4th H+H Fire Train & Play - guest coach WGM Harriet Hunt

Ethan and Urbi playing board 1
Ethan and Urbi playing board 1

Victorious team Bobby Fischer!
Victorious team Bobby Fischer!

On Sunday 2nd July, my brother Max and I went to the H+H Fire Train and Play event.

For the first time it was at the new location: Moulsham Junior School in Chelmsford. When we arrived we were surprised to see how large and modern the school was, with an amazing playing area for chess inside and huge playing area outside which included Astro Turf where we could play football.  

First we had a chess match and we were all split into 4 different teams: Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Judit Polgar and Magnus Carlsen. Max and I have been in Team Bobby Fischer from the very beginning, and it has all the youngest players. For the first time I was nominated as Team Captain, which made me nervous as I would need to play the toughest players, but at the same time made me feel very proud.

In the first round my team were against Magnus Carlsen, and I was paired against the highest ranked player in the competition: Urbi. Not surprisingly I lost; however, our team did really well as a whole because we won 13 points out of 20, putting us at the top, with Team Garry Kasparov in 2nd place with a very close 12 points.

After a quick break we had a coaching session, and we were very lucky to have special guest coach Harriet Hunt, who is a Woman Grandmaster and also Britain’s highest ranked female player. The theme was about which was the stronger piece – the bishop or the knight – in different positions.

We then had a lunch break, and after eating it the weather was so good that some of us went to play football on the Astro Turf, which was really fun.

Now it was the second round: my team were matched against Judit Polgar, which was an all-girl team who after round 1 was on 8 points and in 3rd position.

We only managed to get 9½ points, while the other teams all got 10 or more points. Luckily we were still in first place when both scores were added together – we had 22½ points and Garry Kasparov had 22. It was all to play for in the last round as we would be playing them then.

Before that, we had the 2nd coaching session and my group was being coached by Richard Pert who is an International Master, which means he knows a bit about chess.  He went through 2 of his own games and then those of my friends: Jerry, Olga and Nina.

Round 3 was soon here, and my team were now going to play 2nd placed Garry Kasparov, who were only ½ a point behind us. We had a pep talk first with our managers: Robin was our one, and Richard was theirs. Feeling pumped up we headed to our boards and were all very excited. The laughing and chatting stopped as we shook hands and started the clocks.

One by one, players were finishing and it looked to be very close. We knew that to beat Team Garry Kasparov we had to win at least half our games, but it was so close that the other 2 teams could win overall if they had a big win in this round. At the end of all the games, we still did not know who had won the tournament and we needed to wait until prize-giving before they would tell us.

After what seemed like forever, prize-giving time finally came, but they wanted to hand out prizes for the Grand Prix which was for the previous 8 Train and Play events. There were lots of prizes to hand out, including trophies, medals and toys that were selected by Nina and Max Pert. Both my brother and I got some too, which was nice.

Then it was today’s competition and they announced the results. In 4th place was Team Judit Polgar with 26 points, and in 3rd was Team Magnus Carlsen with 29½ points. This meant it was between us and Team Garry Kasparov. Richard announced that we both got 10 points in the final round, which gave us 32½ points to their 32 points. YES! Team Bobby Fischer had done it again and beaten all the ‘oldies‘ :-)

Every player in the Team got a prize of their choice, and we all had a really fun time. We are really looking forward to the next H+H Fire Train and Play event in September.

Report by Ethan & Max Yau