Thursday, July 18

Team USA at World Youth Olympiad in China

Yangtze River gorge
Chongqing lies in south-central China.

Two teams will represent the USA next week at the World Youth Chess Olympiad (under 16) in Chongqing, China. The host city lies on the mighty Yangtze River, more than 900 miles distant from eastern metropolises Beijing and Shanghai.  The players will quickly become accustomed used to hot & humid weather (made worse by pollution) and traditional Szechuan cuisine (spicy).

For full results of each round, go to Chess-Results.

The stronger American squad (paradoxically called USA-2) comprises of four masters from the Northeast and one from the Bay Area.  All five players are rated above 2400 USCF and they have combined for eight IM norms.  Indeed, the three lower rated members each scored a norm at World Open earlier this month! 

USA-2 (Official Team)
  • FM Michael Bodek (2386 FIDE rating, age 15, state NY)
  • FM Yian Liou (2381, 16, CA-N)
  • SM Kevin Wang (2297, 15, MD)
  • FM Arthur Shen (2286, 16, NJ)
  • SM Chris Gu (2264, 14, RI)
  • Averages: 2323 FIDE, 2455 USCF, age 15

The other American team is mostly younger and dominated by players from the state of Texas. 

USA-1 (Extra Team)
  • FM Jeffery Xiong (2369, 12, TX)
  • NM Jarod Pamatmat (2172, 16, TX)
  • FM Tommy He (2128, 13, TX)
  • Joshua Sheng (1995, 12, CA-S)
  • Bovey Liu (2000, 11, TX)
  • Averages: 2133 FIDE, 2303 USCF, age 13

Just like the Chess Olympiad for Grandmasters, country teams consist of four boards plus an alternate.  All participants have birthdays in 1997 or later.  Some countries, including the USA, entered multiple teams.  There are 72 teams from 27 different countries have registered.  About 40 teams represent different schools or clubs from China.  Eight countries feature competitive master level lineups.

Top 10 Teams (by average rating of top 4 players)
  1. Russia (2480) - 3 IMs including Young Stars champ Vladislav Artemiev (2554)
  2. India (2426) - 3 IMs
  3. Hungary (2370) - 5 FMs
  4. China-1 (2345) - led by current youngest Grandmaster in World Wei Yi (2557)
  5. Australia (2340) - 2 IMs including Australian Open champ Bobby Cheng (2438)
  6. USA-2 (2338)
  7. Turkey (2305) - 2 IMs
  8. Iran (2271) - 3 FMs and a WIM
  9. USA-1 (2167)  
  10. China-2 (2133)

The Youth Olympiad commences on Monday, July 22, and continues through Monday, July 29.  The schedule shows 10 rounds over 7 days, with a free day planned on Friday the 26th.  Games will be played at 9:00am and 3:30pm China time, which translates to 6:00pm (on the previous day!) and 12:30am Pacific time.  That means round 2 on Tuesday morning is actually on Monday evening in California time zone.

Watch the official website for pairings, results and perhaps even live games.  I hope to provide daily updates on my chess blog and Twitter account.

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