Monday, November 12

Halftime at World Youth

After five days of intense chess, the World Youth Chess Championship reached halftime.  Over the first six rounds (yes, the fifth day had two rounds), the competition metaphorically separated the men from boys and women from girls.  The contenders have moved to the head of the crowded field.  The Americans have fared well to date: 26 of 89 kids scored 4.5 (75%) or better, including 7 of 13 from Northern California.  Here we go Team U-S-A!

Despite this good news, nobody wearing the stars-and-stripes has a perfect 6-0 score, and most players already lost at least once.  It is a really tough event!  After half a dozen years of closely watching the results at World Youth, I have drawn a few conclusions.  The two toughest countries overall tend to be Russia (no surprise) and India (surprise).  Apparently some national coaches organize extensive training programs just to prepare for this one event.  However, skill and preparation alone are insufficient to reach the top of the world.  Those who bring home the medals invariably are physically and mentally tough enough to handle this high level of competition.  Rarely does someone manage to taste success the first time. 
Main Playing Hall (Older Sections)

The tournament takes a well-deserved rest day on Tuesday 11/13.  Many players, parents and coaches go on sightseeing tours near Maribor, both in Slovenia (or here) and across the nearby border to AustriaThe kids, of course, will continue to talk, eat and breathe chess.  After all, five more rounds remain to be played, from Wednesday through Sunday 11/18.  The American delegation will fly home just in time for Thanksgiving.

 Northern California Scores After 6 Rounds

  • U12 - SM Sam Sevian 5.5 (1st, shared with teammate FM Jeffery Xiong)
  • U12 - NM Cameron Wheeler 5.0 (5th, tied for 3rd)
  • U12 - Vignesh Panchanatham 4.0
  • U12 - Siddharth Banik 4.0
  • U12 - Kevin Moy 3.5 
  • G12 - Ashritha Eswaran 4.5 (13th)
  • U10 - Rayan Taghizadeh 4.5 (20th)
  • G10 - Joanna Liu 4.5 (8th)
  • U8 - Balaji Daggupati 4.5 (14th)
  • U8 - Ben Rood 4.5 (19th)
  • U8 - Milind Maiti 3.0
  • U8 - Kelvin Jiang 2.5
  • G8 - Zhiyi Wang 3.0
Secondary Playing Hall (Younger Sections)
The championship has actually been easy to follow online this year, even with an active Facebook page.  My favorite links on the official website include Live Games (starting at 6:00am PST) and two rotating Webcams, one in each playing hall.  The top 10 boards in all sections except U8, G8 and G10 are broadcast live!  Fans of Team USA should surf in on Wednesday morning to watch the two highest rated players in the world U12 square off (Sam Sevian vs Jeffery Xiong).  While munching on breakfast, you may also watch and cheer for Cameron, Ashritha, Joanna, Balaji and Ben.  Good luck to the California boys and girls!

Additional Links for World Youth 2012

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