5th H+H Fire Train & Play - guest coach GM Chris Ward

Victorious Team Garry Kasparov

Selina in trouble against Henri

Kyan and Jenith battle out a tough draw on board one.

The highlight of the 5th H+H Fire Train and Play was not the team competition or coaching but the appearance of a birthday cake in the afternoon and everyone singing Happy Birthday. Thank you to Ting Ting and Richard for arranging this and to the children who believed Richard when he said I was 21.

GM Chris Ward is a former British Champion and a leading junior coach so we were lucky to find a time he could come along. He did a great job managing Team Bobby Fischer – our youngest players – and looking at player’s games as they finished. Chris has a natural empathy with children and was an ideal guest coach.

It was an ideal scenario after two rounds because all the teams had scored between 17.5 and 18.5 points and every match had finished 9.5-8.5 or 9-9. Balancing the teams is not easy (particularly when players cannot attend on the day and a reshuffle is needed). It is like handicapping a horse race where the handicapper wants every horse to jump the last fence simultaneously.

In the last round Team Garry Kasparov (managed by EJCA Coaching Organiser Nate Weersing) eased ahead to win for the first time. All 4 teams were separated by 3.5 points which is our closest ever finish.

These are great events but involve a lot of work to make them run smoothly. Thank you to everyone who helped out in different ways and thank you to the players whose enthusiasm and great sportsmanship make the days such fun to be part of.

Report by Robin Slade