Friday, October 23

World Youth Begins in Halkidiki, Greece

The annual World Youth Chess Championships kick off this weekend in Porto Karras, a coastal resort in the Halkidiki region of northern Greece.  Most Americans flew on Thursday, arriving on Friday in Thessaloniki via a stopover in western Europe.  Team USA consists of a record 129 participants, supported by a dedicated army of parents and coaches.  Overall, approximately 1600 players from more than 90 countries have registered, considerably more than South Africa in September 2014 and a modest increase over the same venue in October 2010, but less than United Arab Emirates in December 2013.

Girls and boys compete separately in six age divisions.  The largest sections are in the U10, U12 and U14 age groups, each numbering over 180 boys or 110 girls.  In a change from past years, there will be no double round.  Thus, the schedule calls for 11 rounds over 12 days, including a rest day.  Rounds begin at 3pm Greek time, 6am Pacific daylight time (5am after November 1).  Traditionally, the boards in each section will be broadcast live.

Cameron, Sam and Kayden were all smiles in 2012.
Despite stiff competition from Russia and India, the American delegation has achieved modest success in recent years.  For five straight years, Team USA has earned a gold medal!  The best team result of 4 medals came in 2012, when future GMs Troff and Sevian captured gold in U14 and U12, respectively.  In each of the past two years, the squad won a pair of medals, including one gold.

Best USA Results
  • Jennifer Yu, GOLD for Girls U12 in 2014
  • Awonder Liang, GOLD for U10 in 2013
  • Kayden Troff, GOLD for U14 in 2012
  • Sam Sevian, GOLD for U12 in 2012
  • Cameron Wheeler, Silver for U12 in 2012 (tied for first)
  • Awonder Liang, GOLD for U8 in 2011
  • Steven Zierk, GOLD for U18 in 2010
  • Sam Shankland, Bronze for U18 in 2008 (tied for first)
  • Daniel Naroditsky, GOLD for U12 in 2007

Steven celebrated his 2010 gold
medal on the beach in Halkidiki.
How will Team USA fare in Halkidiki?  Players must recognize that the tournament is like a marathon, and one bad game does not mean disaster.  Indeed, 8.5 may be sufficient to win a medal!  Check out the following list of the top rated Americans in each section.  N.B.: Ratings mean little for the youngest divisions; indeed many participants do not even have an international rating yet.

Whom to Watch on Team USA
  • #42 FM Chris Wu in U18
  • #28 FM Cameron Wheeler in U16
  • #2 FM Nicolas Checa and #25 FM Rayan Taghizadeh in U14
  • #2 FM Awonder Liang, #8 David Peng and #17 Andrew Hong in U12
  • #7 Arthur Guo, #9 Justin Wang and #10 Jason Wang in U10
  • No rating favorites in U8 (too many FIDE unrateds)
  • #32 Apurva Virkud in Girls U18
  • #7 WIM Ashritha Eswaran and #17 WIM Agata Bykovtsev in Girls U16
  • #11WIM Annie Wang in Girls U14
  • #3 Carissa Yip in Girls U12
  • No rating favorites in Girls U10 (too many FIDE unrateds)
  • No rating favorites in Girls U8 (too many FIDE unrateds)

For the latest news, check out the official Twitter feed @fidewycc2015.  Dozens of photos daily at Chessdom Photo Gallery


Anonymous said...

with the fide k factor changes fide ratings are really poor predictors for this event. s. for example in u 10 nico chasin a 1500 fide plays guo a 2100 fide, but chasin is 2038 and guo is 2147. a much closer match, further jason wang in U10 is 2040 fide but 1970 USCF. hard to really put him as one to watch in U10 when by USCF rating he's only the 12th highest rated player on the US team in this section, even though he's #9 overall in this tournament by FIDE rating.

Michael Aigner said...

The intended purpose for the K = 40 calculations (for juniors under 2300) was to help players like Nico Chasin quickly bring their rating up to where it belongs. Nico's first published FIDE rating was 1293 and he brought that up to 1513 in 13 rated games. Why did he start out so low? He got his first published rating at World Youth 2014 (Under 8), where he scored 1.5 versus 7 rated players, all rated under 1800 FIDE, including a couple of 1300s and 1400s.

Compare that to Jason Wang, who started with a published FIDE rating of 2008. Since then, he gained 41 points in one tournament and lost 9 in the next. How did he get such a high starting rating? He played three US events earlier this year, including one where he beat a 2300 and 2200 FIDE. Most significantly, he did not play at World Youth or Pan Am.

Nico got a low FIDE rating because he played at World Youth, in the youngest section where only a few players even have any rating. Since then, he has taken advantage of the high K factor, just as intended. On the other hand, Jason played stateside, including one adult event where he performed very well. His relatively high FIDE rating is an indication of his strength at adult tournaments.

You have pointed out a flaw in the FIDE rating system pertaining to provisional rating calculations. Your criticism of the K = 40 may be accurate, but these two examples do not support that conclusion.

Michael Aigner

Michael Aigner said...

I should also emphasize the following two sentences from my blog post:
Ratings mean little for the youngest divisions; indeed many participants do not even have an international rating yet.