UK Youth team wins 3-2 against Croatia
Alison Bexfield, UK Youth Team Captain, brings us these 2 stories - the first pre-match, and the second post-match - to follow on from her UK Squad announcement. The 2018/19 European Youth Go Team Championship (EYGTC) is held online over four rounds, on KGS.
The UK Youth team is today (24th November 2018) playing its first international match of the season, with a game against Croatia. The UK is starting in the second half of the 12 national teams, so is playing another of the teams in our half of the draw.
My UK team selection takes account of a number of things, including selecting a team that could win the match, trying to make sure all team players have a chance to play at least one match in the tournament, and trying to make the games not too unbalanced. (It is not much fun to either player, if a 3-kyu is fielded against a 17-kyu, and it does little to help the development of either player).
So we are aiming for games that are reasonably close strength-wise, but give us a chance of winning each match. This can involve some guess work as to who the other team are also fielding, out of their named squad. And or course is not an exact science as junior grades, we hope, quickly become out of date.
The final line-up for our first match against Croatia looks particularly close on paper on every board, offering the prospect of a really exciting match which could go either way.
Board 1 was played early and Daniel did well in his first appearance for the team, by securing a victory in a close game by just 2.5 points.
The remaining games will be played at 2pm today in the euro team room on KGS.
Daniel Yang (black) 1 dan v Mirta Medak (white), 1 dan on KGS.
Edmund Smith (white) 3 kyu v Robert Medak (black), 4 kyu KGS.
Alexander Hsieh (black) 9 kyu v Stjepan Medak (white), 9 kyu KGS.
Jianzhou Mei (white) 15 kyu v Darin Bosanac (black), 17 kyu KGS.
Zoe Walters (black) 17 kyu v Ivona Boric (white), 18 kyu.
I am pleased to report that the UK youth team have made a good start in the European Team championship, by winning their first match - against Croatia - 3-2.
All games were going to be close on paper, with no more than 2 grades' difference on any board.
Daniel Yang's game on board 1 was played a couple of days earlier. He and his opponent were closely matched, as expected with both being 1-dans. Daniel managed to hold on, in an exciting game, to win by 2.5 points.
Of the four games today, our strength on the two U12 boards proved decisive. Both Jianzhou (15 kyu) and Zoe (17 kyu) have been improving in recent months, and may be undergraded. They had relatively easy wins against their 17 kyu and 18 kyu opponents. It will be interesting to see how the pair fare at the British Youth Go Championships (BYGC) next Saturday.
We were very evenly matched on boards 2 and 3, grade-wise, but neither Edmund (3 kyu) nor Alexander (9 kyu) were able to clinch a win.
So the final result, whilst narrow, was a pleasing 3-2 win for the UK. A fine start, and we wish the players well in the 3 remaining Saturday fixtures, on 15th December, 12th January and 16th February.