonishing improvement in grade from last year's list to this: 65 points, which must be some kind of a record for an adult player. Having played him earlier in the season, and having been rather fortunate to escape with a draw, I would speculate that his grade may increase still further from its current 123.

The remaining three matches are against Kent, Surrey and Sussex, all of whom Essex managed to beat in the pre-Christmas matches. Two teams qualify to the National stages, and it seems likely that one more win should see them through.

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The Essex Chess Association has nine new coaches amongst its members. Recently a weekend course was organised in which Chief National Coach Bob Wade braved the elements to visit Temple Sutton School, Southend where he put the candidates through their paces. Some of the nine will be in action on 21st February when approximately 50 of the top under-11s and under-9s will be invited to an intensive day's training at Temple Sutton in preparation for the forthcoming inter-county matches at the two age groups.