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World Youth 2019 R02+03: Exchange French, Pawn Endgames and some brilliant play

by Sagar Shah - 04/10/2019

A double round in a day always speeds up an event. After the first day, we had two rounds on the second day of the World Youth 2019. In all the sections we have five or less than five players on perfect score. In the under-18 girls section we already have a sole leader! In this report we analyze the win of Honorata Kucharska, the sole leader in girls under-18 and try to improve our understanding of the Exchange French. We also have two very interesting games by the highest rated player in the event Shant Sargsyan (2580) and lastly we look at two pawn endgames that were complex enough for strong players to solve them over the board! A detailed round 2+3 report from Mumbai by IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal.

Double round days are always very hectic. I met a player at the end of the day who said, "I played ten hours of chess today and lost both the games!" Brutal. The good news is that this was the first and the last double round day of the event. After three rounds, there is no section where we have more than five players who are on a perfect 3.0/3 score. In fact in the girls under-18 section we already have a sole leader.

The security measures are pretty tight at the event. Of course mobile phones and electronic devices are not to be brought into the playing hall and this is well known to the players. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

What is that? A "pen"! Well, this time even a pen is not allowed! The organizers are providing the pens to all the participants for all the rounds! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Since there is just one entrance and there is quite a bit of checking, naturally the players will have to wait a bit! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Understanding the exchange French

Honorata Kucharska is the sole leader in the under-18 girls section | Photo: Wojciech Zawadzki

The sole leader in the girls under-18 section is Honorata Kucharska. She is rated 2114 and in the third round was facing the former under-16 girls world champion Annmarie Muetsch. 


Annmarie Muetsch vs Honorata Kucharska

Annmarie who is the higher rated player went for the Exchange French! Why would she do that, you may ask. Well, first of all the opening isn't as drawish as one would imagine. But more importantly it could be quite possible that Honorata is an aggressive player and against attacking players Exchange French often is a very potent weapon.

Black didn't wish to get a solid/boring position out of the opening and hence went for Qd7 and 0-0-0 plan

White starts the attack on the queenside with the move b4. The idea is to push the knight back with b5, develop the queen to a4 and overall have strong initiative on the wing.

With Ne5 White began some concrete actions. Bllack took ...Bxe5 and White took back with the rook on e5. Instead taking back with the pawn would have been much better. White could then get his knight from b3 to d4 and have a very pleasant position.

As White went wrong, Black managed to get his pieces near White's king:

How should Black finish off the game? Hint: Try to find a pretty way to win!

Sargsyan's brilliant play in round two and miss in round three

Shant Sargsyan should have ended the day with 3.0/3. He played a nearly flawless game in round two to beat his opponent Wang Shixu. He made great use of his knight and pawns to overpower his opponent's rook.

That's the amount of concentration you need if you want to do well at these high pressure events!  | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For his brilliant play in round two, Shant wins the best game of the day award by ChessBase. It is volume one of Navigating the Ruy Lopez by Fabiano Caruana.

In the third round, Shant was pitted against Mumbai's young talent IM Aditya Mittal (2430). Aditya played not so well in the opening and soon landed in a lost position.

Aditya Mittal comes to the board with his box of snacks, as his mother keeps a watchful eye on him | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Shant Sargsyan vs Aditya Mittal, round 3

It seemed clear that White is winning in this position. He has an extra pawn, the rook is behind the passed pawn. Yet, Aditya managed to hold the draw, which is quite amazing!
Aditya Mittal shows how he managed to draw the seemingly lost endgame

Praggnanandhaa's Fischer like play

Just like Shant Sargsyan, Praggnanandhaa, the second seed in under-18, too played a fine game in the morning and drew a better position in the evening | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Do you recollect the game Fischer versus Benko? Well, if you don't then try solving this position:


Fischer vs Benko

What should White play here?

Fischer wanted to play e5 in order to unleash a mate on h7. However, e5 is met with f5 and the mate is averted. Hence, it is important to block the f-pawn. Fischer began with the powerful Rf6!! blocking the f-pawn and after e5 it's a mate! A brilliant concept!


Praggnanandhaa vs Antoni Kozak, round 2

How did Pragg continue? Hint: Play like Fischer!

Praggnanandhaa discusses his win

Tale of two complex pawn endgames

Two pawn endgames that were reached on day two, one in round two and one in round three are especially instructive. Let's have a look at both of them carefully and learn from them.


Vatsal Sighania vs Manu David, round 3

How do you assess this position? White to play.

White has a clear edge because of his queenside majority. Black cannot do anything with his central majority because a move like ...f5 is met with f3 and there is no way to make progress on that wing. One would imagine that white would win in just about anyway he plays. My recommendation is to take this position against an engine and try to win with white. Mind you, it is not trivial. The white player in the game, Vatsal Singhania, learnt in the hard way.

Look at the fortress. It doesn't matter if White takes on b6 or plays c6, he will not be able to make progress. Check out the important role played by the pawn on h5 which stops the white king from coming to g4 and pushing head with f4-f5. Black has the perfect setup and he managed to draw the game!

Vantika Agrawal vs Aashna Makhija

Vantika Agrawal against Aashna Makhija was the last game to finish in round two | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Vantika Agrawal vs Aashna Makhija round 2

Black has just attacked White's rook on h5. How should White continue?

Playing the rook to h8 would not be a good idea because after 65...Kg7 66.Rc8 Bxh4 67.Rxc7, the position is a theoretical draw! Vantika played the correct move in the above position with Rg5+!

Black took the rook and the important question is - what do you recapture the rook with?

In the game the rook was captured by the h-pawn which turned out to be a mistake. Black pushed her pawn to c5 and brought her king closer to the pawn. When White comes to c4 with his king, Black plays Kd6 and it is a deadlock!

Instead taking with the f-pawn fxg5 was better. White was worried that Black would have two passers. However, the square formed by the pawns do not reach the edge of the board. That's the reason why this is winning for White.

The feeling of drawing a winning position is never great | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Photo gallery:

Polina Shuvalova and Alexandra Obolentseva share some light words before the game! Both of them are the biggest medal hopes for Russia in the under-18 girls section | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Rakesh Rao, the well-known journalist from The Hindu, greets under-14 top seed Sreeshwan Maralakshikari after his third round game. Sreeshwan escaped miraculously from the jaws of defeat. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

When the coach turns into a photographer! That's Elshan Moradiabadi, the coach of team USA. | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Hans Niemann from USA, the top seed in under-16 section, speaks about his win in round two against Raahul VS and his draw from a losing position against Oliver Stork

Head of delegation of Iran takes a photo of his top player - Aryan Gholami. Aryan scored a fine win in round three against Leon Mendonca and is one of the leaders after three rounds. | Photo: Amruta Mokal
Aryan Gholami talks about his exchange sacrifice in the London System against Leon Mendonca

Boris Gelfand liked to juggle his pieces under the table, this guy likes to do it differently! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

He is just 11 years old - Arhan Chethan Anand, the ChessBase India Juniors analyst, is playing in the under-14 section. He is currently on 2.0/3. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The nervous moments before the game! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Lost in thoughts! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Under-14 open:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMSuleymanli AydinAZE24263,00,04,06,013
FMSrihari L RIND22833,00,04,05,523
Colbow CollinGER21483,00,04,05,513
Kolay AlexUSA21643,00,03,54,513
FMSreeshwan MaralakshikariIND24493,00,03,04,013
FMFlores Quillas Diego Saul RodriPER21642,50,04,56,522
Abinandhan RIND18302,50,04,56,512
FMAaryan VarshneyIND22392,50,04,05,522
FMPranav AnandIND23512,50,04,05,512
Samant Aditya SIND23342,50,04,05,022

Under-14 girls:

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
Kurmangaliyeva LiyawKAZ19363,00,04,05,023
Roebers ElinewNED20833,00,04,05,013
WCMInce Safiye OykuwTUR18403,00,04,05,013
WFMDhyana PatelwIND19953,00,04,04,013
Poliakova VarvarawBLR20423,00,03,03,513
Wikar MartynawPOL19692,50,04,55,522
WIMDivya DeshmukhwIND23582,50,04,55,512
Hakobyan AstghikwARM19782,50,04,55,512
WCMGhomi ParnianwIRI19482,50,04,55,512
WIMRakshitta RaviwIND23102,50,04,55,022

Under-16 open:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMMakarian RudikRUS23863,00,04,05,513
IMSankalp GuptaIND23693,00,04,05,023
Tomiello Lucas CostamilanBRA21073,00,03,53,523
CMAronyak GhoshIND23803,00,03,04,013
FMDaghli ArashIRI23872,50,04,55,512
IMNiemann Hans MokeUSA24392,50,04,05,512
FMGharibyan MamikonARM23882,50,04,05,022
IMAvila Pavas SantiagoCOL24062,50,04,05,012
CMKushagra MohanIND23092,50,03,54,522
FMMoksh Amit DoshiIND23282,50,03,54,512

Under-16 girls:

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
WFMLakshmi CwIND18593,00,04,05,523
WCMGarifullina LeyawRUS23303,00,04,05,513
WFMNurgali NazerkewKAZ21943,00,04,05,023
WFMSalonika SainawIND20513,00,03,04,013
WFMBeydullayeva GovharwAZE22892,50,04,56,022
WFMDemchenko SvitlanawCAN19532,50,04,05,022
WFMMahdian AnoushawIRI21032,50,03,54,512
Zhang XiaowCHN20532,50,03,04,522
Djidjeli SarahwFRA20172,50,03,04,512
WFMJain NityatawIND20292,50,03,04,012

Under-18 open:

Rk.SNo NameFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
IMGholami AryanIRI25543,00,04,05,513
GMIniyan PIND25093,00,04,05,013
IMPetriashvili NikolozGEO24413,00,03,54,513
GMSargsyan ShantARM25802,50,04,56,512
IMZarubitski ViachaslauBLR24352,50,04,56,022
GMPraggnanandhaa RIND25672,50,04,55,522
FMGaridmagnai ByambasurenMGL23272,50,04,55,512
IMAditya MittalIND24302,50,03,54,522
IMDavtyan ArturARM24182,50,03,54,512
IMPultinevicius PauliusLTU25032,50,03,04,512

Under-18 girls:

Rk.SNo NamesexFEDRtgPts. TB1  TB2  TB3  TB4  TB5 
WFMKucharska HonoratawPOL21143,00,03,04,023
WFMRadeva ViktoriawBUL22772,50,04,55,522
WFMShpanko NadiiawUKR22132,50,04,55,522
WIMCervantes Landeiro ThaliawUSA21762,50,04,55,522
WIMShuvalova PolinawRUS24122,50,04,55,512
WGMObolentseva AlexandrawRUS22822,50,04,55,512
WFMSerikbay AsselwKAZ22082,50,04,55,512
WFMTarini GoyalwIND21282,50,04,55,512
WIMMunkhzul TurmunkhwMGL23322,50,04,04,522
WIMVantika AgrawalwIND22832,50,03,55,022


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