At the European Capital of Culture (2)

In the second part of this article we continue the presentation of the new champions:
Without a clear rating favorite of the group (about whom you will read below), the girls under 14 championship was won by M. Mahalakshmi from India. She showed some very solid chess and shared the first place with N. Khomeriki from Georgia. The tiebreaks were favourable for Mahalakshmi though.
The Boys championship of the same age saw another American triumph. Chess.com's Kayden Troff recovered from his third round loss and with a breathtaking finish (3/3) snatched the gold in the last minute. His final game against the runner-up Ch. Aravindh was the most important one as the Indian player was a whole point ahead of the field and needed a draw to take gold. Alas, he could not stand the pressure in this game.
It is worth mentioning that both of the American gold medalists (Troff and Sevian) are part of Kasparov’s program for talented kids in USA. It must be most delightful to receive your medal by the former world champion who was also supporting you beforehand!
The under 16 group was Russian territory.
The ladies event was conquered by Anna Styazhkina who did not lose a single game and ended up with 9 points. The same number was achieved by another Russian player - Polina Rodionova.
Urii Eliseev took the gold in the open section. He was the rating favourite and allowed no surprises on the road for first place, edging out the competition by a half point.
The more mature age groups had fewer surprises. One could easily guess that the top seeds would dominate the event. The main reason for that is that they make less mistakes and their play is more stable.
The sensation of the girls’ eldest group became the triumph of Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia. She holds a respectable rating of 2378 and in the starting list was seeded second. So, where is the surprise then?
The thing is that Aleksandra was born on 1998 and still owns the right to play in the under 14 section. Instead, she decided to test her strength against the oldest girls and won the event more than convincingly, a clear point ahead of the pursuers. Thus, she added the World cup to her victories after also winning the European Girls U18 Championship.
In this tournament Lisa Schut of Netherlands almost lost her silver medal on the final day of the event when her taxi did not show up on time. Luckily, she made it just a few minutes before her allowed thirty minutes of tardiness were over.
This is a good moment to praise the organizers for their decision not to apply FIDE's Zero Tolerance rule (where players are forfeited even if they are just seconds late to the round). There were too many participants and many of them lived far away from the venue. It would be indeed unfair for these players to lose games just because of bad coincidences.
Last but not least, we have the under 18 boys ‘section. Poland had a real superstar in GM Dariusz Swiercz. The only surprise that he allowed was in round one when he drew. He then caught up to the leading group and managed to edge out the closest player, H. Gabuzian of Armenia, by a half point.
The most successful countries of the event were Russia and India. USA took third place.
It is obvious though that the chess map is widening and players from other countries have their chances for top prizes too. Especially in the younger age groups where the raw talent is most valuable.
The next WYCC will take place in Dubai, UAE. It promises superb conditions. The organizers have already launched their website and promise free accommodations to all the players and trainers at the event!
You can find nice pictures of the closing ceremony at the official site and here are selected fragments from the champions'games:
Chekmareva,Liya - Mahalakshmi,M
Maribor World U/14 Girls (5), 12.11.2012

25...Rxh3! 26.gxh3 [26.Qxb7 Qh2+ 27.Kf2 Rxc3–+; 26.Rxb7 Qh2+ 27.Kf2 Rg3 28.Rg1 Rxf3+ 29.Kxf3 Rf8+ 30.Ke2 Qxg1–+]

26...Qg3+ 27.Kh1 Qxh3+ 28.Kg1 Qg3+ 29.Kh1 Bxf3+ 30.Rxf3 Qxf3+ 31.Kg1 Qe3+ 32.Kf1 Rf8+ 33.Kg2 Qf2+


Goryachkina,Aleksandra - Baraeva,Irina (2173)
Maribor World U/18 Girls (3), 10.11.2012
How can White convert her indisputable advantage? Which maneuver does she need to perform?

40.Kd3! d4 41.Kxd4 Bd5 42.Ke5! Ra8 43.Kf6! Kh8 44.Rg6 Kh7 45.Rg7+ Kh8 46.Bg6


Styazhkina,Anna (2113) - Xiao,Yiyi (2136)
Maribor World U/16 Girls (10.1), 17.11.2012

Styazhkina starts a complex combination which leads to a favourable endgame:

24.Rxd5! Rxd5 [24...exd5 25.Nxc5]

25.Nf6+ gxf6 [25...Qxf6 26.Bxd5 exd5 27.Qe8+ Kh7 28.Qxc8+–]

26.Bxd5 Qd6! 27.Rd1! exd5 [27...Qxh2+ 28.Kf1 exd5 29.Qe8+ Kg7 30.Qxc8+–]

28.Qe8+ Qf8 29.Qxf8+ Kxf8 30.Rxd5±

White wins a second pawn and the rook and the pawns are better than the bishops in this particular situation.

30...Ke7 [30...Bb6 31.Rd6 Ba5 32.Rc6! Be6 33.Rxc5±]

31.Rxc5 Kd6 32.Rh5 h3 33.g3 Bg4 34.Rh4 Bd7 35.f3 Bb6+ 36.Kf1 Bf5 37.a3 Ke5 38.Ke2 Bg1 39.b4 Be6 40.c4 Bd4 41.Re4+



Some days ago while checking the exercises for my students I stumbled upon one that I saw in a practical game. The player with the White pieces, Julien Saada was my teammate of that time in my French team and the game that he played was decisive for the outcome of the match. If he had a chance to make a draw we would have won the match and qualify for Top 16 (the highest division of that time). Unfortunately, in the time trouble he could not find the correct solution.
Will you?
Saada,J - Alanic,J
National 1 Lilles, 07.05.2005

1.Nxg4! Rxg4 2.Bf3 Rag6

3.Rxg4! Rxg4 4.Kf6 h3 5.Kf5 h2 6.Bxg4+ Kh4 7.Bf3=

The general rule in endgames like that is to try and get rid of the opponent's pawns. They are the potential queens, thus the light pieces are not that valuable any more with less number of pawns on the board.
Fortresses like a light piece versus a rook (no pawns left!) should be searched for.
If Julien had remembered that the draw would be achievable.