World Youth Chess Championship 2018

Day 2 – Rounds 2 & 3

Day 2 is an important day for our chess players, primarily because there are 2 games. This tournament really is a marathon. I don’t think its enough to be supremely talented – you have to conserve your energy, eat well, sleep well and stay healthy. There are just too many variables to control, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. I’ve got my son on vitamin tablets, going to bed at a decent hour and using alcohol gel before and after games. It’s me who’s going to bed late and having 2 rounds in one day doesn’t help us report writers. How thoughtless of the organisers!

Round 2

The second round was at 10am. The pairings came out late last night- so a little time for prep but that had to be balanced with getting enough sleep. Coaching this morning was about 20 minutes per player starting at 8.00am. I’m afraid due to the fact that game 2 was running into and through the lunch hour, and because of the quick turnaround time, finding a moment for post-game analysis, never mind prep for the 3rd round starting at 5.00pm, was always going to be a challenge.

Still, our hard-working coaches, Neil McDonald, Peter Wells and Glenn Flear, who definitely deserve a mention, were up for the task and gave their respective players as much help as they needed. Internet access was atrocious as usual, because the service was inundated with everyone in the hotel doing their prep, so this morning was a challenge.

This morning, Aditya Munshi was playing a Georgian FM. Aditya truly believes now that he can win these games. His performance at the European Championships was staggering and he should certainly go into these games on an equal footing – and so it proved. Aditya had great chances in this game, and unfortunately missed mate in 4 under time pressure, but his ability to get into that position was perhaps not there a year or two ago. Another day another result. Unfortunately, this one didn’t go Aditya’s way.

Nilomi Desai lost to a Bulgarian WCM rated 2002. Her opening prep went well. In my view Nilomi is doing the right things. She is creating confusion on the chess board. Today she sacced a piece for 2 pawns and according to Glenn Flear this was objectively the right thing to do. Her opponent however was able to see her way through the confusion a little easier than Nilomi this time. This kind of game is invaluable to a chess players progression. Fortune favours the brave Nilomi. Continue and you will reap the rewards.

Leif Hafstad lost to a Polish FM rated over 2300. Leif has had a difficult draw so far playing two FM’s but actually having watched the analysis with Neil this morning, I think he is playing well, and I’m sure this will bear fruit in round 3.

After his solid draw in round 1 against a much higher rated opponent, Max French had another tough one against a Greek FM. Max was black this time and went down to his higher rated opponent. Max should have high hopes for round 3 and is playing well.

Following his amazing day yesterday it was always going to be tough for Gautam Jain. It’s difficult to measure up to those standards every day and today Gautam’s opponent proved a step to far. They did however have a game which lasted 5 hours so it must have been close. I saw Gautam coming out of the playing hall whilst I was waiting for my son. He was discussing the game with his opponent and he didn’t look phased or tired at all. A good sign for the tournament to come.

Nadia Jaufarally suffered defeat this morning following her convincing win yesterday. She was matched up with a Polish girl rated over 2000. Nadia’s in a strong position though, lets see what happens this afternoon. This girl’s got an iron will. It wouldn’t surprise me if she bounces back quickly. She was certainly in good spirits before the 3rd game.

Anita Somton, Ilya Misyura and Callum Brewer drew their games. I didn’t get a chance to speak to them as they were prepping for game 3 and I didn’t want to disturb them but no doubt they now have something to build on going into this afternoon’s game. I watched the analysis of Ilya’s game and it seems Ilya’s opponent was desperate for a draw sacking several pieces for a perpetual in a position that still had play for both sides.

Christopher Tombolis won his game against his much lower rated Greek opponent. Though there is no rest from these talented players and the home player made Christopher work hard for the win after a 5-hour epic battle. I fear for Christopher this afternoon if he has another tough one. Nevertheless, a good win and the first point on the board.

Koby Kalavannan beat his 2000 rated opponent as black today. Koby might have been worried about playing another underrated Greek player but it didn’t show as he summarily dispatched the player. Koby’s back on track which is what we like to see. Here is the game —

(9) Loukopoulos, Panagiotis-Athanasi (1988) – Kalavannan, Koby (2365) [B30]
WYCC Open U16 Halkidiki (2.34), 21.10.2018

A tricky morning for the England team with 6 losses, 3 draws and 2 wins- a similar result to round 1. I feel though that we have turned a corner and there will be better results to come in game 3.

Round 3

Round 3 started at 5.00pm. Following round 2 there were some tired players going in to the second game of the day. Amongst them Christopher Tombolis who did well to convert a long drawn out win, perhaps paid his debt this afternoon. Christopher unusually for him chose a fairly passive plan and perhaps this was influenced by his lack of energy. He lost to his higher rated Spanish opponent fairly quickly and emerged from his match a little deflated. Nothing a good night’s sleep wont sort out and ready for action tomorrow afternoon. 1/3 for Christopher …

Also, in the U14 Open section Ilya Misyura managed a draw as black against his opponent. 1/3 and ready for round 4 tomorrow. Go for it, Ilya- keep fighting hard – the rounds before the rest day will be important in determining the success of your tournament.

Adiya Munshi is currently on 2 out of 3 after an excellent win this afternoon. Aditya outplayed his slightly lower-rated Ukranian opponent, who showed no real ambition and chose a rather passive approach. In contrast Aditya played actively and there was altogether more energy in his play. Consequently, Aditya was rewarded with a positional advantage which eventually allowed him to make a breakthrough.

Callum Brewer drew both of his games today. This afternoon’s game was a highly entertaining one and is worthy of ‘game of the day’. In the end Callum took a draw by perpetual after achieving the time control but was left wondering if he could have done better? I believe Callum’s description was that, ‘The game got a bit hairy’ – told you I’d quote you Callum. You can feel Callum’s love for the game and his enthusiasm is infectious. A real leader and character in this England team.

Here is the game —

(1) Alexiadis, H – Brewer, C [A50]
WYCC (3), 09.06.2018

Gautam suffered another loss this afternoon as black against an FM but that is the nature of sport. One day they are showering you with plaudits, the next you are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Gautam has had 3 very tough and mentally gruelling games. In hindsight it was inevitable that he would suffer a bit of a come down after that great first day and you don’t need to come down very far, in order to suffer defeat, when you are consistently playing FMs and quality players of this sort, especially after being sapped by that long difficult game in the morning. He needs to hit the reset button and put the disappointment behind him. Again, a good night’s sleep and a lie-in will help with that.

It was the battle of the FM’s in Koby’s game. This was a quick draw after 21 moves. Pieces were swapped off and parity meant a draw was agreed. This was a day of consolidation after a difficult day 1. Koby is on 1.5 out of 3. You just get a feeling with Koby that the cream always rises to the top, and that he is bound to hit top form sooner rather than later. I’m sure when he relaxes into the tournament he will hit his stride. I spoke to him a couple of times on day 2 and he seems pretty relaxed to me.

Leif Hafstad got his first win this afternoon with the black pieces and he’ll feel a lot happier for it. The fact that his preparation bore fruit will build confidence, but not only that, he was able to build on his advantage, maintain a positional edge and create the weakness’ in his opponents’ structure that would allow him to win the game. Super play Leif. Now that you’ve done it once we are all pulling for you to do it again.

Max French drew his game this afternoon against a slightly lower rated Greek player. I just feel that Max is a win away from giving him the confidence that he needs to do very well in this tournament. When that happens, it is likely it will take him by surprise, but it will be no surprise to any of us because we can already see how strong a player he already is. A solid start for Max with 1/3 but he will feel the need to push on from here.

Nadia Jaufarally won her game today. Nadia faced the Yugoslav attack to her hyper-accelerated dragon. A race position ensued, and Nadia was the first to break through taking advantage of her opponent’s weak pawn structure. As is so often in these race positions the slightest weakness can be critical and Nadia took full advantage. Back to winning ways for Nadia and 2/3.

Nilomi Desai had what must have been a difficult loss this afternoon. Nilomi is capable of lighting up this tournament. She’s like Messi, having a quiet game for Barcelona – but before long it will be score after score after score. I look forward to reporting a win very soon for Nilomi and when it comes I reckon it’ll be a good one.

Anita Somton drew as black this afternoon. She must be known as the draw queen for now having drawn her 1st 3 games but its early days yet and there are so many points to fight for. Go for it, Anita let’s see some exciting winning chess in the rounds to come.

An encouraging result for England this afternoon with only 3 losses, 5 draws and 3 wins in round 3. Our best round of the tournament so far. Thank goodness the double round day is done. We all look forward a bit of Rand R before commencing battle once more for round four.

— Glafcos Tombolis

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