Harika Dronavalli continues to lead the girls section
Information about the World Junior Chess Championship U20
August 2-16, Gaziantep, Turkey
Li Chao scored a crucial victory against David Howell to get back to the joint lead together with Arik Braun. The game was a very long fight which lasted for more than 6 hours and not only chess but the agility of the players were also at stake. White had the bishop against black’s knight with both sides having a queen and a rook which made the position an extremely complicated endgame. Black was the side close to the victory with the pawn sacrifice made by the Chinese grandmaster but the position was always very difficult with many long variations and myriad of threats in every position. Black then decided to transfer his king to queen’s side where he had the pawn majority and better chances to hide his king. Both sides played almost perfectly for a long time and despite the fact that black had two passed pawns which were way back at a7 and b6, white was able to advance his pawns more easily and was able to pose more threats against the opponent king. At the 108th move white finally succeeded in queening his g pawn and went on to win the excellent thriller.
Arik Braun and Eltaj Safarli drew their games at the 33rd move where the game was close to level until the end. The same story can be told for the game between Yifan Hou and Ngoc Nguyen where after peaceful exchange of the pieces neither side was able to gain a significant game so both sides agreed to a draw.
Maxim Rodshtein gained a swift victory against Ante Brkic in a violent Slav-Botvinnik variation in 26 moves. Brkic did not manage to reemphasize the validity of the old Nf6 variation in Botvinnik.
Tornike Sanikidze played a well-known exchange sacrifice against Wesley So in the Richter-Rauzer, where the long theoretical battle did not produce any winner. Neither side was also not able to produce a winning advantage in the game between Melkumyan and Kravtsiv.
Girls’ championship did not see any major changes in top spots where Harika Dronavalli won against Adriana Nikolova in a well-known branch of Najdorf Sicilian with black. Harika was able to squeeze a win in an endgame where she proved he superiority of the bishop pair and delivered a mate to her opponent’s king on a3.
On the second board, Muzychuk outplayed the home-side favorite Kübra Öztürk in a Scotch Game to the displeasure of the Turkish chess fans. She gained the upper hand after the opening and won rather comfortably. Nakhbayev also won without much difficulty since she emerged a pawn ahead right after the opening against Majdan.
Black decided f5 was necessary against white’s initiative, a conclusion which the silicon monster does not agree and the outcome of the game which ended as a victory for white in the game between Soumya and Abrahamyan. Mikadze was able belied the stereotype that opposite colored bishops generally end as a draw in an endgame with two pawns ahead.
Severiukinova won against Mamedyarova and won her second consecutive game after gaining an exchange. This meant the Russian players was not going to play on top boards.