World Youth Chess Championship 2018

Round 6 + rest day

Everybody is now comfortable in our environment, almost as if we have been here a year rather than 5 days. Today we had a bit more of a serious football warm-up, primarily because the Dads got involved and moved to a proper football pitch rather than back garden football, which the boys had made ‘flavour of the month’ previously. It was a mild work-out and got the blood flowing for the boys prior to the serious competition later in the day.

The matches are always going to be competitive here but perhaps more so because many of the England players won their games in round 5.

Today Callum Brewer on 2/5 was playing black against a Greek opponent approaching 2300 Fide. This was always going to be a tough one. Callum ultimately transitioned into an end game in a worse position dropping a pawn. Resistance was ultimately futile from then on and Callum will be glad for the rest before a final push in the last 5 games

Gautam Jain on 1/5 faces a battle with the white pieces against a similarly rated opponent from Kyrgyzstan. Gautam drew today in a game that showed off all the things we love about chess. The game became messy and ultimately Gautam won his draw through a perpetual.

Koby Kalavannan, currently on 3/5 was black against an FM from Turkey. This proved to be a battle of attrition, and the players agreed to a draw relatively early on.

Leif Hafstad on 2/5 was also black facing a tough higher-rated Bulgarian opponent. What an interesting finish this was. A King pawn end game with equal material. You could tell this was the kind of thing that Neil and Glenn get up in the morning for. A position just out of reach of human calculation teasing you with its complexity. Only one drawing move – h4 and if you can’t find it, you’re history. Well maybe next time Leif will find it but inevitably the position will be subtly different. Leif continues like many of our England players with a lot to play for.

Max French on 2/5 was also black against a lower rated opponent. Max won his game and I would love to show you this but this one’s on the hush-hush. Superb preparation by Max and his coach Glenn Flear but also Max did well to take advantage of his opponent’s mistakes and get the win.

Ilya Misyura, currently on 3/5 was white against an FM – this was always going to be a tough encounter. These 2 players were equally matched and though Ilya’s opponents gained equality quite quickly, he never got much further than that.

(142) Misyura, Ilya (1967) – Gharibyan, Mamikon (2314) [E48]

Aditya Munshi, currently on a 50% score, had the black pieces in a winnable game against a lower-rated Latvian player. By his own admission Aditya was not feeling it for this one, and he knows full well he played too passively. I’m sure he’ll come out fresh after the rest day and kick off his tournament once again. So much of chess is about energy and psychology, like any sport.

Christopher Tombolis, currently on 1.5/5, had the black pieces against his lower-rated South African opponent. Both players were well prepared in this clash. Christopher maintained a small edge throughout as a result of a space advantage but then made a few inaccuracies under time pressure. In the end Christopher managed to induce a swap of rooks which led to a drawn pawn endgame. Once again Christopher will be keen to push on in the second half of the tournament

Nadia Jaufarally on 3/5 had white against a WFM from Romania. Nadia kept equality for most of the game but a couple of endgame mistakes ultimately cost her. Nadia will be looking forward to the second half of the tournament and a score greater than 50%

Anita Somton on a 50% score also had white against a lower rated opponent in round 5. Anita scored a solid draw leaving her well set for the remaining 5 games.

Nilomi Desai on 1/5 was playing black today against a lower-rated Latvian opponent. The Latvians are strong players so this one wasn’t going to be easy, but Nilomi didn’t disappoint. After the opening Nilomi managed to get both her rooks onto her opponents second rank. The resultant pressure and utilisation of her bishop pair allowed her to win a pawn. The game was very complicated but this time Nilomi was able to clear a path through the mist of confusion and execute the win. Nice game Nilomi! This should show you that complicated positions are nothing to be fearful for you.

(143) Kazermika, Anna – Desai, Nilomi [D02]
WYCC Greece 2018 (6), 24.10.2018

The Rest Day

A well-deserved rest followed round 6 for our chess players, with lots of relaxation, time spent with friends and sporting activities. For me it meant time free from spending my evening writing reports and allowed me to get to know some of the parents from the other delegations. The kids spent their time doing a range of activities such as playing football in the dark or playing Blitz.

The following day was a struggle to get up for most after a late night, but you had to get up if you didn’t want to miss breakfast. We had arranged a football match on the pitch across the road at 11.00am and 40 easily turned up on a pitch suitable for an 8 aside game so we split the group into 4 teams and had several 6-minute games. Let’s just say the Norwegians won but they had a particularly grumpy teenager who didn’t take kindly to having to come off occasionally so that other teams could play. Since the British parents were in charge of the logistics, fair-play was bound to be the order of the day.

I believe some of the girls, parents and coaches played tennis, and table tennis was also played by many. Some of the parents and players went to the village and whilst this report writer had a mid-afternoon siesta, the ten-pin bowling centre normally shut down at the end of the summer season was re-opened for our rest day and used by at least half of our delegation.

At 6.00pm we had a team meeting. This was notable because of the presence of Traci Whitfield, the former ECF Director of Junior Chess. She spoke in an eloquent and relaxed manner as always, and discussed the importance of the children’s long-term chess development. She spoke of the pressures that a chess player feels at both a conscious and unconscious level, whether it be from parents or others and encouraged the children to try and forget all that and simply to try and create a beautiful game every time they played.

I would whole-heartedly agree with all of this. If they can focus on trying to do that rather than the result their chess will inevitably improve, and good things will happen including increasing the likelihood of a positive end result. In terms of the thrill and enjoyment that I personally get from my son playing chess, it is from doing something that I could not possibly achieve and admiring the skill with which that is done. Most can win if an opponent blunders or is out-matched but if your child creates something beautiful on the chess board, where your opponent is highly skilled, that is truly something to be proud of.

Thank you, Traci, for your time, efforts and the things you achieved during your tenure in charge of junior chess, and good luck to the boys and girls in creating beautiful games in the rounds to come.

On to round seven where we hope to score eleven.

— Glafcos Tombolis

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