Coach Sabina's Lessons From World Youth Championships

Editor's Note: WGM Sabina Foisor reported on her return to her home country as a coach for the 2022 World Youth Championships in Mamaia, Romania for the April issue of Chess Life magazine. We have republished her piece, with instructive moments from five additional games (!), here. Consider becoming a US Chess member for more content like this — access to digital editions of both Chess Life and Chess Life Kids is a member benefit, and you can receive print editions of both magazines for a small add-on fee.

In recent years I have become more involved with coaching talented young players in high-level youth competitions. I was fortunate to have been entrusted with a role helping our players at the 2019 Pan-American and World Youth Championships.

When I saw that the 2020 World Youth Championships would be in Romania, I was excited. I grew up there; what could be better than leading the American delegation in my homeland?

After a long postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 World Youth Championships were finally held in Mamaia, Romania, from September 5-17. The host city is a suburb of Constanta, which has a smaller airport, so our delegation all flew to Romania’s capital, Bucharest.

Organizers provided buses from the airport to Constanta, some 138 miles away. This added another two or three hours to an already long trip, but the hotels were quite lovely and close to the playing area. The tournament site was well-located, but airflow was not optimal, and the glass pavilion created a lot of heat in the hall, even with September sun.


Image Caption
courtesy Florin Ardelean


Team USA was composed of 18 players, and I was excited to see that 13 were girls! Along with parents and chaperones, we were joined by US Chess FIDE Events Manager Brian Yang, and three strong GM coaches were available online to prepare players and analyze with them.

Many of the top U.S. players did not make the trip, perhaps because it took place right at the beginning of the school year. But our players all did us proud. Most were not among the favorites in their sections, but everyone fought to the end, and optimistically strove for their best results, even in the last rounds. Chess in the United States continues to grow, and we will see many of these players on bigger stages in the future.

Our team’s highest initial seed was FM Ruiyang Yan, who played in the Girls U16 section. Although her level was generally high, a few missed chances cost her a medal by the slimmest of margins. Arya Kumar had an excellent result in the Girls U18. Starting in 43rd place by rating, she just missed finishing in the top six with a tough result in the final round.

There were many exciting moments for our players, but for this article, I selected positions that I thought could be instructive for the reader, and I hope everyone learns something from them. Despite my selecting some blunders and misses, I was very impressed with everyone’s professionalism during the tournament, and I’m looking forward to watching these players grow and achieve in the future!







(Editor's Note: WGM Foisor shared so many nice moments with us that we went back and forth narrowing it down to five games that could fit in the magazine. Since the Internet does not impose such constraints, we are thrilled to share the rest of her curated moments here.)







2022 World Youth Championships At a Glance

September 5-17, 2022 | Mamaia, Romania


Open Sections

U18: Nicholas Ladan, 5/11.

U16: FM Sharvesh Deviprasath, 6.

U14: Arsal Gardezi, 7. CM Neeraj Harish, 6½. James A. Chrililov, 5½.


Girls Sections

U18: Arya Kumar, 7. WFM Natassja Matus, Carissa Zheng, 6. WFM Anne-Marie Velea, 5½.

U16: FM Ruiyang Yan, 8, fourth place on tiebreaks. Chelsea Zhou, 6½. Asha Kumar, 6.

U14: Chloe Wang, WCM Kally Wen, 6½. Ananya Ananth, Rowan Soraya Field, Chloe Gaw, 6. Lila Quinn Field, 5½.


For complete results and additional photos, visit