Three teams dominated the English Primary Schools' Chess Association under-9 Inter-Association Championships, held at Woodlands School, Basildon, at the weekend. The Essex team scored very well in the first round, with all of the top seven boards winning. However, with only 1½/5 on the bottom boards, Essex were a point behind Kent when the round ended, with Richmond in third place on 7/12.

The second round was an excellent one for the home side who scored 10/12. The only losses were on boards 3 and 8 as Essex overhauled Kent to take a one-point lead. The curious nature of the Jamboree pairings meant that Essex players had met only three Kent players in the first two rounds, but the good news was that Heather Walker, Nicholas Jellett and Edward Morris had notched up two wins and a draw. At the end of round 2, Essex had 18½/24, ahead of Kent (17½) and Richmond (16½). North-west London had scored 12.

Essex players were due to meet Kent in three games in the final round, and the key game would clearly be on board 1 where Bobby Payne had the white pieces against Thomas Rendell.

Three other Essex players met Richmond opposition, so it was essential for Essex to beat everyone else and score well against the two main rivals.

The first part of that plan worked well, as Essex quickly notched up wins against the six opponents who were not Kent or Richmond. Sam Waterson, board 8 and the only Clacton player in the side, had the misfortune to meet opponents from each of the nearest rivals, and he failed to contribute to the Essex total. One other player, Nicholas Jellett, also met this combination on board 5 but Nicholas was made of sterner stuff and defeated all of his adversaries. His game against the Kent player was an especially fine example of controlled chess. Edward Morris also had to play a Richmond opponent in the final round, and although he lost rook for bishop, his determination saw him through as he never allowed his opponent to launch an attack.

The Championship was effectively decided by the last two games to finish. Josiah Lutton, on board 2, had played well in the early part of his game: he had sacrificed material for a strong attack from the Wilkes-Barre opening, and when the queens were exchanged he was able to gather three pawns for his sacrificed piece. It looked as though the ending should have been winning for black, but then disaster struck and Josiah lost two pieces in quick succession. Bobby Payne was ground down on board 1 by his Kent counterpart, to allow Kent to overhaul the Essex total. The National Finals for the under-9s will be in Torquay on 27th April. The top four teams qualify.

Pos

Team

Score

1

Kent

27
2

Essex

26½
3

Richmond

25½
4

N.W. London

17
5

Barnet

13½
6

Hertfordshire

7

Suffolk

8

Essex players' scores (three rounds):-