On a beautiful Saturday morning 16 Hong Kong youth chess players and 23 accompanying supporters took the ferry to Macao to play in the Hong Kong – Macao Interport Chess Match and defend the Pearl Delta Cup the Hong Kong team had won in the home match on 2 March 2013.
In Macao, Jose Silvereinho, the President of the Macao Chess Federation, welcomed us at the ferry terminal and with a coach bus he had arranged we were smoothly brought to the chess venue about 15 minutes before start of the first game. The venue turned out to be a very nice place, provided to the Macao Chess Federation by the government several years ago, with our opponents and their supporters awaiting us.
Jose had already let know that this time Macao’s line up was the strongest possible with 11 out of their 16 players representing Macao at the World Youth Chess Championship in Al Ain in December 2013 …
Our line-up was still very solid and the reason why most of our youth do not participate (we do have 2 Caissa players representing Hong Kong) in the World Youth is not related to lack of quality but more so the absence of government support into the Hong Kong Chess Federation to subsidize the costs, e.g., with 80% like the Macao government does.
If there was any worry about our line-up, it was related to the fact that seven of our players had to play in older age categories. But all seven were Hong Kong’s top players in their age categories and they would surely put up a fight one age group up.
The tournament was played over 4 rounds, a round robin, meaning that all players would play against all 4 opponents in their group.
Our U6-U8 team with Harold, Mei Jing, Regis and Maxwell faced very strong opposition. Despite some very impressive wins of several of our players, the Macao team won this age group convincingly. Yet, Mei Jing, with her 2 points, won the best girl trophy and saved our honor.
Our U10 team with Marco, Rachel, Miguel Angel and Gerent was our best performing team. We won the age group prize, also because we had a very strong Marco score 3.5 points and as a side effect collected the individual 1st prize – well done! Rachel, Miguel Angel, Gerent and a Macao player had all scored 2 points and had to play a tie-break round robin for 3rd prize which was won by the Macao player. The 2 points for Rachel, however, entitled her to get the best girl trophy and as such in this age group we grossed three prizes!
Our U12 team with James, Ray, Samira and Bryant faced probably the strongest Macao team relative to age. James was able to score a couple of points here but unfortunately, apart from Ray who courageously played his first tournament, the fact that our other three players were younger than U12, and much less experienced on the whole, took its toll.
Our U14 team, with Melvin, Katrina, Edrien and Richard, put up great resistance. All players scored some points. After 4 rounds Richard had to play a tie-break for first place which he lost to a much older and more experienced player and Katrina had a tie-break match for third prize which she unfortunately lost on time before she could start check mating her opponent with a queen up in the end game.
Macao deservedly won and many congratulations to our Macao friends. We were glad to have participated in a very well-organized match in a friendly atmosphere and we look forward to meet again next year, which will be a home match.
On our organization side, we will try to improve on the recruitment of our players, via e.g., an open registration, to avoid that too many players have to play an age group up – as this is a significant influencing factor. Apologies.