Wednesday, October 22

World Youth 2008 from Vietnam!

Readers of my blog may already be aware that the World Youth Chess Festival began last weekend in Vung Tau, Vietnam. The American delegation flew between 20 and 30 hours and then endured a bumpy 2-3 hour bus trip. On one hand, the venue is a beach resort on the southern tip of the country, about 100km outside of Ho Chi Minh City. On the other hand, the weather reports give temperatures in the 90s with extreme humidity, worse than Florida in the summer!

A total of 885 participants from 73 countries arrived in Vietnam for this annual tournament. Among this crowd are 28 American youths plus parents and coaches. The players compete in 12 sections: U18, U16, U14, U12, U10 and U8 for both boys (open) and girls, with age determined as of January 1, 2008. The competition is brutal and even the strongest often finish far away from the podium. The top three in each section earn medals and other prizes, including IM norms or automatic FM titles (depending on which age).

Three Northern California residents have made the trip to Vung Tau. FM Danya Naroditsky (left photo) is a true veteran of these tournaments, winning the World U12 last year. He moved up to U14 in 2008. FM Sam Shankland (center photo) also participated last year and now competes in the strong U18 section with 3 GMs and 9 IMs. Alisha Chawla (standing next to GM Susan Polgar in right photo) is the newcomer, playing in the Girls U8 division at her first international event. I plan to follow all three players on this blog.

The schedule includes rounds on most days at 3:00pm local time, which translates to 1:00 in the morning in California. The first round was on Monday and the final round will be on October 30. Exceptions: Both rounds 3 and 4 are today while Saturday is a rest day.

Here are the results from the early rounds. All ratings are FIDE. Sam is rated 2436, Danya is 2382 while Alisha is unrated.

Round 1:
  • Sam beat 2142 from Vietnam
  • Danya drew 2017 from Vietnam
  • Alisha lost to UNR from Bulgaria
Round 2:
  • Sam beat 2255 from Austria
  • Danya drew 2046 from China
  • Alisha lost to UNR from Mongolia
Round 3:
  • Sam beat 2263 from Iran
  • Danya beat 2044 from Canada
  • Alisha lost to UNR from Vietnam
Round 4:
  • Sam drew GM Ngoc Truong Son Nguyen (2567) of Vietnam
  • Danya lost to 2093 from Switzerland :-(
  • Alisha beat UNR from Sri Lanka
Standings after round 4:
  • FM Sam Shankland has 3.5, tied for 1st, 2643 performance
  • FM Danya Naroditsky has 2.0
  • Alisha Chawla has 1.0
In contrast to some previous editions of the World Youth, this year's organizers have a strong web presence, albeit sadly without any live games broadcast. Chess Life Online reports daily with results from the American delegation, including photos and an exciting game annotated by FM Shankland. Web portal has posted colorful photos and some stories from the tournament. They also promise to upload more games on a java viewer (only round 1 so far).

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