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World Juniors Rd.09: Can anyone stop Shtembuliak and Shuvalova?

by Sagar Shah - 24/10/2019

He read the Zurich Interzonal 1953 book written by Bronstein and Gelfand's positional decision making to improve his positional understanding. He goes to the gym and swimming everyday to keep himself physically fit. He is the sole leader in the open section with a score of 7.5/9 and has a performance rating of 2783! He is Evgeny Shtembuliak. She won the under-18 world championship 2019, she played her 20th consecutive game. She ensures that she goes to the gym every day morning, and she enjoys each and every moment she spends on the chess board. She has an Elo performance of 2585 and is leading the girls section at the World Juniors with 8.0/9. That's Polina Shuvalova for you! These two youngsters are unstoppable at the World Juniors 2019.

Fitness is the key

Both the open section and the girls section have sole leaders. Evgeny Shtembuliak leads with 7.5/9 and Polina Shuvalova with 8.0/9. While both have quite contrasting styles of play, Shtembuliak is positional, while Shuvalova is aggressive, one common thing that has helped both of them is indulging in physical fitness each day. In their post-game interviews with ChessBase India, both players revealed that they spent time in the gym before the game in the morning and that has helped them to maintain their stamina and momentum. Shtembuliak even goes to the swimming pool along with the gym. For Shuvalova, this result is even more commendable because she played 11 rounds of intense chess in Mumbai at the World youth Championships 2019. She won the gold in under-18 girls section. Change in weather, food, time zone, opposition, nothing has come in between Shuvalova and her constant striving to play good games of chess.

Improving your positional understanding with Shtembuliak

Evgeny Shtembuliak won his game against Mihnea Costachi with some excellent opening preparation followed by powerful middlegame play | Photo: Niklesh Jain
Final moments of Shtembuliak's win against Costachi with training questions
Shtembuliak explains his win over Costachi with detailed analysis. He also speaks about the books that have helped him to become a strong positional player.

Shuvalova's masterful endgame play

Beating a strong player like Stavroula with the black pieces is truly a great achievement by Shuvalova | Photo: Niklesh Jain
The entire endgame of Shuvalova captured in video

Mobina Alinasab keeps her pursuit alive after she beat Antova Gabriela in round 9 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Annotations by WIM Angela Franco:

Mariia Berdnyk played a topsy turvy game against Divya Deshmukh. She was worse out of the opening, but fought hard and towards the end managed to trick her young opponent | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Annotations by WIM Angela Franco:

It speaks volumes of this young girl's character that she has not given up in spite of a bad performance. Zhu Jiner, the top seed, is probably having one of the worst tournaments of her chess career, but she has kept herself going and won the ninth round. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Annotations by WIM Angela Franco:


Aravindh had a tough opponent in the form of fourth seeded Dmitrij Kollars, but he managed to outplay the German GM | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Annotations by WIM Angela Franco:

Wang Shixu has performed admirably at this event. He started as the 50th seed and has managed to not only score his IM norm, but will be playing on the top board in round 10! He doesn't really speak English, but we got him in the studio, to have a look at his game and some of the variations!
I will call him the find of the tournament! Everyone knew IM Volodar Murzin, who is just 13 years old, is talented. However, in this event he has shown some phenomenal understanding of the last phase of the game. Check out his win against Viktor Gazik, in which the youngster gives up two pawns for activity and wins the game!

Tactics time!

Many of us practice the regular solving of tactics at home. But what we are unable to do is recreate a game like scenario during our practice session. Well, with this video we have tried to change that. We have captured the real time game between Leon Mendonca and P. Iniyan. However, there were several tactics that were missed by both the players. WIM elect Amruta Mokal tries to explain these tactics in the video and also tells you the amount of time both players had on their clocks when they reached this position.


Leon Mendonca vs P. Iniyan

White to play and win

Black to play and win

Analysis by Amruta Mokal:

The norm makers:

After nine rounds, we had as many as twelve norms that were scored at the tournament. Five IM norms, Six WIM norms and one WGM norm. It is quite possible that we will see more norms as there are two rounds still left to be played. 

IM Norms:

1. Aronyak Ghosh,

2. Wang Shixu,

3. Audi Ameya,

4. Garidmagnai Byambasuren

5. Aaryan Varshney


WGM norms:

1. Shuvalova Polina


WIM norms:

1. Antova Gabriela

2. Altantuya Boldbaatar 

3. Avetisyan Mariam

4. Pandey Srishti

5. Toshali V

6. Potluri Supreetha

The players can choose the cookies they want to eat during the round | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Unlimited tea, coffee and green tea for the players | Photo: Niklesh Jain

For all those who are not into tea and coffee, they also have fruit juices and water! Excellent arrangements made by the organizers. | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Results of round 9 open

Bo.No. NameBdldFEDRtgPts. ResultPts. NameBdldFEDRtg No.
GMShtembuliak Evgeny UKR2577 1 - 06 IMCostachi Mihnea ROU2463
GMKarthikeyan Murali IND26176 ½ - ½ GMSantos Ruiz Miguel ESP2560
IMBronstein Or ISR24136 ½ - ½6 GMHakobyan Aram ARM2561
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr. IND2609 1 - 0 GMKollars Dmitrij GER2587
IMDrygalov Sergey RUS2470 0 - 1 GMSargsyan Shant ARM2580
IMNigmatov Ortik UZB24945 0 - 1 Wang Shixu B CHN2370
GMPraggnanandhaa R IND25675 ½ - ½5 IMArjun Kalyan IND2483
IMMurzin Volodar RUS24335 1 - 05 IMGazik Viktor SVK2546
IMRaghunandan Kaumandur Srihari IND24495 1 - 05 GMVisakh N R IND2529
IMMendonca Leon Luke IND23885 ½ - ½5 GMIniyan P IND2509

Standings after round 9 in the open

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgBdldPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
GMShtembuliak EvgenyUKR25777,50,047,551,0
GMSantos Ruiz MiguelESP25607,00,045,548,5
GMKarthikeyan MuraliIND26176,50,046,550,5
GMHakobyan AramARM25616,50,046,550,0
GMSargsyan ShantARM25806,50,043,547,5
Wang Shixu BCHN23706,50,043,045,5
GMAravindh Chithambaram Vr.IND26096,50,041,545,5
IMBronstein OrISR24136,50,039,042,5
IMCostachi MihneaROU24636,00,044,048,0
IMMurzin VolodarRUS24336,00,042,045,5
IMRaghunandan Kaumandur SrihariIND24496,00,039,543,0
GMKuybokarov TemurAUS25016,00,037,040,0
IMJanik IgorPOL24676,00,037,040,0
GMPraggnanandhaa RIND25675,50,046,551,5
IMMendonca Leon LukeIND23885,50,044,546,0
IMHaria RaviENG24635,50,044,046,5
IMDrygalov SergeyRUS24705,50,043,046,0
GMKollars DmitrijGER25875,50,041,045,0
GMHarsha BharathakotiIND25305,50,040,043,5
GMIniyan PIND25095,50,038,541,5

Results of round 9 girls 

Bo.No. NameFEDRtgPts. ResultPts. NameFEDRtg No.
IMTsolakidou Stavroula GRE24316 0 - 17 WIMShuvalova Polina RUS2412
WIMAlinasab Mobina IRI2239 1 - 06 FMAntova Gabriela BUL2318
Berdnyk Mariia UKR23496 1 - 06 WIMDivya Deshmukh IND2358
WGMAssaubayeva Bibisara KAZ2381 ½ - ½ WIMPriyanka Nutakki IND2248
WFMProtopopova Anastasiya RUS2263 0 - 1 WIMDordzhieva Dinara RUS2335
WFMPandey Srishti IND1963 0 - 1 WIMMunkhzul Turmunkh MGL2332
WIMAakanksha Hagawane IND2181 ½ - ½ WFMLi Yunshan CHN2289
WIMSong Yuxin CHN22925 1 - 0 WFMAltantuya Boldbaatar MGL2277
WIMSolozhenkina Elizaveta RUS22835 1 - 05 WFMLakshmi C IND1859
Yakubbaeva Nilufar UZB22815 0 - 15 WIMChitlange Sakshi IND2175

Standings after round 9 in the girls

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3 
WIMShuvalova PolinaRUS24128,00,046,550,0
WIMAlinasab MobinaIRI22397,50,049,554,0
Berdnyk MariiaUKR23497,00,041,545,0
WIMDordzhieva DinaraRUS23356,50,042,045,5
WIMMunkhzul TurmunkhMGL23326,50,037,541,0
IMTsolakidou StavroulaGRE24316,00,047,551,0
WGMAssaubayeva BibisaraKAZ23816,00,046,551,0
WIMPriyanka NutakkiIND22486,00,045,548,5
WIMDivya DeshmukhIND23586,00,044,548,5
FMAntova GabrielaBUL23186,00,044,047,0
WIMSolozhenkina ElizavetaRUS22836,00,043,547,5
WIMChitlange SakshiIND21756,00,043,046,0
WIMAakanksha HagawaneIND21816,00,043,046,0
WFMPotluri SupreethaIND17676,00,040,043,0
WFMLi YunshanCHN22896,00,038,041,0
WIMSong YuxinCHN22926,00,037,541,0
WIMKiolbasa OliwiaPOL22236,00,036,039,0
Diakonova EkaterinaRUS22315,50,045,049,0
WIMArpita MukherjeeIND22715,50,044,548,5
WFMAltantuya BoldbaatarMGL22775,50,044,547,5

Withdrawals from the tournament

As the rounds go by the number of players withdrawing from the tournament is increasing. These are not just Iran players, who anyway have more to worry about than just health issues. But if you look at the pairing list, there have been several withdrawals citing health reasons. But almost all of them have withdrawn after a loss. As a chess player I can completely understand the mental stress and helplessness one feels when he/she loses a game. If it is a winning game, it feels even worse. You are losing rating points like a leaking faucet, there is no longer a chance for making a norm, a medal finish is impossible to achieve. Why then should you continue? Let me give you an example from another sport - Cricket.

India's famous cricketer Anil Kumble at the Antigua 2002

"It was one of the bravest things I've seen on the field of play," said Viv Richards later. Batting at No. 7, Kumble was hit by Merv Dillon. He spat out blood but batted on for another 20 minutes. The series was poised 1-1 and this was the fourth Test. India declared at 513 for 9. The sight of Anil Kumble emerging from the pavilion, ready to bowl, his face bandaged, in the Antigua Test of 2002, is one of cricket's most inspiring. Kumble sent down 14 consecutive overs and became the first bowler to dismiss Brian Lara while bowling with a broken jaw. He was due to fly back to Bangalore the following day for surgery, and as he said, "At least I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best. Kumble's Test was drawn, West Indies declaring at 629 for 9. His reason for returning to bowl: "I didn't want to sit around" is as fine an example of the self-effacing statement as you will find in cricket."

- Source: ESPNcricinfo


If Kumble's incident teaches us something, then it is the fact that great players do not care about the result - the test match was anyway drawn. The feeling of going back home having tried your best is something that cannot be explained in words, it has to be felt.

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