The World Youth Championships ended in Al Ain, U.E.A. as the year drew to a close. Here is one more game from that event and some observations.
Carissa Yip had the best finish of the US players in the Girls Under 10 section. She was in a three way tie for 2nd place at 8½ /11. By the smallest of margins her tie breaks placed her 4th , just out of the medals. Martha Samadashvili, with 7/11, placed 22nd overall. Sania Salonika of India won the section with 9/11.
The overall standings show the US did not have an outstanding result with just three medals in all sections; one each Gold, Silver and Bronze. In the Open Under 10 section the US players dominated. Awonder Liang took first with 10/11. He had first place before the last round was played. In second was David Peng at 9/11 along with Teclaf Pawel of Poland and Yu Kaifeng of China. David won the Silver medal on tie breaks.
The US Under 10 cohort, Girls and Open, seems to be a very talented group. That is very promising for the future. One more example of this group’s strength is every US participant in the Girls Under 10 category scored at least 50%. If not too many of this bunch do not lose interest and drift away from chess, we should see improved results over the next few years as they move up the age ladder.
Here is another game by Martha Samadashvili from the event. This is from the second round when Martha faced Carissa Yip. Ms. Yip is a USCF rated Expert (2017) and she is from Boston. She plays regularly at the strong Boylston Chess Club there. Keeping in mind these are two nine year olds, this game is quite interesting and good.
Yip, Carissa – Samadashvili, Martha [A26]
2013 World Youth Championship Al Ain, U.A.E, 20.12.2013
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.Nf3 Nge7 7.0–0 0–0 8.a3,..
The first interesting point: The position is a reversed Sicilian Defense. When culling the database a number of GM games were found in the lines B25/B26, the Closed Sicilian – the same position but with the colors reversed. Expanding the search to include lesser titled players found quite a large number of games with the colors assigned as in today’s game. In other words, the game is right in the heart of theory. The Grandmasters, as Black, seem to prefer putting the Knight on f6 rather than e7.
A more common approach for White at this point is 8 Rb1, heeding Berliner’s advice: in Closed Games, if there nothing else pressing, prepare b2-b4 to seize some extra space The text has the same purpose, however it uses up a pawn move that may be useful in the endgame.
Neither the mighty Deep Rybka, nor the GM’s really like this move. Preferred are; 8…, h6; covering g5, and 8…, Bf4; planning .., Qd7; aiming to trade off White’s light squared Bishop.
Allowing Black a chance to force some simplification with 9…, Nd4. Martha isn’t interested in heading for a draw so early in the game.
9…, a5 10.Bd2 Bd7 11.c5!?,..
Electing to begin a tactical struggle before completing development with 11 Rac1.
Passing a chance to take the game into complications with 11…, d5!? After 11…, d5 12 Nxd5 Nxd5 13 Qc4 Nce7 14 e4 Bc6! 15 Bc3 Kh8 16 exd5 Bxe5 17 Qa4 Nc6; the game is about equal according to the computer, but I like Black. Her King maybe a bit exposed, however d3 is a long term worry for White, and Black has some superiority in the middle of the board.
The game move hands White the initiative. Martha may have been worried about a check by the Queen on b3 and the loss of the b-pawn. This is specious not so much because the line: 11…, dxc5 12 Qb3+ Kh8 13 Qxb7 Rb8 14 Qa6 Rxb2 15 Rab1, which is approximately equal. Of greater concern may be that the game spins off into a tactical morass. Take for example this line: 11…, dxc5 12 Qb3+ Kh8 13 Qxb7 c4!? 14 dxc4? Rb8 15 Qa6 Bc8; and Black wins the Queen for a minor piece and a pawn or two. It very well maybe the out-of-control nature of the positions after allowing the check from b3 just did not appeal to Martha. This occasion, early in the tournament, facing one of the leading US players in the Under 10 Girls category, maybe Martha was being prudent. The game was a chance to move up a step or two in the pecking order. Going into complications that would challenge even experienced players does look risky.
12.cxd6 cxd6 13.Qb3 Qc8?
This move persuades me Black is not seeing the situation on the Q-side as clearly as might be hoped. The text guards b7, but the b-pawn is very dangerous for White to take. For example, similar to the previous note: 13…, d5 14 Qxb7? Rb8 15 Qa6 Bc8; wins the Queen for a Rook this time.
This tactical defense of b7 should have permitted Black to take over the center with: 13…, d5 14 Bg5 e4; and the fight is warming up with decent chances for Black. The positions that come about will favor the better tactician.
Making the obvious threat of a fork on b6. Yip could have maintained the usual advantage White expects to have with something more subtle such as 14 Nb5 Be6 15 Qa4 Qd7 16 Rac1. The small edge White enjoys is not very threatening to Black, but it is there.
14…, Be6 15.Qd1 Qd8 16.Ng5 Bg8
Black is equal or just a bit better now.
17.Rc1 Nd4 18.Nc3,..
Not 18 Bxb2? Rb8 19 Bg2 Bb3 20 Qe1 Bxa4 21 Bxa5 Qe8; and the two pawns White has picked up for the piece are not yet advanced enough to constitute full compensation for the piece. I doubt these two pawns will push forward if Black is on her toes. With the extra piece being a Bishop it is unlikely White can overcome a blockade somewhere on the a and b-files.
This is a tempting bit of activity, but somewhat better is 18…, Nb3 19 Rc2 h6 20 Nf3 Qd7; and Black has increased her edge to where it is becoming significant.
19.Qe1 h6 20.Nf3 Nc2?!
At a guess, Martha perhaps thought Carissa might agree to a draw with 21 Qd1 Nd4 22 Qe1, etc.
The newly minted USCF Expert was not in the mood to grant her more lowly rated opponent a half-point, thus the sacrifice. The Exchange sacrifice is the only way to avoid a draw by repetition.
21…, Bxc2 22.Qc1 Bb3 23.Bxh6 Rc8
White has picked a pawn for the Exchange and weakened the Black King’s shelter. It is not quite enough compensation, although there is a lot of play left in the position.
The young Expert’s judgment is rewarded. Strangely, even with Black’s Bishop on b3 watching the light squares on the a2-g8 diagonal, White can make threats on these squares. Black would be better served by 24…, Qd7; beginning to get major pieces off squares where a royal family forks can happen, and the move would add a guard to e6.
Both players are somewhat inaccurate over the next segment of the game. They are focused on tricks the White Knights can get up to. With the text Black wants to persuade White to exchange the dark squared Bishops. This is the second point of interest; this period of not quite correct play by both participants has its root causes in inexperience and tension. They are seeing the resolution of the contest in terms of tactics when more certainty is to be found in positional methods. It is common wisdom that youth revels in tactics. Give these two a few more games against tough opponents and they will begin to expand their choice of methods.
The wrong choice I think. Better seems to be 25 Bg5 Bf6 26 Bxf6 Rxf6 27 d4, taking the positional path of playing against the weakened Black pawns.
25…, Kxg7 26.Ng5?,..
Carissa is betting on the Knights dancing and forking tricks. Better here is 26 d4, attacking the chain of pawns and angling to open lines on the Black King.
Maybe time was getting short now. Black misses a chance at an upset here. Best is 26…, Nc6. Martha may have been concerned about White obstructing the a2-g8 diagonal with 27 Nd5, or 27 Bd5. Neither work because the Ng5 is loose. If 26…, Nc6 27 Bd5 Bxd5 28 Nxd5 Qxg5; leaves Black up a Rook for a single pawn, a winning advantage.
Ms. Yip must have been convinced she could dazzle her opponent with the dancing Knights. Much better is 27 Nf3, although after 27…, Rh5; Black still has some small edge.
Slipping out of danger with 27…, Qb6; or 26…, Kh6; would have kept a comfortable plus for Black. The move played smacks of a time-trouble reaction shot.
The theme of a fork on e6 is realized. If 28…, Bxc2 29 Ne6+, recovers the Queen. That is not so bad, the pieces are equal and Black is down only single pawn. The problem is the weakness of the Black b, d and e-pawns. A couple of them will fall leading to a fairly easy win for White.
28…, Qb6 29.Qc3 a4 30.Bh3 Rf8 31.Be6,..
Suddenly the insoluble problem of the light squares is crystal clear. The threat of capturing on b3 followed by a Knight fork on e6 is very strong.
31…, d5 32.Qxe5+ Kh6 33.Nf7+ 1–0
The Black King is in mortal danger. If 33…, Kh7 34 Neg5+ Kg8; and it is mate by 35 Qh8#, or 36 Nh6#. If 33…, Rxf7 34 Bxf7 Qd8 35 Qxf4+ Kg7 36 Nc5 Qc8 37 Ne6+, when Black must give up his Queen for the Knight to stave off mate.
The game was a mixture of good and bad parts. That is expected in the games of very young players. What is evident is they are bold players willing to take risks. With Ms. Yip and Ms. Samadashvili both living in the Northeastern quarter of the US, there are good chances they will bump into each other again in one of the big open tournaments or some scholastic event. I will keep an eye peeled for that to see their progress.