World Youth Chess Championship 2018

Round 4
[photography by Steph French]

Apart from the usual coaching sessions everybody spent the morning in their own way. I spent part of the morning trying to find a bicycle pump to blow up a football for some of the England team to play with some of the Norwegians. Do you think the Norwegians have some inside information from a world champion? Anyway, if it works for the England boys that played I’ll be recommending it for everyone in the team. Let’s hope nobody breaks a leg, although a little good luck never goes amiss.

This round is no different, with tough games for all our England players for lots of different reasons.

Our second highest rated player, Aditya Munshi was playing Bierre Jonas Buhl who is the highest rated play in the U14 section – an IM, no less. At lunch prior to the game I quipped with Aditya that his opponent had been feeling unwell and that he stood a good chance as a result. Aditya took me at my word initially and we then had a chuckle when he realised I was teasing him. We weren’t laughing 5 minutes later when we got a WhatsApp message from Christelle to avoid the skewered chicken since it was uncooked and noticed three skewers on Aditya’s empty plate. I’m sure he will be fine, but I wonder if their will be any skewers (literal or metaphorical) in Aditya’s game?

Aditya was playing a highly talented and powerful chess player today who has a great record with the White pieces. By his own admission Aditya was not at his best and was ultimately outplayed. He has faced two of the best players in the tournament so far and if he can string some wins together he will be back playing some more. Aditya will be pushing hard tomorrow to find his best chess.

Max French was playing black against his lower-rated Greek opponent. In a highly entertaining game that could have gone either way, a draw was agreed after a complex endgame full of tactical opportunities. Max was seemingly on top, but a slip allowed his opponent back into the game and the mess that ensued was entertaining for the cheering crowds but murder at the chess board for the respective players. The game ended with the point shared.

Ilya Misyura was playing white against his lower-rated opponent. He went up a pawn and managed to get his heavy pieces into better positions. Finally, his opponent resigned when losing more material became inevitable. Well done Ilya. I asked Ilya to describe the game. Ilya’s answer was succinct – ‘He lost’- thanks for the detailed analysis Ilya! Ilya is now on 2/4 and going strong

Nadia Jaufarally was white against a 2000 rated Spanish girl. Nadia made a mistake in the opening and a complex middle game continued. Nadia went on to lose her game, but has 7 more games to show her mettle.

Anita Somton was playing white against an American girl. The position was balanced for some time but ultimately a couple of inaccuracies meant that Anita had to do something proactive to gain counterplay. According to Peter Wells, her coach, it became increasingly risky to sit on the position and altering the structure became a critical requirement. Anita went onto lose the game and we cannot say that she is the draw queen any longer. There will be better days to come for this formidable chess player no doubt, and we look forward to seeing Anita’s best chess in the games to come.

Nilomi Desai was also white against Isabelle Wang from Canada. After misplaying the opening Nilomi played very well in a game full of tactics. Though she gained a slight edge the game fizzled to an opposite coloured bishop endgame that was drawn by any one’s objective assessment. A draw for Nilomi, a well-played game and now off the mark. Well done Nilomi.

Callum Brewer had no rest after his game of the day performance yesterday and played a Swedish FM as white. In the post-match analysis, he was critical of himself in that he got obsessed with the minutia of the position when perhaps there was a more straightforward path. In fact, as Glenn Flear pointed out, the position was incredibly complicated and required a great deal of analysis. In the end Callum was disappointed with his loss but will not allow himself to be down for too long. He will return with a vengeance in round 5.

Though Gautam Jain had a lower rating than his opponent, who was 2123, this was always going to be a tussle. In a complicated middle game, Gautam’s opponent managed to gain the advantage, but after a long struggle the game was lost. It’s so hard to wrestle control away from these higher-rated players. At one-point Gautam’s opponent was frustratingly close to having his Bishop trapped but it soon became clear that this was all part of the plan.

Our titled played Koby Kalavannan was playing black against a player that he should be able to deal with most days of the week – but there are no easy chess chumps to beat here at the World Championships, and this player managed to hold Koby to a draw.

Leif Hafstad was playing black against his Swiss opponent (2155). This was always going to be a test, but Leif managed to draw after a six-and-a-half-hour struggle. Great battling qualities Leif. Maybe the football helped?

Finally, another all England match between Christopher Tombolis, playing black, and Teddy Onslow, had been pulled out of the hat. It’s never nice to come all the way to Greece to play a compatriot who you play regularly at county, club and school level. Christopher went up two pawns in a rook endgame, but with an active rook Teddy was able to hold the draw.

Not a great day for our England team with 5 losses, 5 draws and 1 win. However, tomorrow’s game five keeps us alive and there will be more fine chess to look forward too.

— Glafcos Tombolis

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