Fun times in Batumi: Kally Wen, Joy Chu, Kevin Pan, Jason Wang sporting Two Sigma uniforms, Photo courtesy of Hui Wang
The tournament has crossed the halfway mark on an overall happy note for the US delegation at the World Cadets in Batumi, Georgia. Going into round seven, we have Americans on top boards in nearly all sections:
Open Under 8:
Board 3– Farid Orujov (Azerbaijan)- Marvin Gao. Marvin has made a great comeback after his first round loss and has won five consecutive games to get within a half point of the leaders. Here is his round six victory against the Bulgarian representative.
In round 7 he takes on the talented champion of Azerbaijan in this age category. A game to watch!
Open Under 10:
Jason Wang at the Two Sigma dinner
Board 1– Ilya Makoveev (Russia)- Jason Wang. Both players have 5.5/ 6. Jason gave up a half point in round 5, when he carefully navigated to a draw the white side of a Benko gambit gone wrong.
He ground out a bishops of opposite colored endgame in round 6 (a 106 move game, although the last twenty of them weren’t necessary).
Board 2– Nico Chasin- Volodar Murzin (Russia). So it’s USA-Russia on both top boards! Reminiscent of the recent Olympiad, when USA faced Russia across eight boards in the eighth round (open and women’s section). Nico has 5.5/ 6 as well, coming off a couple of particularly good rounds, defeating the top seed Islombek Sindarov (2229 FIDE) and then the third seed, his fellow member of the US team- Arthur Guo (2168 FIDE). His opponent Volodar has half a point less.
Note the nice positional maneuver Na7!-c6-Nb5-Nd6 in the game with Arthur:
Open Under 12:
Andrew Hong at the Two Sigma dinner
Board 1– Andrew Hong- Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (India). At 5.5/ 6 Andrew is in clear second place behind IM Praggnanandhaa’s perfect score. Andrew has been having a great tournament, having scored 1.5/ 2 against the second and third seeds and gaining 57 rating points so far. He will have a big test in the Indian star who has a good chance to break the record for youngest ever GM (Sergey Karjakin at 12 years and 7 months). In round 6, Andrew made a nice exchange sacrifice to gain the initiative:
Board 4– Renjie Huang (China)- Nikhil Kumar. Nikhil is in a group of seven players behind Andrew Hong at 5/6. He is having an excellent tournament, gaining 60 points.
Girls Under 10:
Board 3: Rochelle Wu- Davakhuu Munkhzul (Mongolia, obviously). Rochelle has only given up two draws, but because it’s a large section which makes it possible for multiple perfect scores to exist for a long time, she has flown under the radar so far. This is her first appearance on such a high board and a chance to finally enter the leaders group. She is a half point behind the two leaders who are facing each other.
Girls Under 12:
Board 4: Nastassja Matus- Dehankar Mrudul (India). Nastassja is having a fantastic tournament, gaining 90 points. Last round she drew the top ranked Bibisara Assaubayeva (2289) with Black. At the moment Nastassja is in a seven-way tie for second place, so this is a good chance to break out of the pack.
The only free day we will have here was, as promised by the forecasts, rainy. Sometimes the rain was heavy, sometimes more of a drizzle, and sometimes it stopped altogether. Looking out my window in the morning, I could see a road in front of the hotel flooded, with cars making waves as they waded through it. A good portion of our delegation decided to brave the weather and try the tour the organizers provided to see the nearby scenery (they seemed to like it). Many others stayed put at the Sheraton.
As I mentioned in my first report, World Youth is a time for making friends, socializing, and playing with other kids. It was disappointing to see my charge, Nura, sitting in the room doing homework all day and only socializing with myself. One of the main drawbacks of this year’s edition is the lack of opportunities for the kids to get together, play sports/games, etc. So on the free day I made a few phone calls to the parents of other girls and organized a walk to the zoo/dolphinarium (10-15 minutes away). We saw some adorable ponies, but the zoo was closed due to the weather and the dolphin show was only starting much later, so we continued walking in the city.
I had a good time shopping and the girls had a good time hanging out with each other! [mission:completed]. Photos of my purchases may be included in the next report 🙂
At 6:30 PM, there was a team dinner for all the team members and accompanying persons at the nearby restaurant, Grill Town, sponsored by Two Sigma, who also provided the team’s beautiful uniforms. So you can imagine that that was one big dinner! (we took up their whole first floor). The food was already waiting for us when we arrived, and it was delicious, even their take on traditional American dishes like Caesar Salad with grilled chicken. Kids sat separately at their own tables, and it looked like they had a great time.