Evgeny Shtembuliak and Polina Shuvalova are World Junior Champions 2019
The World Junior Championships officially came to an end on 26th of October 2019 when players from over 50 countries proceeded back to their home. Two new World Champions were crowned - Evgeny Shtembuliak in the open section and Polina Shuvalova in the girls section. The silver and the bronze medal in the open section went to Armenians Shant Sargsyan and Aram Hakobyan respectively. In the girls' section it was Mobina Alinasab from Iran who won the silver and Elizaveta Solozhenkina who won the bronze. We bring you all the pictures from the closing ceremony as well as photos of the 17 norm makers. We also take you to the moments of the final rounds where the six medals were decided. A huge report from New Delhi by Sagar Shah, Amruta Mokal, Niklesh Jain and Angela Franco.
The final round of the World Junior Championships 2019 had a different feel to it. Instead of the usual time, the round began five hours in advance. Most of the players wouldn't even be waking up at 10 a.m. but that's how things are! You form a routine throughout the event to get to the board at 3 p.m. in the best possible shape and when the time comes for the most important game, where just about all your previous efforts are at stake, everything has completely changed! But Champions rise to the occasion and that's what happened at the World Junior Championships 2019.
A draw was enough for Evgeny Shtembuliak to become the World Junior Champion. If you look at it, becoming the World Junior Champion not only gives you 3000 euros as the winner, but it also opens up new avenues for you. For example, the winner qualifies for the next World Cup, he also gets invited to several prestigious events like Tata Steel B-group, Biel Masters, Sigeman & Co. and others. Overall, you become a recognized figure in the chess world. So, quite a lot was at stake here. But Shtembuliak had two contradicting thoughts in his mind while he was playing - a draw meant the title, but he would tie with someone (Shant Sargsyan later won his game), a win would mean he would be the sole champion. The latter was tempting, but it involved fighting his demons on the board. And that he did with great self confidence, picking a leaf out of the Fabiano Caruana's book. When Fabi was at the Candidates 2018, he only needed a draw in the last round against Grischuk to get his match against Carlsen. But once the American got a winning position, he did not back down. He decided to go full throttle and scored the win! The same happened with Shtembuliak as well. Once he won the pawn and realized that things were going his way, he played with confidence and brought home the full point. With 9.0/11, he deservedly became the sole World Junior Champion.
The fight for the silver medal in the open section was quite intense. Aram Hakobyan had the best tiebreak score, but he had the black pieces against Aravindh Chithambaram. This was not going to be an easy game for the Armenian. On the second board Shant Sargsyan faced Miguel Santos Ruiz with the black pieces. Fighting for a win in the final round with the black pieces is never easy, that too against a 2560 opponent. But Shant managed to create imbalances right out of the opening. Playing 5...Bd7, he took his opponent out of theory. And then came the blackout moment.
Miguel Santos vs Shant Sargsyan
With the win Shant Sargsyan moved to 8.5/11, just half a point behind the leader. Miguel Santos Ruiz on 7.5/11 had to settle for the fourth place.
For Iranian players who faced quite a tough event in Delhi with both Aryan Gholami and Amin Tabatabaei withdrawing, Mobina's silver medal was a silver lining! She gave the fans of her country something to cheer about.
Solozhenkina vs Dordzhieva
Although Solozhenkina won a pawn early on in the game with Bxb5! in the above position, she couldn't keep her advantage intact. Black got quite a bit of counterplay. However Dordzhieva could not manage to keep the accuracy level going and after a long struggle, it ended in Solozhenkina's favour.
Annotations by WIM Angela Franco:
WIM Angela Franco annotates two games from the girls section - both the players who won - Mariia Berdnyk and Aakanksha Hagawane ended on 8.0/11.
Final standings in the open section:
|4||10||GM||Santos Ruiz Miguel||ESP||2560||7,5||0,0||71,5||76,0|
|6||50||Wang Shixu B||CHN||2370||7,5||0,0||68,5||72,5|
|7||3||GM||Aravindh Chithambaram Vr.||IND||2609||7,5||0,0||66,0||71,5|
|11||46||IM||Mendonca Leon Luke||IND||2388||7,0||0,0||65,0||67,0|
|14||30||IM||Raghunandan Kaumandur Srihari||IND||2449||7,0||0,0||63,5||67,0|
Final Standings in the girls section:
|17||35||WIM||Cervantes Landeiro Thalia||USA||2176||7,0||0,0||60,5||65,0|
India and the All India Chess Federation can be proud of the fact that two of the most important events in the world of chess - World Youth Championships and the World Juniors were held back to back in the country and were successfully conducted. It just goes to show that India is trying to become a super power in chess not just in terms of players, but also in terms of organizing bigger events. These two tournaments coming to the country gave so many young talents of India a chance to cross their swords against the best in the world, something they wouldn't have been able to had the event been held somewhere else.
Ninth and eighth placed Bibisara Assaubayeva and Stavroula Tsolakidou could not attend the closing ceremony.
The Norm Makers:
The World Juniors proved to be an excellent event to score norms for the youngsters. As many as 17 norms were scored - 2 GM norms, 4 IM norms 1 WGM norm and 10 WIM norms!
Polina Shuvalova did score her WGM norm, but by the virtue of becoming the champion of the event, she won the WGM title directly.