Wu, Mou Stick Podium Finishes at 2023 World Youth Championship

The 2023 World Youth Championship concluded Friday, November 24, in Montesilvano, Italy with six new world champions. With sections for players under ages 18, 16, 14 (and corresponding Girls sections), every section saw an outright winner, although tiebreaks still impacted overall podium standings.


us team
Image Caption
The American team in front of a familiar landmark (photo US Chess)


Overall, a total of 766 players (including 27 Americans) competed across the six sections, with four players earning direct norms based on their podium finishes and one even earning a title outright.

Two Americans won medals in their section, with third-seeded WGM Rochelle Wu finishing in clear second with 9/11 in the Girls Under-18 section and WIM Iris Mou finishing in clear third with 8½/11 in the Girls Under-14.


Girls Under-18

Wu earned the silver medal by finishing a half-point behind Azeri WFM Ayan Allahverdiyeva. In their fifth-round match-up, Wu was actually fortunate to escape with a draw:



From there, Allahverdiyeva managed to go undefeated, while a tenth-round loss mostly dashed Wu’s chances:



Still, she finished strong with a last-round win and had hopes to catch Allahverdiyeva assuming she did not also win her game. But Allahverdiyeva also delivered:




Girls Under-14

Mou finished behind Uzbekh WGM Afruza Khamdova (10/11) and Kazakh WFM Elnaz Kaliakhmet (9/11), drawing the latter in the fifth round but never having a shot at the former. Khamdova earned a WIM norm for her performance. Here is the eight-round encounter between the eventual gold and silver medalists:



Mou’s ninth-round loss to Russian WFM Anna Shukhman took her out of contention for gold, but she bounced back with a pair of nice wins to finish third. Here’s the ninth-round loss and the more entertaining of her final wins:




Girls Under-16

The Girls Under-16 section saw (previously) untitled Chinese player Chuqiao Wang earn her gold (and direct WIM title) with an undefeated 10/11 performance, a full point ahead of Russian WFM Alexandra Shvedova. Shvedova, in turn, finished a full point ahead of Kazakh WIM Alua Nurmanova. Nurmanova’s 8/11 score was tied with India’s Tejaswani G, although Nurmanova took bronze on tiebreaks. Still, Tejaswani entered the event seeded 15th and roughly 400 points behind Nurmanova. Here’s Wang’s sixth-round win over the silver medalist:



Open Under-18

In the Open Under-18, Russian IM Aleksey Grebnev won gold with a round to spare. His 9½/11 score includes a last-round loss to countryman and silver medalist GM Volodar Murzin, whose 9/11 score was a half-point ahead of bronze medalist IM Aldiyar Ansat of Kazakhstan. The gold medal also earned Grebnev a GM norm.

Below is Murzin’s last-round victory that earned him silver, and one of Grebnev’s nine victories exemplifying the attacking chess he essayed throughout his stay in Montesilvano.




American Gabriel Eidelman had a nice tournament as well, finishing on 6½/11 and tying for 23rd out of 134 players. Entering the event seeded 43rd, Eidelman was playing up on board four by round nine, and had two competitive duels with IMs in the final three rounds.




Open Under-16

In the Open Under-16, Polish IM Jakub Seeman won gold with a 9½/11, finishing a half-point ahead of countryman and fellow IM Jan Klimkowski and German FM Leonardo Costa. Here is the All-Poland clash from round seven:



The top American finishers were FM Erick Zhao and Rohan Padye, who each finished in a tie for 13th place, out of 138 competitors, on 7/11. The result was roughly expected for Zhao, who entered the tournament seeded 16th, but a welcome surprise for the 45th-seeded Padye, who capped off his nice event with an upset of an FM in the final round:



Open Under-14

In the Open Under-14, Polish FM Powel Sowinski’s 9/11 score earned the gold a half-point ahead of German FM Magnus Ermitch, Italian FM Nicolas Perossa, and Russia’s David Akhemedov, who finished second through fourth, respectively, on tiebreaks. The gold medal also came with an IM norm for Sowinski. Sowinski’s seventh-round win was easily one of the most entertaining games of the entire tournament:



Full standings for each section are available here.