World Youth Chess Championship 2018

Round 7

Chess quite rightly took a back seat on the rest day and time was taken to reset. There are now no illusions as to the challenges that we face in the rounds to come, and we also know what it takes to succeed.

Gautam Jain had another tough challenge on paper against his higher-rated Spanish opponent. The Spanish team are always well prepared. Gautam was unable to defend a powerful attack and the Spanish player’s push was ultimately decisive. Gautam – as I sit here writing this report I’m listening to John Williams’ ‘Star Wars’ theme being broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall on Classic FM – there is no advice I can give you better than your coach but if all else fails, it wouldn’t hurt to use the Force …

Callum Brewer was playing white today against his lower-rated opponent from Chile. The opening went well, a sideline of the Grandprix attack, and Callum took advantage of the weak dark squares of his opponent and was able to attack a backward pawn, bring his warhorse into the game, and eventually the pressure was insurmountable, and the Chilean blundered in a losing position.

There was a battle of the FM’s when Koby Kavalannan, who usually plays like some kind of superman with the white pieces, faced a Slovakian opponent who beat another Norwegian FM rated over 2400 in a previous round, so this was always going to be a dangerous match. In the end Koby was on the better side of a draw but his advantage was never enough to give him a full point. Still, Koby is in a strong position going into the final 4 rounds.

Max French faced a stern challenge in this round with the white pieces against a Hungarian IM who had so far under-performed in the tournament. This was always going to be a close encounter and Max held his own for some time in this match – and equality was retained for more or less 30 moves. Thereafter the IM showed the quality of his play and was able to grow his initially small advantage into a decisive one.

Leif Hafstad was playing white against a Kyrgyzstani opponent rated below him but who had beaten two opponents rated above him. This was never going to be easy against such an unpredictable player, and indeed Leif lost his game in round 7. Leif has been unlucky in the last couple of rounds and the subtle nuances of the game have conspired against him. Leif is due a change of luck or better still – Leif make your own with the best play you can – go for it! 4 more rounds to go, let’s get that winning feeling back.

Ilya Misyura had another tough one with the black pieces against a Russian FM who had under-performed. Ilya played a good game but as he ran low on time made a decisive mistake which allowed his opponent to take control, and it was curtains from there. It’s far from curtains though in this tournament for Ilya, and this very talented chess player has 4 more opportunities to show what he’s made of, so we should be in for a treat. It’s not time to phone home yet …

Aditya Munshi played a lower-rated Irish player with the white pieces. Aditya didn’t let us down and did what he was supposed to do. Well played Aditya. I didn’t watch the analysis, but you weren’t in there for too long, so I can only suppose your opponent’s defences had as many holes as a Jurassic Park theme park fence. Regardless of what actually happened it’s in black and white now, so it must be true – I wouldn’t deliver fake news!

Christopher Tombolis played white against a dangerous Welsh opponent. As it transpired, it was Christopher who was the dangerous one, and every move that went by signalled impending and inevitable doom for a player who needed a bigger boat at least in this game. Well done Christopher, this is your springboard!

(295) Christopher Tombolis (1882) – Ifan Rathbone-Jones (1673) [B01]

Aditya and Ilya are playing catch me if you can in the U14 Open section but Christopher is hot on their tails.

Nadia Jaufarally played black against her Uzbekistan challenger. This would be a tough challenge with her opponent having lost only one game in the tournament so far. Solid is probably the right description for Nadia’s opponent and so it proved. Nadia’s opponent posed problem after problem and the time trouble that resulted for Nadia led to a blunder that ended the game immediately. Nadia won’t need to use artificial intelligence to analyse this game.

Anita Somton played black against a Swiss challenger. The Swiss player was not to be taken lightly having beaten a WFM in a previous round. Anita was worse after the opening but took advantage of errors by her opponent to create play in the middle game. Anita went down the exchange though after getting her rook trapped and from there it was a matter of time before the game was won. Keep fighting Anita there is no time for negative reflection. This loss won’t be terminal. 4 more chances at the World Championships to do something amazing at the chess board. Just give me the slightest chance to report it and I’ll be ready!

Nilomi Desai, having just come off a confidence-boosting victory in round 6, faced a Latvian opponent as black. Nilomi had chances in this one but came unstuck in a complicated King Pawn endgame. Nilomi, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for better things in round 8.

To all our England players good luck in round 8 and may the force be with you. Sorry to all those expecting serious chess journalism. This has turned out to be a bit of a minority report…

I’ll buy an appropriate drink for the member of the delegation who comes back to me quickest with the correct number of references with a John Williams link.

On to round eight, and I know we’ll play great!

— Glafcos Tombolis

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