Archive for September, 2016

Mamedyarov Cruises; Nepomniachtchi, Giri Win In ‘Kramnik Style’

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Three players took home the full point at the Tal Memorial today. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ruthlessly refuted over-optimistic play from Boris Gelfand, whereas Anish Giri and Ian Nepomniachtchi won in Kramnik style, the latter agai…

Source: Chess.com – Play. Learn. Share.

Mamedyarov Cruises, Nepomniachtchi, Giri Win In ‘Kramnik Style’

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Three players took home the full point at the Tal Memorial today. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov ruthlessly refuted over-optimistic play from Boris Gelfand, whereas Anish Giri and Ian Nepomniachtchi won in Kramnik style, the latter agai…

Source: Chess.com – Play. Learn. Share.

Inside Battle of Issus, A $1.65-Million Chess Set That Took 10 Years to Make

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Attention chess lovers and history buffs, there’s now a chess set at M.S. Rau Antiques in New Orleans on sale for $1.65 million. Named Battle of Issus after the second battle Alexander the Great fought against the Persian army (and first clash with Darius III) on November 5, 333 BCE , this impressive, late 20th-century chess set (25 1/2? wide x 25 1/2? deep x 10? high) is considered by Bill Rau, Owner and CEO of M.S. Rau Antiques to be “an exceptional work of art you won’t find anywhere else in the world.” As expected, like many expensive chess sets out there, a large number of precious stones can be found in this masterpiece. In addition to the pink rhodonite and green malachite that comprise the surface of the board and the bases of all the pieces, there are approximately 4 kilograms of 14K gold, 2.3 kilograms of 24K gold, 5 kilograms of …

Source: GameKnot online chess news

New Feature: Live Club Tournaments

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

We’re excited to announce a brand new way to bring real-time chess fun to your Chess.com clubs: live club tournaments! Administrators can now organize and create tournaments in live chess with ease for any of their clubs.
Each tourname…

Source: Chess.com – Play. Learn. Share.

Jon Ludvig Hammer – David Navara LIVE!

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Jon Ludvig Hammer and David Navara are going to play a friendly match, part of the Novoborska Sachova Corrida 2016. The match will consist of 4 classical and 4 rapid games. All games will be live with analysis on Chessdom.com.

All rounds start at 16:00 CET

Chessdom

World Youth Championships 2016: Round 6

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

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Round 6: The 18-year-old Make Their Choice

Six championships bring six different and thrilling plots. There are no primary and secondary events in Khanty-Mansiysk, however the most attention is naturally paid to the elder categories.

A match between the main favorites of the Open 18 championship was scheduled for today – the moment of truth, I would say. In the Girls 18 championship, three strongest players were running parallel courses… And the outcome? A standstill in both events!

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Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

The fight between Maksim Vavulin and Manuel Petrosyan was highly anticipated. These two players are showing the most well-rounded and determined game, and they also have a lot of history with each other. By now all our readers are probably aware of Petrosyan’s victory at the European Championship, as well as of Vavulin’s urge to avenge that loss. The Russian puts a great fight in Khanty-Mansiysk, plays uncompromising chess until the very last move, which sometimes brings him unexpected wins as a bonus. Petrosyan’s victories are less spectacular, but the outcome of his games is rarely in doubt. Interestingly, in today’s game it was Petrosyan who was desperate to win, as Vavulin’s tie-break is way better at the moment.

Manuel arrived wearing the warpaint – his left eye was heavily painted in iodine. Grandmaster Artashes Minanian, Armenian head coach, said the boy stumbled and fell. The injury did not reflect on Petrosyan’s fighting spirit. After the clocks were started, the Armenian closed his eyes, took his head in hands, and then confidently moved the queen’s pawn forward – 1.d4. Maksim responded with the Bogo-Indian Defense, and soon the players arrived at one of the critical positions of this subtle opening.

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Here Petrosyan took a lengthy pause and then made the natural, but rather committal 18.g4! White is completely mobilized on the kingside and must look for attacking options. The immediate bishops sacrifice yields nothing: 18.Bxh6 gxh6 19.Qxh6 Qd8 20.g4 Nxg4 21.Ng5 Bf5 22.e4 Bxg5!, and Black parries the attack.

18…Bxg4 19.Nh2 Qh5 20.Bxh6!? (after 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.Bf3 Bxf3 22.Nxf3 Rd8 23.Ne5! Rf8! White cannot hope for more than a draw) 20…Bxh4!? That’s the spirit! Vavulin is not satisfied with 20…gxh6 21.Qxh6 Bg6 – the opponent has too many pieces near the black king.

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Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

21.Qh3 Qe7 22.Bf4 Qf6?! This escalates a crisis that completely cleans up the board. Black could opt for 22…e5 23.Bg3 Bxg3 24.fxg3 Qg5, and White has definite compensation for the sacrificed pawn, but both sides still have plenty of resources.

23.Bxd6 Rxb6 24.Rxb6 Bxe2 25.Nf3! (25.R1d2 Qxf2+ 26.Kh1 Bg5 and Be3) 25…Bxd1 26.Qxh4 (26.Rxd1 Bg5 27.Nxg5 Qxg5 28.Qg3 is just a transposition) 26…Qxh4 27.Nxh4 Bc2. Vavulin ends up with an extra pawn, but his pieces are lacking coordination (the knight on b8 is particularly miserable), so the most likely outcome is a draw.

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28.Nf3 Rc8 29.Ne5! f6?! A blunder, after which Black cannot play for a win anymore. He had to settle the bishop first (29…Bf5!?), and only then pay attention to the white pieces. Petrosyan’s next move clarifies the situation.

30.Bh3! Kf8 31.Bxe6. Draw agreed. There players run out of ammunition after 31…Ke7 32.Rb6 Rd8 33.Ng4.

A decent grandmaster game, full of hidden pressure! Compare it with the game on the second table, with the evaluation jumping from “totally won” to “totally lost” a couple of times, and you will agree that there are only two suitable candidates for the gold in the Open 18 section. Vavulin or Petrosyan? Petrosyan or Vavulin? The Russian is slightly ahead, but there are still five games left to play, and the players are unlikely to win them all.

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Tsolakidou Stavroula (GRE)

In the Girls 18 section, there were three main contenders – Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece, Nino Khomeriki from Georgia, and Alexandra Obolentseva from Russia. The chances of Tsolakidou seemed slightly inferior, as she hasn’t played with the rivals yet, while Khomeriki and Obolentseva already passed their individual duel (drawn). The Greek obviously realized that, and it looks like she simply burnt out…

In a technically winning endgame against Siranush Ghukasyan she kept deteriorating her position until it was no longer won, and then some. The shock was strong; before finally resigning the game, Tsolakidou played a dozen moves being down a rook…

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Khomeriki Nino (GEO)

On other boards, both Khomeriki and Obolentseva won their games effortlessly. One could learn from the Georgian how to materialize a moral advantage – the opponents simply fear Nino! Take a look:

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Surprisingly, the position is objectively equal because the black king is weak. After, for instance, 34.Rd1 Qg6 35.Rd7 Rad8 36.R1xd3! cxd3 the game ends in a draw: 37.Qb3+ Kh8 38.Qc3+, etc. The Chinese Hu Yu A wants more, so she plays34.Nh5?!

34…Re7 (covering the g7-square) 35.Rc1?? Why would you place the knight on h5 if you don’t use the Q+N battery? After 35.Rxd3! cxd3 36.Nf6+ Kf8 37.Nh5! Black is forced to repeat the moves: 37…Kg8 38.Nf6+, etc.

35…Rf8! (it turns out difficult for White to defend on f2, plus the knight went loose) 36.Ng3 Qf6 37.f3? Protecting the f2-square (perhaps 37.Nh1! is better?), but Black has other targets.

37…b4! Unexpected and elegant. White loses a rook, so she resigned.

Obolentseva played White against Mariola Wozniak, successfully combining attack with defense, even won an exchange, but pushed too hard in an attempt to trap a queen.

D4

Black attacks b2 and h3. The Russian can retain all advantages of her position by 32.Bf6! Bxf6 33.Qxf6 Qxg3 34.Rd8+ Rxd8 35.Qxd8+ Kg7 36.Re4!, etc. Instead she plays for a trap – 32.Rd2, luring the queen on h3 with a one way ticket. The opponent takes the bait.

32…Qxh3! 33.f3? Black looks helpless against Rh2, trapping the queen, but it is just an illusion: 33…h6!!, and only White can have problems here. 34.Be7 (34.Bf6? Bxf6 35.Qxf6 Qg3+) 34…Rc4! 35.Rh2 (the only move) 35…Rxf4 36.Rxh3 Rd4!, and Black, despite being an exchange down, has excellent counterplay against White’s numerous pawn weaknesses.

Alas, the player from Poland replied by 33…Bf8?, and stopped the clock after 34.Rh2 Bc5+ 35.Kh1.

So now four players are in the lead with 5 points out of 6: Khomeriki, Obolentseva, Ghukasyan, and Michal Lahav from Israel. Tomorrow the favorites will be testing the ambitious newcomers.

My congratulations to those who have read this far! We are not done yet. First of all, let us celebrate the success from Haik Martirosyan (Armenia) and Semyon Lomasov (Russia) – they are the only participants of this tournament who won all six games! Martirosyan, who leads the Open 16 section, defeated the Italian Luca Minori with the extravagant 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 e5?!! Two moves with one pawn in the opening – what a challenging idea! White got a more pleasant endgame, but then played a bit too sharp, got a worse game and eventually lost a thread.

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Martirosyan Haik M. (ARM)

Lomasov, the leader of the Open 14, outplayed another Italian, Matteo Pitzanti, simply wearing him down in a lengthy struggle. Pitzanti defended accurately until the first control, but then started to make mistakes. Now Lomasov is a full point ahead of the nearest rival.

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Shuvalova Polina (RUS)

The favorites in the other two tournaments also continued their winning streak. Tomorrow the Russian Polina Shuvalova plays at “her own by right” first table of the Girls 16 section against the Indian Hagawane Aakanksha, who is currently half a point ahead. In the Girls 14 tournament, Aleksandra Maltsevskaya defeated her compatriot and main rival Elizaveta Solozhenkina, and tomorrow will challenge the lead of the Chinese Zhu Jiner, who is half a point ahead, too. The situation in these tournaments is still completely unclear.

* * *
The 6th round started with the minute of silence to mourn the passing of Mark Dvoretsky. All chess players, arbiters, coaches, and parents honored memory of this brilliant teacher. What were they reflecting about? Some of them probably recalled their meetings and conversations with this ironic, sometimes prickly man, who possessed subtle understanding of not only chess, but also the bigger world around us. Others thought about his books and lectures, which became classical over the course of the years. And some of them probably never heard about Dvoretsky until now, but will undoubtedly come across his works on the way to chess perfection. Without this foundation, one simply cannot become a decent player, even in our era of computers.

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A minute of silence in memory of Mark Dvoretsky

The coaches from former USSR were totally stunned by his death. For them it was like losing a parent, someone who holds the door to eternity for us all. He surely was a godfather for some of them, an inspiration to become a coach. Mark Izrailevich was always very open for his colleagues, always ready to share his experience, give an advice. He could do so much more… What is 68 years for someone totally dedicated to his profession? It seems reasonable to commemorate the great pedagogue who did so much for chess with founding a Mark Dvoretsky Award, either for the best juniors (Mark Izrailevich was amazing in turning promising juniors into World Champions) or, even better, for successful junior coaches…

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27 September 2016

Round Five. The Junction Point

The main favorites in nearly all categories of the FIDE World Youth Championships made strong steps forward, which may even be called decisive later on.

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Hakobyan Aram (ARM)

Let us start with the Open 14 section. The two Russians who were running at a full speed met on the first board – Andrey Esipenko and Semyon Lomasov. The former was a clear favorite before the start – being the European Champion and the Vice-Champion of the World, he is also rated 50 points above the second ranked player of the event and obviously has tremendous confidence in his ability. His opponent is ranked 5th, and was considered more of a dark horse.

The course of the tournament, however, did not quite support the prediction. Both players won four out of four, but Esipenko did not always win in a convincing way, often prevailing in attrition wars, while Lomasov’s games were very impressive, especially his second round victory.

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Esipenko Andrey (RUS)

Despite playing Black, Lomasov won the opening duel. First he carried out a favorable trade of the light-squared bishops – a key piece in White’s attacking setup, then offered a queen trade. Had Esipenko accepted the offer, the game could end quickly and peacefully. However, Andrey went for an attack by 17.Qg4, and burnt the bridges on the next move, sacrificing a pawn.

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Black’s reply 23…h5 looked like a wake-up call for White. While Esipenko spent time on regrouping his pieces, Lomasov blocked all roads leading to his king and started to utilize an extra pawn…

When the fate of the game was nearly sealed, Lomasov looked extremely nervous, as if he was scared to death to spoil everything with a random error, while Espineko seemed extremely confident. He will surely make use of this confidence – in the next six rounds, when he will be trying to catch up with the leader.

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Tabatabaei M.Amin (IRI)

The Open 16 section featured a similar plot – two leaders with the perfect score faced each other on the first board: Haik Martirosyan (#3, Armenia) versus Amin Tabatabaei (#2, Iran). The latter’s game in the first four rounds was nothing short of impeccable.

Martirosyan had White, and he started very cautiously, as if he was happy with a draw, not taking any risks, but then, after the queens were exchanged, suddenly grabbed the poisoned d5-pawn! Black quickly developed the initiative. Haik’s minor pieces look just pitiful on the diagram.

д.2
The handsome Iranian looked like a king, standing next to the table with arms crossed on a chest looking at his opponent’s misery. On the board, he did everything right – forced the opponent to make weaknesses and then put pressure on them. The only trump Haik had was his passed pawn on the h-file, which looked quite harmless for a long time.

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Tabatabaei M.Amin (IRI) and Martirosyan Haik M. (ARM)

However, the pawn made it to the h6 and suddenly started to make a difference. White managed to activate his pieces, and Amin cracked under the pressure.

д.3
An exchange sacrifice 59.Rxf4! sealed the game. Black was unable to stop White’s pawns. Martirosyan won his fifth straight game.

There were no such clashes in the Open 18 category, only the final preparatory steps took place. The main favorites, Maksim Vavulin and Manuel Petrosyan scored another wins. The Armenian slowly and without flashes outplayed his compatriot Aram Hakobyan, while the Russian once again created a fire on board and outsmarted his opponent from Madagascar on the fifth hour of play.

д.4
Who do you think is playing for a win? It turns out, White does. In the course of the next 10 moves, Vavulin stalemated his king on a5, seizing an excellent outpost on c5 for his knight. Rakotomaharo lost the thread of the game, made several moves with the knight – e6-g7-f5-d6, and then lost two pawns one after another.

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Vavulin Maksim (RUS)

Therefore, after the rest day we will have the high point of the 6th round – Petrosyan-Vavulin. Two months ago Manuel stole the European title from Maksim. Will the Russian strike back? We’ll see. The Armenian plays White, so the ball is on his side.

While the situation in Open categories is more or less clear, the Girls events are a complete mess. In the Girls 14 event the tandem of the Russian leaders fell apart. Elizaveta Solozhenkina moved to a sole lead, beating the American Annie Wang in a rook ending 3 vs 2, while Aleksandra Maltsevskaya drew against the Indian Nutakki Priyanka, never having a chance to play for a win.

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Solozhenkina Elizaveta (RUS)

The rating favorite of the Girls 16 event Polina Shuvalova won a second game in a row. Finally she managed to get an opening advantage, then misplayed, allowing the opponent to equalize, and then outplayed Vera Prakapuk for the second time – no wonder, as Vera is rated almost 500 points lower! However, the competitors also won their games. Aakanksha Hagawane from India defeated Anna-Maja Kazarian, who was a sole leader before the 5th round, with a checkmate on the board!

д.5
On the second table, Oliwia Kiolbasa won against Amina Battsooj – the Mongolian blundered an exchange and resigned immediately.

Finally, the Greek Stavroula Tsolakidou took a sole lead in the Girls 18 section. Her today’s opponent Mariola Wozniak played poorly in the opening, grabbed a poisoned pawn, and by the move 13 was already in a big trouble.

д.6
Tsolakidou could have won faster, but a win is a win.

The first board game between Nino Khomeriki and Alexandra Obolentseva could also end in a crushing victory for one of the players. The Russian mishandled the opening, and the rating favorite of the event achieved a totally dominating position on the 13th move.

д.7
However, the Georgian spent too much time preparing breaks on the e-file and then on the h-file, so Black managed to consolidate and eventually held a draw. Perhaps after the rest day the girls’ play will be more purposeful!

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Khomeriki Nino (GEO) and Obolentseva Alexandra (RUS)

P. S. Sad news arrived during the 5th round – Mark Dvoretsky, one of the greatest trainers of our time, passed away at the age of 68. Several generations of chess players grew up on his books and lectures, and dozens of famous grandmasters proudly proclaim themselves Dvoretsky’s students. Our condolences to the family members.


26 September 2016

Round 4. Thriller Time

Finally! The key clashes took place today in two age groups out of six. The Girls 18 category featured the most fierce and uncompromising battles between all the main contenders. The nearby boards also added some heat.

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Goltseva Ekaterina (RUS)

Let us begin with the main course. Two former World Champions of younger categories faced each other on the first board: the 15-year-old Greek Stavroula Tsolakidou and the 15-year-old Alexandra Obolentseva from Russia. Both started with 3 out of 3 and by no means were strangers on the top board. The game started to produce sparks from the very beginning. Tsolakidou, playing White, tried to surprise the opponent with a rare line, but Obolentseva easily found the right solution, arranged her pieces harmoniously, and White’s first inaccuracy nearly became decisive. Black’s pawns started to advance, and White, additionally troubled by the time pressure, had to sacrifice a piece for a couple of pawns. A favorable situation for the Russian, who should have continued the attack, however, Alexandra went for simplifications, allowing Stavroula to come back into the game. For 50 more moves Alexandra tried to utilize her advantage, but in vain, and the all-important game ended in a draw.

This draw allowed Nino Khomeriki, the highest rated player of the event, to join the leaders. Her play in Khanty-Mansiysk impresses with simplicity and efficiency. She needs no fireworks to outplay her opponents. Today, despite playing Black, Nino quickly gained an advantage against Josefine Heinemann, then exchanged the most active pieces of the German, put pressure on her weaknesses, and demonstrated powers of a passed pawn when it was necessary. A very clean victory! Khomeriki now returns to the first board to play Tsolakidou in the next round, and to face Obolentseva a little bit later. These games must determine the champion.

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Yao Lan (CHN)

The leaders of the Open 18 section played in a similarly uncompromising way. While the European Champion Manuel Petrosyan showed excellent technique against Zhanat Saiyn on the second board and won without any fireworks, the Russian Maksim Vavulin played a very risky game. The thing is, Valentin Dragnev from Austria, who commanded the White pieces, completely outplayed the favorite in the opening, leaving the Russian with bad pieces, numerous weaknesses and complete lack of counterplay. In addition, Vavulin experienced his usual time management problems. And suddenly… Quoting Mikhail Kobalia, Russian junior head coach, Vavulin is a slow starter, who comes into full strength only after three hours of play or so. Despite being in an objectively poor position, Maksim created wild complications, and his opponent finally lost a track. White still remained in control around the move 40, but after that started to slip, and fell apart in a few more moves. However, victories of the main contenders did very little for clarifying the tournament situation in this group.

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Gazik Viktor (SVK)

Both Under 16 tournaments continued in a usual fashion, with little excitement and no surprises. The leader of the Open 16 event, Amin Tabatabaei from Iran, started today with 1.a3 and had a totally won position by the move 20. Haik Martirosyan, Luca Moroni, and Olexandr Triapishko also did not experience any problems winning their games. Parham Maghsoodloo, the rating favorite of the tournament, won in less than two hours!

The results on top boards of the Girls 16 section directly correlated with the rating order. Among the winners are Anna-Maja Kazarian, Oliwia Kiolbasa, Amina Battsooj, and Aakanksha Hagawane. Polina Shuvalova finally ended her drought, moving on 3 out of 4. She will eventually have to test the leader in one of the next rounds.

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Maltsevskaya Aleksandra (RUS)

The Russians are in the lead in both Under 14 sections. However, while both boys, Andrey Esipenko and Semyon Lomasov, extended their winning streak, even if not in the most convincing way, the progress of the top girls, Elizaveta Solozhenkina and Aleksandra Maltsevskaya, was hindered. In both games the assessment was jumping up and down, but eventually froze at zero. Well, nobody can win forever!

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25 September 2016

Round 3: The Final Time Out

In large open tournaments with an uneven lineup, the third round is usually the last more or less easy day, when the favorites have the luxury of facing a noticeably weaker opposition. Starting with the round four, each game on top boards will become a clash of contenders and will be of critical importance in the fight for the title.

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The playing hall

The aforementioned principle was observed in almost all groups of the World Youth Championships, with one exception – the Open 18 category. The top games in this category were extremely tense already today, and the favorites often had no advantage over nominal underdogs. For example, Manuel Petrosyan (2nd ranked) found himself under heavy pressure against Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (12). The Norwegian played very subtly in the opening and forced the black king to desperately look for a safe harbor. It is quite possible that the play of Christiansen could be improved somewhere along the way, however the time pressure took its toll, and the game ended in a draw by perpetual.

Dmitrij Kollars (3), playing White against Seyed Khalil Mousavi (14), tried hard to break away from the group into a sole lead. However, when it started to look as if the German established a comfortable advantage, the Iranian executed series of accurate moves, which gave him a strong initiative. Kollars barely managed to survive in a complex ending. Another large scale fight occurred on the third board, where Zhanat Saiyn (15) held Aram Hakobyan (10) to a draw.

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Christiansen Johan-Sebastian (NOR)

The Russian Maksim Vavulin managed to use this situation to his advantage. It seems the rating favorite from Russia in not on top of his form. Yesterday he barely survived as Black. Today he got nothing out of the opening as White. Moreover, had Arystanbek Urazayev shown some precision, Vavulin could end up in a big trouble. However, the player from Kazakhstan transposed the game into a deadly drawn rook ending, which ended… in a victory for the Russian on the 113th move! Bravo!

In contrast to the strongest group, almost half of the top games in other groups were pretty much one-sided. The leaders of the Open 16 section Amin Tabatabaei (2) and Haik Martirosyan (3) both won confidently. The Russian Olexandr Triapishko was also close to a victory, but misplayed in the time trouble and gave up half a point. Coming into the fourth round, four players have the perfect score.

Curiously, the main favorite, Parham Maghsoodloo from Iran, got stuck on +1. Yesterday the main reason for his draw was the opponent, who played White and made his peaceful intentions clear. Today Parham can only blame himself. An unpretentious opening as White lead to an equal position, and a draw was agreed already on the move 23.
Nevertheless, there is little doubt that Maghsoodloo will take part in a fight for the gold in this category. The tournament is long, and one does not have to rush. Just make sure you don’t wait until it is too late…

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Kollars Dmitrij (GER)

The leaders of the Open 14 group – Andrey Esipenko (1) and Semyon Lomasov (5) from Russia showed clear superiority over their opponents. The character of those games was somewhat different: Lomasov took the bull by the horns immediately, relying on his deep home analysis (starting with the move 12, he played all the strongest moves suggested by the machine), while Esipenko made a subtle exchange sacrifice on the move 14, and decided the game with a direct attack. Kirill Shevchenko (3), who had a brilliant start, was unable to maintain the tempo – the Italian Matteo Pitzanti (25) proved a tough customer, and despite having a material advantage, the Ukrainian did not get more than a draw.

In the girls tournaments, the favorites swept through the opposition with the Olympiad-like 4-0 score. And they did not just win – they did not give their opponents a glimmer of hope!

Stavroula Tsolakidou (2), who had already won the Under 16 championship and decided to test the Under 18 this year, astonished with clarity of her play – every move of the Greek player was precise and deadly. Aleksandra Obolentseva (4) impressed with her bravery and truly surgical precision in executing her ideas. Josefine Heinemann (7) played with incredible calmness and composure. But the most impressive of all was Nino Khomeriki (1) – it seems she could have won such a fine game in a simul, or playing blindfolded…

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Heinemann Josefine (GER)

It is a pity that the 12-year-old Russian Bibisara Assaubayeva (5) was unable to make a step forward as well. This little girl possesses the spirit of a true champion. She managed to get a nearly winning position against Michal Lahav (24), but did not cope with complications in the time trouble and suffered her first defeat. Well, misfortunes make us stronger.

The favorite of the Under 16 tournament, Polina Shuvalova made a second misstep. Playing White against Nilufar Yakubbaeva (30), the Russian never had even a slightly better position. Polina seems to always be under time pressure and does not cope with nervousness well, while the ambitious rivals continue to extend the gap. After the first three rounds, three players have the perfect score – Yao Lan (6) from China, Anna-Maja Kazarian (7) from Netherlands, and Danitza Vasquez (14) from Puerto Rico. Yet, the tournament distance is long, and let us see for how long they will remain on top.

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Kochukova Anna (RUS) and Kazarian Anna-Maja (NED)

The Russian leaders of the Under 14 group fired another winning salute. Elizaveta Solozhenkina (1) from St. Petersburg, daughter of grandmaster Evgeny Solozhenkin, stormed her opponent off the board with a strong pawn attack. It could become a textbook game, if Elizaveta did not blunder on the move 29, which forced her to win the game for a second time. Aleksandra Maltsevskaya won a long siege, proving that two rooks are stronger than a queen.

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24 September 2016

Round Two: Rating Does Not Mean Anything

“Do not pay attention to ratings when talking about children”, a famous junior trainer told me. “It means nothing or almost nothing!” And indeed, many games played on a second day of the World Youth Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, including those on top boards, proved his point. There is no doubt that many more surprising results will keep arriving every single day.

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The playing hall

Do you want facts? Let’s go! Maksim Vavulin, the highest seed of the Open 18 category, lost his first half a point today. Or perhaps gained half a point? He looked sort of happy with the outcome after the game. His Black opening against the Croatian Jadranko Plenca was adventurous, to put it mildly, and in order to create counterplay Maksim sacrificed two pawns. Fortunately, his opponent did not find the best continuation in tactical complications, so the player from Moscow was able to transpose to a rook ending and draw the game by perpetual. Manuel Petrosyan immediately utilized this slip from his main rival, winning a seemingly effortless game. The international master from Yerevan is again prepared to deprive the Russian of the gold medal, just like he did recently at the European Championship. What will be Vavulin’s reply? He also needs to worry about Dmitrij Kollars from Germany, who showed a good technique today, beating a solid opponent from Austria.

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Petrosyan Manuel (ARM) and Erenberg Ariel (ISR)

The Iranian leaders of the Open 16 event also did not have an easy day, but the outcome of their games was different. Parham Maghsoodloo’s opponent was very persistent with his desire of making a draw, and the peaceful agreement was signed after about an hour of play. Unlike his teammate, Amin Tabatabaei was permitted to leave the tournament hall only after six tough hours that included many ups and downs. A blitzkrieg against Paulius Pultinevicius failed, and the players entered a complex endgame. For about twenty moves the evaluation was shaking like a boat  in a stormy sea. However, it was the Lithuanian who committed the final mistake of this game, playing under serious time pressure.

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Tabatabaei M.Amin (IRI)

Other favorites of the category did not miss this opportunity. There were very few draws on the top boards, and the perfect score after the first two rounds is shown by as many as 15 players! Among them are three Russians – Olexandr Triapishko, Sergei Lobanov, and Timur Fakhrutdinov. A real brawl is anticipated tomorrow…

The Open 14 event saw such brawl already in the second round! Two players from Moscow, Danila Pavlov and Andrey Esipenko, were paired on the first board. The latter was rated by 333 points higher, but had to spend a whole day and evening proving his superiority in an equal ending reached on the move 7. I suppose Andrey will not enjoy the post-game conversation with the Russian head coach, who was not impressed by his student’s opening choice! One should not slack, as the competitors are never asleep! The Ukrainian Kirill Shevchenko, for instance, won in great style today, sacrificing his queen and creating a spectacular mating net on the half-empty board.

Some upsets were observed in girls championships as well. The lead in the Under 18 group was seized by the Greek Stavroula Tsolakidou, who initially planned to take part in the Under 16 championship. Today she defeated the Russian Irina Drogovoz in a very ruthless manner. (The rating favorite of the group, Nino Khomeriki from Georgia, made a misstep yesterday, barely making a draw against a much lower rated opponent, and is now half a point behind the leaders.) Aleksandra Obolentseva defended the reputation of Russian chess on the second board and also moved to 2/2, while our 12-year-old star Bibisara Assaubayeva was unable to covert her advantage and settled with a draw on the board three.

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Tsolakidou Stavroula (GRE)

The top seed of the Under 16 championship, Polina Shuvalova also fell behind in the first round, barely escaping with a draw. Today she won quite easily against the player from Czech Republic, but as many as nine players won both starting games and are on top of the leaderboard. However, grandmaster Sergey Zagrebelny, trainer of Shuvalova, informed us that she really enjoys a challenge. The girl has character! Only in the youngest category both Russian favorites, Elizaveta Solozhenkina and Aleksandra Maltsevskaya, have a very smooth sailing. The opponents cannot cope with the mistake-free play of our girls, and their victories look very natural and logical. How long will it last?

* * *

Junior events are very exciting. The participants are no kids, but they are not completely developed chess players either. Almost each one of them needs care from family, relatives, or coaches. And watching this army of highly emotional, concerned and often extremely impatient supporters is really curious.

In the morning they all attend breakfast in one of the two restaurants of the Olimplijskaya Hotel,  the home of the participants. Most of the players never show up, preferring to sleep instead, but some of them come as well, half-asleep and looking for coffee, fruits or cornflakes. Then there is preparation for the next game, and after that, shortly before a dinner, the adults bring their wards out for a walk. A quick meal afterwards, and the crowd rushes to the buses that bring both players and their support to the Ugra Tennis Center, the venue of the Championships. A final guidance 10-15 minutes before the game follows by a touching separation. Then the boys and girls enter the playing area, while their parents and coaches start wandering around. Most of them finally settle on the stands next to the chess arena and inevitably begin to worry.

Following all games online has become a habit these days. In Khanty-Mansiysk, however, only 24 games in all six events are relayed live – four top boards in each section. If your player is there – well, lucky you. If not, you better be a psychic! In order to prevent external assistance, the first five rows of the stands are closed for spectators, and one cannot see the situation on the board without powerful optics.  Some coaches wisely brought the equipment, either an opera glass or a field glass. They can look at the players’ faces and exchange opinions, however, the positions are still impossible to grasp…

When the round is finally over, the happy winners and the sad losers load the buses and return to the Olympijskaya Hotel. Then follows a joint supper, a crowded and very loud meal that includes game analysis and other chess-related discussions. After that the players finally have some time to relax – until the pairings of the next round appear, forcing them to return to their rooms and start over the preparation cycle. The parents usually do not rush back, looking for ways to deal with their stress instead. There is another game tomorrow, and who knows which is harder – playing chess or supporting the players?

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23 September 2016

The first move is made at the World Youth Championships

The first round of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 in Khanty-Mansiysk is played today.

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The symbolic first move in the game between Maksim Vavulin of Russia and R Vaishali of India was made by the governor of Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous okrug – Ugra Natalia Komarova. 228 players in the open section of the tournament and 181 players in the girls section were having their first games in the world championships.

Upon the end of the first move ceremony the governor went to another end of the playing hall to watch the game of the youngest participant of the championships – 9-year-old Georgy Ryabov representing Khanty-Mansiysk. Besides, the head of the region has greeted the FIDE officials, the organizers of the tournaments and the team of arbiters, wishing all of them the successful and smooth world championships.

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The time control is 90 minutes for the first 40 moves plus 30 minutes till the end of the game with 30 second increment from move 1.

Live games of the tournament are available on the official page of the event.

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The capital of Ugra is a well-known chess venue. It hosted the World Cup several times, the 39th World Chess Olympiad, Candidates tournament, the final leg of the FIDE Grand-Prix series and many other major international chess events. In year 2016, which is officially announced to be the Year of Childhood in Ugra, Khanty-Mansiysk hosts the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016. The tournament will be held from September’21 until October’04.

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The officials and organizers of the tournament talked about getting ready for the event

Today, on September 22, the press-conference with the officials and organizers of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 was held in the media-center of the Ugra Tennis Center.

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The speakers of the press-conference were the chief executive officer of FIDE Geoffrey Borg, the director of Russian office of FIDE Berik Balgabaev, the director of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra Igor Gubkin and the executive director of the tournament Valery Radchenko.

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– Geoffrey, you’ve been to Khanty-Mansiysk so many times and, of course, you know all the nuances of hosting chess events. What can you say about this venue where the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 takes place?

– First of all, I would like to thank the governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova for supporting FIDE and chess events in the region. It is always a pleasure to be back in Khanty-Mansiysk again. Of course, this tournament presents its own challenges, because this is the first time Khanty-Mansiysk hosts the international youth tournament of this level. But we have an excellent team with “UgraMegaSport” and Ugra Chess Federation. They have lots of experience and it is very easy to organize chess events here. Whereas in normal times I spend most of the first days of the tournaments troubleshooting problems with the lights and the temperature in the playing hall, accommodation, etc., here we have most of this problems solved before the start of the tournament. It is much easier to organize here with all this experience. Today we’ve spent more time discussing the future tournaments which will come very soon – the Women Grand-Prix in November 2016 and Team Championships in May 2017.

– Do you think that some of the participants of these Championships will be able to compete in the Chess Olympiad 2020, which will also be held in Khanty-Mansiysk?

– We already have players here who have played in the Chess Olympiad in Baku last week. The average age of chess is coming down very quickly. Some very young players are already members of their national teams not the junior teams. So, I think in 2020 they will be candidates for the medals of the Olympiad. We had 4 8-year-old players in Baku. The perception of chess in general is that only old people are playing it. But this is not so. Chess is very demanding nowadays as there is a lot of energy lost during the games. It is a physical sport. We are walking a lot between our moves, we are not just sitting for 5 hours. The second thing is that it takes a lot of nerves. It is like you are having an exam every day. The stress is just crazy. Sometimes Magnus Carlsen looks like he is sleeping at the board. But Magnus is a very active athlete. He is doing tennis, football and basketball. This is just an image he wants to portray that he is lazy and tired. Sometimes it is only a psychological game.

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– Berik, during your visit you have inspected the venues of Khanty-Mansiysk that will be hosting the Chess Olympiad 2020 in four years. What is to be done by Ugra to get ready for the Olympiad?

– The Chess Olympiad 2010 in Khanty-Mansiysk was a great success. We feel very comfortable here. I am sure, the participants of the tournament will have the same feelings about this venue. I know almost all the infrastructure of Khanty-Mansiysk and this place fits very well for hosting chess events. Still the Olympiad 2020 will be different from the Olympiad 2010. First of all, the number of the participants will substantially increase. During this visit we managed to discuss the coming Olympiad and to inspect the possible venues where the games could be played.

– Igor, chess is one of the sports that gets the biggest support in Ugra. Is it possible to call Khanty-Mansiysk a chess capital of Russia?

– The development of chess in Ugra has a long and good history. In 2010 we have hosted the World Chess Olympiad and in 2020 we will do this once again. Khanty-Mansiysk is the fourth city in the world that will host the Chess Olympiad twice. Starting from this tournament every year Ugra will host major international chess events. We consider them to be a part of the preparation process for the main tournament – Chess Olympiad 2020.

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– Valery, please tell us how did you manage to organize a tournament with 412 participants. What problems did you face?

– A lot of work was done to get ready for the event, as we were also providing visa support for the players. We have been doing this for several months, of course, with the help of the department of physical culture and sports of Ugra and Igor Gubkin. The main difficulty concerned catering for the participants. We needed to keep in mind that we are dealing with people representing different countries, religions and cultures. Besides, time difference also mattered a lot. Some players are already awake at 5 in the morning so we had to organize their breakfast earlier than was planned before. Besides, we added more sweets, cereals and yogurts to their meals.


22 September 2016

The World Youth Championships is declared open

Official website http://wy2016.fide.com/

On September’21 the FIDE World Youth U14, U16 and U18 Championships 2016 have started. The official Opening Ceremony of the event was held in the concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”. The bright and spectacular show was seen by more than a thousand people. Among them 412 participants of the World Championships, who came to Ugra from 61 country of the world.

The ceremony started with the presentation of the participating countries. Upon its end the official part of the ceremony has begun. The governor of Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous Okrug Natalia Komarova and the chief executive officer of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) Geoffrey Borg – who were also among the audience – have addressed the participants of the tournament.

“Khanty-Mansiysk has been hosting many major chess events such as the Chess Olympiad, the World Cup and the Candidates Tournament. But this year which we have declared to be the year of Childhood in Ugra, we are very pleased to see the young chess players here in Khanty-Mansiysk, – said the head of the region. – We are hosting now the most talented young chess players of the world and our goal for the coming days is to show as much hospitality to them as possible. We are thankful to FIDE for giving us the honor to host this tournament. Several preceding championships were held in southern countries of the world. But we are sure that our hospitality will compensate the lower temperature. And I am sure that our hospitality will also motivate you to the victories you’re going to accomplish. By hosting these championships and several coming tournaments we are going to learn from the chess players how to calculate several moves ahead, as this is a great responsibility for us to host the forthcoming Chess Olympiad 2020. I wish all the participants success and all the guests to enjoy this chess festival!”

“I would like to thank the governor for the continuous support of FIDE and chess events in Khanty-Mansiysk, – took the floor Geoffrey Borg. – We feel very comfortable for organizing so many chess events in Khanty-Mansiysk, because they understand everything that goes on in our chess world. We have an experienced team of friends and people working in Khanty-Mansiysk, who know us very well now for over 15 years. Organizing chess events here in Khanty-Mansiysk is a pleasure not a duty. We have a calendar of events for the next 4 or 5 years, which is really busy. We start with the FIDE World Youth Championships today and in two-months time comes the final leg of Women’s Grand-Prix series. In 2017 we have the Men and Women World Team Chess Championships 2017. In 2018 comes Women World Championships Knock-out 64 players and in 2019 – World Cup for men. Finally – but, of cause, not literally finally as we will continue to have more events thanks to the generous support of Khanty-Mansiysk government – Chess Olympiad 2020. So I am sure we are all happy to show our appreciation for the governor and the support of Khanty-Mansiysk for all these chess events. I wish you all the best, do what you can to represent your country and to represent FIDE. Good luck to everybody!”

Before the start of the entertaining part of the ceremony, the drawing procedure was carried out. The governor of the region drew the black pawn for top players of the championships.

After the official part, the opening ceremony was followed by a concert performed by numbers of the best city artists. The event showed the synthesis of different genres of performing arts. The program included some rock music played by the band from Ugra on traditional Russian instruments. A mixture of electronic and rock music with folk tunes has greatly impressed the audience. The same mixture of styles and genres was seen in other song and dance performances.

To finish the ceremony on the high note the opera singers sang the final song on the show and the master of ceremonies has congratulated the participants and team members with the official opening of the World Youth Championships and wished them a successful tournament!

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21 September 2016

The biggest number of the participants of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships has arrived to the capital of Ugra. The players and their accompanying persons were greeted in the airport in a traditional Russian way – with songs, accordion playing and local Siberian treats – nuts and cranberries.

The opening ceremony of the Championships will take place today in the concert and theater center “Ugra-Classic”. And tomorrow the first round of the tournament will be played. 412 players from 62 countries have arrived to Khanty-Mansiysk to participate in the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships.

Follow the latest news from the Championship at the official website http://wy2016.fide.com/

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Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE

2016 September TNT has been rated by the CFC

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Please see the crosstable here.

Congratulations to the following who achieved new peak established ratings.

Marcos Valentino  2224
Harshani Konara 1871
Cory Letain 1740
Ken Marshall 1456

Source: Chess Manitoba

FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships – Round 6

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Six championships bring six different and thrilling plots. There are no primary and secondary events in Khanty-Mansiysk, however the most attention is naturally paid to the elder categories.

A match between the main favorites of the Open 18 championship was scheduled for today – the moment of truth, I would say. In the Girls 18 championship, three strongest players were running parallel courses… And the outcome? A standstill in both events!

Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

The fight between Maksim Vavulin and Manuel Petrosyan was highly anticipated. These two players are showing the most well-rounded and determined game, and they also have a lot of history with each other. By now all our readers are probably aware of Petrosyan’s victory at the European Championship, as well as of Vavulin’s urge to avenge that loss.

The Russian puts a great fight in Khanty-Mansiysk, plays uncompromising chess until the very last move, which sometimes brings him unexpected wins as a bonus. Petrosyan’s victories are less spectacular, but the outcome of his games is rarely in doubt. Interestingly, in today’s game it was Petrosyan who was desperate to win, as Vavulin’s tie-break is way better at the moment.

Manuel arrived wearing the warpaint – his left eye was heavily painted in iodine. Grandmaster Artashes Minanian, Armenian head coach, said the boy stumbled and fell. The injury did not reflect on Petrosyan’s fighting spirit. After the clocks were started, the Armenian closed his eyes, took his head in hands, and then confidently moved the queen’s pawn forward – 1.d4. Maksim responded with the Bogo-Indian Defense, and soon the players arrived at one of the critical positions of this subtle opening.

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Here Petrosyan took a lengthy pause and then made the natural, but rather committal 18.g4! White is completely mobilized on the kingside and must look for attacking options. The immediate bishops sacrifice yields nothing: 18.Bxh6 gxh6 19.Qxh6 Qd8 20.g4 Bxg4 21.Ng5 Bf5 22.e4 Bxg5!, and Black parries the attack.

18…Bxg4 19.Nh2 Bh5 20.Bxh6!? (after 20.Qg3 Kh8 21.Bf3 Bxf3 22.Nxf3 Rd8 23.Ne5! Rf8! White cannot hope for more than a draw) 20…Bxh4!? That’s the spirit! Vavulin is not satisfied with 20…gxh6 21.Qxh6 Bg6 – the opponent has too many pieces near the black king.

Vavulin Maksim (RUS) and Petrosyan Manuel (ARM)

21.Qh3 Qe7 22.Bf4 Qf6?! This escalates a crisis that completely cleans up the board. Black could opt for 22…e5 23.Bg3 Bxg3 24.fxg3 Qg5, and White has definite compensation for the sacrificed pawn, but both sides still have plenty of resources.
23.Bxd6 Rxb6 24.Rxb6 Bxe2 25.Nf3! (25.R1d2 Qxf2+ 26.Kh1 Bg5 and Be3) 25…Bxd1 26.Qxh4 (26.Rxd1 Bg5 27.Nxg5 Qxg5 28.Qg3 is just a transposition) 26…Qxh4 27.Nxh4 Bc2.

Vavulin ends up with an extra pawn, but his pieces are lacking coordination (the knight on b8 is particularly miserable), so the most likely outcome is a draw.

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28.Nf3 Rc8 29.Ne5! f6?! A blunder, after which Black cannot play for a win anymore. He had to settle the bishop first (29…Bf5!?), and only then pay attention to the white pieces. Petrosyan’s next move clarifies the situation.

30.Bh3! Kf8 31.Bxe6. Draw agreed. There players run out of ammunition after 31…Ke7 32.Rb6 Rd8 33.Ng4.

A decent grandmaster game, full of hidden pressure! Compare it with the game on the second table, with the evaluation jumping from “totally won” to “totally lost” a couple of times, and you will agree that there are only two suitable candidates for the gold in the Open 18 section. Vavulin or Petrosyan? Petrosyan or Vavulin? The Russian is slightly ahead, but there are still five games left to play, and the players are unlikely to win them all.

Tsolakidou Stavroula (GRE)

Tsolakidou Stavroula (GRE)

In the Girls 18 section, there were three main contenders – Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece, Nino Khomeriki from Georgia, and Alexandra Obolentseva from Russia. The chances of Tsolakidou seemed slightly inferior, as she hasn’t played with the rivals yet, while Khomeriki and Obolentseva already passed their individual duel (drawn). The Greek obviously realized that, and it looks like she simply burnt out…

In a technically winning endgame against Siranush Ghukasyan she kept deteriorating her position until it was no longer won, and then some. The shock was strong; before finally resigning the game, Tsolakidou played a dozen moves being down a rook…

Khomeriki Nino (GEO)

Khomeriki Nino (GEO)

On other boards, both Khomeriki and Obolentseva won their games effortlessly. One could learn from the Georgian how to materialize a moral advantage – the opponents simply fear Nino! Take a look:

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Surprisingly, the position is objectively equal because the black king is weak. After, for instance, 34.Rd1 Qg6 35.Rd7 Rad8 36.R1xd3! cxd3 the game ends in a draw: 37.Qb3+ Kh8 38.Qc3+, etc. The Chinese Hu Yu A wants more, so she plays34.Nh5?!
34…Re7 (covering the g7-square) 35.Rc1?? Why would you place the knight on h5 if you don’t use the Q+N battery? After 35.Rxd3! cxd3 36.Nf6+ Kf8 37.Nh5! Black is forced to repeat the moves: 37…Kg8 38.Nf6+, etc.

35…Rf8! (it turns out difficult for White to defend on f2, plus the knight went loose) 36.Ng3 Qf6 37.f3? Protecting the f2-square (perhaps 37.Nh1! is better?), but Black has other targets.

37…b4! Unexpected and elegant. White loses a rook, so she resigned.

Obolentseva played White against Mariola Wozniak, successfully combining attack with defense, even won an exchange, but pushed too hard in an attempt to trap a queen.

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Black attacks b2 and h3. The Russian can retain all advantages of her position by 32.Bf6! Bxf6 33.Qxf6 Qxg3 34.Rd8+ Rxd8 35.Qxd8+ Kg7 36.Re4!, etc. Instead she plays for a trap – 32.Rd2, luring the queen on h3 with a one way ticket. The opponent takes the bait.

32…Qxh3! 33.f3? Black looks helpless against Rh2, trapping the queen, but it is just an illusion: 33…h6!!, and only White can have problems here.

34.Be7 (34.Bf6? Bxf6 35.Qxf6 Qg3+) 34…Rc4! 35.Rh2 (the only move) 35…Rxf4 36.Rxh3 Rd4!, and Black, despite being an exchange down, has excellent counterplay against White’s numerous pawn weaknesses.

Alas, the player from Poland replied by 33…Bf8?, and stopped the clock after 34.Rh2 Bc5+ 35.Kh1.

So now four players are in the lead with 5 points out of 6: Khomeriki, Obolentseva, Ghukasyan, and Michal Lahav from Israel. Tomorrow the favorites will be testing the ambitious newcomers.

My congratulations to those who have read this far! We are not done yet. First of all, let us celebrate the success from Haik Martirosyan (Armenia) and Semyon Lomasov (Russia) – they are the only participants of this tournament who won all six games! Martirosyan, who leads the Open 16 section, defeated the Italian Luca Minori with the extravagant 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.e4 e5?!! Two moves with one pawn in the opening – what a challenging idea! White got a more pleasant endgame, but then played a bit too sharp, got a worse game and eventually lost a thread.

Martirosyan Haik M. (ARM)

Martirosyan Haik M. (ARM)

Lomasov, the leader of the Open 14, outplayed another Italian, Matteo Pitzanti, simply wearing him down in a lengthy struggle. Pitzanti defended accurately until the first control, but then started to make mistakes. Now Lomasov is a full point ahead of the nearest rival.

Shuvalova Polina (RUS)

Shuvalova Polina (RUS)

The favorites in the other two tournaments also continued their winning streak. Tomorrow the Russian Polina Shuvalova plays at “her own by right” first table of the Girls 16 section against the Indian Hagawane Aakanksha, who is currently half a point ahead. In the Girls 14 tournament, Aleksandra Maltsevskaya defeated her compatriot and main rival Elizaveta Solozhenkina, and tomorrow will challenge the lead of the Chinese Zhu Jiner, who is half a point ahead, too. The situation in these tournaments is still completely unclear.

Official website

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The 6th round started with the minute of silence to mourn the passing of Mark Dvoretsky. All chess players, arbiters, coaches, and parents honored memory of this brilliant teacher. What were they reflecting about? Some of them probably recalled their meetings and conversations with this ironic, sometimes prickly man, who possessed subtle understanding of not only chess, but also the bigger world around us. Others thought about his books and lectures, which became classical over the course of the years. And some of them probably never heard about Dvoretsky until now, but will undoubtedly come across his works on the way to chess perfection. Without this foundation, one simply cannot become a decent player, even in our era of computers.

A minute of silence in memory of Mark Dvoretsky

A minute of silence in memory of Mark Dvoretsky

The coaches from former USSR were totally stunned by his death. For them it was like losing a parent, someone who holds the door to eternity for us all. He surely was a godfather for some of them, an inspiration to become a coach. Mark Izrailevich was always very open for his colleagues, always ready to share his experience, give an advice. He could do so much more… What is 68 years for someone totally dedicated to his profession?

It seems reasonable to commemorate the great pedagogue who did so much for chess with founding a Mark Dvoretsky Award, either for the best juniors (Mark Izrailevich was amazing in turning promising juniors into World Champions) or, even better, for successful junior coaches…

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Chessdom

2017 Women’s World Championship Awarded To Iran; Other FIDE Decisions

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The 2017 Women’s World Championship will be held in Iran, and the 2020 Chess Olympiad will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk. So decided the FIDE General Assembly in Baku.
The FIDE Congress was held alongside the Olympiad in Baku, and, during…

Source: Chess.com – Play. Learn. Share.

Free day at FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The first five rounds of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 are now history, it means that there’s time to take a break and have some rest.

Whereas grown-up chess players prefer to stand in their hotel rooms and get ready for their future rounds, children are not easy to be hold still. So it was not a surprise that the proposal of the organizers to participate in the excursion around the city was taken with great enthusiasm by most of the players.

FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships - rest day

Five buses with English- and Russian-speaking guides talking about the history and modern life of Ugra capital have departed from “Olympiyskaya” hotel. Chess players and their accompanying persons were listening attentively, making photos and, of course, sharing their impressions about the city with the press-team of the tournament.

Stavroula Tsolakidou

Stavroula Tsolakidou

Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece says that although she’s already spent a week in Khanty-Mansiysk, she didn’t have enough time to see anything as all her time was dedicated to the games of the championships and their analysis. That is why she was really looking forward to this excursion. «I didn’t have time during the tournament, but today it was very nice to visit so many beautiful places. The city looks very spectacular. There are so many green and yellow trees growing everywhere. Usually we are so anxious about the games that sometimes it is good to have rest and let your brain be reloaded”.

Jerry Nash

Jerry Nash

On the other side the representative of the US team Jerry Nash confesses that he has plenty of walks around Khanty-Mansiysk these days. The chess education consultant had chances to see many places in Khanty-Mansiysk. “I have been walking in the city center, the memorial park, the children’s park, the chess academy and there’s a beautiful area. Today was the first time I went to the Archaeopark. This is my first time to Khanty-Mansiysk and my first time to Russia. I am very impressed with the city and especially with its parks and streets. I like Karl Marx street with the steps coming up, it’s very lovely. I’ve never been to Khanty-Mansiysk before and I didn’t do a lot of reading about Khanty-Mansiysk to know what was here. But I know that many Russian cities have lovely parks and I was hoping that there would be some very nice walks in Khanty-Mansiysk too. Every morning I walk about 2 hours”. A visitor from the USA also adds that even the low temperatures and windy weather are quite comfortable for him. “I love this weather as well. I came from Tennessee, now it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit there. My favorite time of the year is fall. I was hoping that the weather would be chilly like this. So I enjoy it very much”.

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Obviously, the Archaeopark with bronze sculptures of ancient animals was one of the most popular places in Khanty-Mansiysk among the players. Children were climbing the backs of horses and oxes, posing on the trunks of bronze mammoths and sitting near the figures of primitive people.

Dang Hong Phuc Nguyen

Dang Hong Phuc Nguyen

Dang Hong Phuc Nguyen from Vietnam has decided that although this is his first time in Khanty-Mansiysk he needs to come back to this place again one time. “This is my first time in Khanty-Mansiysk but I already want to come back here some day. The place that impressed me the most was Archaeopark with the sculptures of ancient animals. I have also seen the big church and found it very beautiful”.

These days Nataly Monroy from Bolivia and Lilia Fuentes from Mexico spend almost all their time together. Sometimes it seems that girls are separated only while playing the rounds of the tournament, so it was not a surprise that they were talking about their favorite place in Khanty-Mansiysk together as well. “This is our first visit to Russia and the first time in Khanty-Mansiysk. It is a very beautiful city. Khanty-Mansiysk is too cold for us, but it is a nice place. We are always together and, actually, everybody asks us: “Are you sisters?” We are not, but we are very good friends. We are both from Latin America so we have much in common with each other”.

Carlos Dias

Carlos Dias

The arbiters of the Championships could not afford to stand back from the excursion too. The chief arbiter of the tournament Carlos Dias from Portugal has confesses that his page on Facebook is now loaded with pictures of Khanty-Mansiysk. “It’s a lovely place. I am enjoying it very much. Of course, I was reading about Khanty-Mansiysk and its places of interest before coming here, but at a close look it is even more impressive. This morning we also went to the Ugra Chess Academy. Never saw anything like that. It’s wonderful. I made a lot of pictures there. Now they are all over Facebook already. My friends on Facebook are saying “Wow!” all the time. I am very impressed with Khanty-Mansiysk, with the organizing committee, everything is perfect till now”.

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Let us hope that a long-awaited day-off will allow the participants of the FIDE World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships 2016 to have some rest and to get ready for the coming rounds. Besides, they will go home with loads of impressions and good memories from Khanty-Mansiysk. Official website.

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