The record breaking World Youth Chess Championships concluded in Porto Carras, Greece. The winners and the medalists are already known and will be awarded at the closing ceremony.
Only one group was decided before the last day, and R11 turned out to be one of the most exiting WYCC finishes ever. The players continued battling for many hours in the decisive games, and multiple first places and medals were decided by a tiebreak “photo finish”.
WIM Kazimova Narmin Nizami (Azerbaijan) successfully concluded the competition in Girls U18 and materialized the good play and positive attitude into a gold medal. Same points with Kazimova, but lower tiebreak and therefore silver medal, is for WGM Deysi Cori from Peru, who caught up with four straight victories. Bronze medalist is WIM Hoang Thi Nhu Y from Vietnam.
The fearless chase between GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan and FM Steven Zierk in the Open U18 ended with the Armenian player stumbling in the final yards, while American won the game, the title of the World Champion in his age category and a GM norm.
Samvel has to console himself with silver, while GM Nils Grandelius grabbed the bronze medal on superior tiebreaks.
Incredible drama in the last round of the Girls U16 tournament! Both leaders, WIM Nastassia Ziaziulkina and WIM Meri Arabidze, were defeated, and eventually three players shared the first with 8.5 points each. Ziaziulkina, being the leader thoughout the whole event, had a massive tiebreak score and still took the gold medal. WIM Nguyen Thi Mai Hung is silver and WIM Lisa Schut pulls the bronze thanks to the series of three consecutive victories.
Polish players dominated the Open U16 event. In the end two of them, FM Kamil Dragun and Daniel Sadzikowski, together with the Russian FM Ivan Bukavshin, shared the first place with 8.5 points each. Dragun is declared Champion, while Sadzikowski took silver and Bukavshin bronze.
WFM Dinara Saduakassova (Kazakhstan), top-seed in her group Girls U14, snatched the title with 9.0 points, but only after the earlier leader Lei Tingjie (China) tripped in the final round. Unfortunately, Lie didn’t even take a medal, as Raana Hakimifard (silver) and Nandhidhaa Pv (bronze) had the better tiebreak among the players with 8.5 points each.
Open U14 was one of the most interesting groups. Despite having a Grandmaster (Richard Rapport) and two International Masters in the starting list, Lithuanian Tomas Laurusas started furiously with seven straight wins. However, the trend has turned and he lost the remaining four games, slipping down to the 17th place.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is 35th-seed Izzat Kanan Azar from Azerbaijan, who was playing his first World Youth event, started with a loss, but then opened a fantastic series where he conceded only two draws in 10 games. The final score of 9 points awarded him with a gold medal. Shiven Khosla takes silver and FM Kirill Alekseenko takes bronze medal.
WCM Ivana Maria Furtado from India scored three consecutive wins in the final rounds and eventually caught the earlier leader in Girls U12, Iulija Osmak, but the Ukrainian is awarded gold on better tiebreak. Third is also Indian player, WFM Mahalakshmi, who edged her compatriot Sunyasakta Satpathy.
Open U12 had a very exciting finish in which three players contested the first place. Wei Yi from China, for whom Greece is obviously a lucky place as he already won the 2008 World School Championship here, relatively quickly won his final game and waited for the outcome on the other top boards.
Such development put a certain pressure on Kayden Troff (USA) who headed into the last with equal points with Yi. Kayden eventually drew and got a hold on the silver medal, as FM Jan-Krzysztof also drew and remained third.
Both leading players in the Girls U10, WFM Davaademberel Nominerdene and Zhansaya Abdumalik, won in the last round, but Nominerdene wins the gold medal on better additional criteria, while Abdumalik takes silver. Alexandra Obolentseva, who held the lead in the middle of the tournament, slipped down to shared third place but nevertheless won the bronze medal.
Jason Cao from Canada pulled an all-important victory in the last round, against the direct rival for top places Cameron Wheeler, and thanks to the draw on the top board, he earned the gold medal on better additional criteria. Jeffrey Xiong (USA) takes home the silver, and Puranik Abhimanyu edged his fellow Indian Gupta Bhaskar to claim the bronze.
Li Yunshan from China won the Girls U8 Group with a brutal score of 10.5 points, allowing only one draw throughout the Championship. Point and a half behind is Eszter Morvay (Slovakia) and Assel Serikbay (Kazakhstan) grabs the bronze medal on better tiebreak score.
The earlier leader of the Open U8, Kirill Shevchenko, lost in the last round, allowing Abdulla Azar Gadimbayli to leap ahead and take a clear first place with 9.5 points. This is the second gold for Azerbaijan in Boys’ competitions and third overall.
Rudraksh Parida, also victorious in the final game, is silver medalist, and Shevchenko despite the loss was still able to claim the bronze.
Congratulations to the winners and medalists!