s Golden Youth Cup

Breaking records in chess is no easy feat nowadays, but the inaugural Golden Youth Cup in Ukraine did exactly that this week, 648 kids descending on the Vinnitsya International to chase titles and $20,000 in guaranteed prize money.

A converted ice-skating rink inside the MEGAMOLL shopping centre proved to be the perfect venue for the multi-category children’s tournaments. There was seating for 550 parents at a respectful distance and more than enough distractions for the grown-ups to leave the kids to play in peace, and vice versa when the games were done.

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The Ukrainian Book of Records were on hand to certify the recordbreaking attendance after financial contributions from both FIDE (thright the Planning and Development Commission) and the ECU, along with Chess Evolution’s primary sponsorship and local contributions, helped to make the 1st Vinnitsya International a huge success.

With a time-control of all moves in 90 minutes, and a 30 second increment from the start, the first in what tournament organiser Arkadij Naiditsch hopes will be many Golden Youth Cups proved to be an excellent international-standard event.

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The Azerbaijani super-GM has been stunned by the level of interest and play in his first outing as a tournament organiser, stating: “It’s incredible to see so many kids playing the game I love”. Naiditsch added: “I have to thank the families for choosing Vinnitsya in Ukraine as their summer chess destination, and the support of the sponsors has been invaluable in making this dream junior event come true”.

On to the chess itself, and there were u-6, u-8, u-10, u-12 and u- 14 category titles to be fought over, attracting young players from Scotland, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Israel, Estonia, Ecuador and Belarus – as well as a slew of youthful and hopeful local Ukrainian talent.

All the tournaments were hard-fought, and the blue and yellow striped flag of Ukraine flew atop the leaderboard in every section as the nine-round battles approached the finishing line.

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In the under 14 section it was Oleksandr Vakulenko who claimed the title, and the prizemoney and CE Premium clock that went with it. Draws with his closest rivals was enough to take the trophy on tiebreak after five players hit the 7/9 mark.

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Anastasiia Dubovyk’s fine finish on 6.5/9 meant she scooped the girl’s title.

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The under 12 competition saw a similar result, Mikhail Tobak securing first spot with a draw against top seed Vadim Petrovski.

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Anzhelika Lomakina lifted the girl’s title just half a point behind Mikhail Tobak.

At the under 10 level, Artem Dyachek was already assured of tournament victory after eight straight wins, before relaxing with a trophy-winning draw in the final round.

Anastasiia Hnatyshyn finished fourth overall to take down the girl’s title. In the under 8 section, Kyrylo Niezhentsev gave up an early draw but then stormed home with seven straight wins to bag victory, with Valeriia Zhubenko taking the top girl’s prize with an excellent 7/9.

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The youngest age category, the under 6, it was Mykhaylo Nezhyvenko who took top honours with 8/9, Alina Donets a close second overall and crowned girl’s champion.

Following the closing ceremony, Naiditsch expressed his hopes that ‘The Golden Youth Cup’ would become the premier children’s event on the chess calendar. “It was amazing to see so many children competing and we hope that next year we will break even more records as word of the Vinnitsya International spreads far and wide!”

He added: “With 648 participants, we have broken the record for holding the biggest-ever children’s chess event in Ukraine. We invited the book of records of Ukraine who fixed this record officially and awarded us a diploma. “This diploma we distributed to all the participants of the event so they could take home something special and memorable, and give them even bigger motivation to love the game of chess”.

Report by Andy Burnett.
Golden Youth Cup official website: http://goldenyouthcup.com

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Source: World Chess Federation – FIDE