Thursday, July 25

Halftime Report for Youth Olympiad

USA-2 on left versus Hungary. From front to back:
Chris, Arthur, Yian and Michael (not visible).

Teams from 26 countries arrived in Chongqing, China to compete in the World Youth Chess Olympiad.  Ten American juniors came to represent the nation on two separate teams.  The official team USA-2 scored 11 out of 12 points in the first three rounds, vanquishing opponents from Singapore and two Chinese schools. USA-2 split round 4 against #3 seed Hungary on the strength of a win by Chris Gu on board 4.

This result set up a showdown versus top rated Russia on Thursday morning. Although Arthur Shen won and Yian Liou drew, the Russians proved simply too strong with the White pieces on boards 1 and 3. After this setback, the team regrouped quickly to pull out an important match victory in the afternoon round against Indonesia.

Board 2 FM Yian Liou
Board 1 FM Michael Bodek
Heading into Friday's rest day, USA-2 stands in 7th place with 9 Match Points (2 per win) and 17 Game Points, only one MP out of 2nd. India defeated Russia in round 6 to take the lead at 11 MP. Four rounds remain, including another double round on Saturday. The tournament concludes on Monday (Sunday evening in California).

Team Standings (after Round 6)
  • 11 MP - India
  • 10 MP - Russia, China-2, Hungary and Iran
  • 9 MP - China-1, USA-2, Australia-1, Turkey and Kazakhstan

Unfortunately, the lower rated USA-1 team has fallen on tough times, losing first to #2 seed India and subsequently to two of the Chinese schools.  These scholastic programs represent the future of Chinese chess, which developed many talented young Grandmasters over the years--including 7 of the current Top 100 in the World, all under age 30!

Photos courtesy of Chiiwen Liou.

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