Russia wins World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad 2017 Print
Sunday, 17 December 2017 08:11


Round 9: India Red stuns Russia

Russia were assured of the title at the end of the eighth round with one round to spare, when they outsmarted Armenia 3 - 1 to continue the relentless march. India Green and Iran also had victories with identical results to keep their second and third positions respectively intact.

The ninth round climax was only to identify the team emerging runner up. In the final round, the Red team from India did what others could not do – beating Russia 2.5 – 1.5, the victories registered by E Arjun and Mitrabha Guha. Irrespective of the loss, Russia won the championship with 14 match points India Green conceded half a point to Kazakhstan to collect 13 match points and finished runner up.

Iran showed no mercy to Belarus, decimating them to a 4 – 0 defeat, to win the bronze medal.

While Russia won the Gold and 1250 Euro, India Green took the Silver and 1000 Euro. Iran took the Bronze with 800 Euro.

Nihal Sarin
IM Nihal Sarin

Nihal Sarin’s fantastic play on the third board earned him the Gold Medal on the third board for Team India Green. P Iniyan of the Green team scored 7.5 points from 8 games and took the Gold on the Fourth Board.

Shri DV Sundar, FIDE Vice President, Shri Bharat Singh, Hon. Secretary, All India Chess Federation and Shri Ajay Patel were the chief guests at the closing ceremony and distributed the medals and trophies.

India added one more feather to its cap by organising the World Youth Chess Olympiad 2017 organised by Gujarat State Chess Association on behalf of All India Chess Federation and FIDE at Karnavati Club, Ahmedabad from 10th to 18th December 2017.

The prestigious and mega event attracted 30 teams from 25 (including Uganda, which did not turn up at the last minute) countries from all continents – three from India, two from South Africa, two from Kenya, two from Nepal and other federations fielding one team each. The nine round Swiss team event had 9 rounds, with a time control of 90 minutes to each player, with an increment of 30 seconds per move.

Over the years, this tournament has jumped leaps and bounds in quality, with one GM, 14 IMs, 4 WIMs, 29 FMs and 7 WFMs, providing ample opportunities for IM and WIM norm seekers. The strongest ever team in Youth chess Olympiad was fielded by India in the name of India Green which had an average rating of 2503.

Final Ranking

Round 9 Results 

Round 8: Russia becomes a Champion with a Round to spare

The way things were moving, it should not come as a surprise at all. They came, they saw, they conquered. Russia has scored the maximum possible 16 match points in 8 matches (2 match points per win) to stake claim on the first spot.

Before the start of the event, the Russian coach had mentioned that he was worried about the India Green team more than anybody else. Once the Greens were out of the way, the Russians effortlessly marched to take the Gold.

In the penultimate round, the Russians played Armenia and the first board finished in draws.

IMG 6243

On the third board, FM Artur Gaifullin, rated 2417, was completely winning but could only draw. But it did not matter.

On the fourth board, Russian FM Timur Fakhritdinov, rated 2408, won comfortably to take Russia home once again. Russia won 2.5-1.5.

IMG 6214

India Green was playing Uzbekistan on the second board.

IMG 6227

GM Aryan Chopra’s torrid form continues as he lost his fifth game, this time to…

IMG 6213

…Uzbek IM Nodirbek Yakkuboev.

IMG 6219

IM Praggnanandhaa kept pressing with black until his Uzbek opponent IM Shamsiddin Vokhidov, rated 2412 cracked and lost.

IMG 6215-001

IM Nihal Sarin also kept pressing against Saydaliev Saidakber, rated 2362, until the Uzbek lost the thread and lost.

IMG 6217

IM Iniyan P., rated 2452, smashed Daler Vakhidov, rated 2250.

Iniyan is clearly the unsung hero for India Green as he has scored 6.5/7 on the third/fourth board.

With the Gold already confirmed, Iran and India now are fighting for the Silver medal. With 13 Match Points, India is ahead of Iran who has 12 Match Points.

Standings after Round 8

Team Pairings 

Round 7: India Green and Iran fight for second place

It was another match of demolition for Russia in the seventh round. This time the victim was Team Turkey.

While the first board saw a quick draw between IM Sergei Lobanov and FM Deniz Ozen. On the fourth board, too, there was a not so special draw. On the second and the third board, FM Artur Gaifullin and FM Timur Fukhritdinov came out victorious.

The second table saw India Green beat Belarus 3-1. While GM Aryan Chopra slumped to another loss, this time to FM Viachaslau Zarubitski, rated 2330. IM Praggnanandhaa R. had no difficulty in beating WIM Olga Badelka, rated 2388 after she blundered a pawn in the middlegame. IM P. Iniyan beat Maksim Ivannikau, rated 2221, after Iniyan (too) won a pawn in the middlgame. WIM Vaishali R. played on the fourth board and had an equal position but late in the middlegame, her opponent Arseni Kotau, rated 2145, gave away a piece, enabling Vaishali to win.

On the third table, Iran thrashed India Red 4-0.


Round 6: Russia breaks through the final frontier

For Team Russia, after bulldozing through the previous five rounds, the defending champion Iran was the final serious challenge. Except for the fourth board, second seed Iran was clearly higher rated than third seed Russia.

The sixth round was to decide if Russia coasts to the Gold medal, or would Iran blow the competition open.

On the first board, IM Semen Lomasov settled for a very quick draw with IM M. Amin Tabatabaei, while on the third board, FM Artur Gaifullin drew with IM Aryan Gholami. On the fourth board, Orimi Golami, rated 2298 was no match for FM Timur Fakhritdinov, rated 2408.

On the second board, the super-talent of Iran, IM Alireza Firouzja was playing with the white pieces against IM Sergei Lobanov. Lobanov played the Caro-Kann Defence and for a very long time, the position looked equal.

Sergei Lobanov
IM Sergei Lobanov

On the 32nd move, Lobanov sacrificed a pawn on the queenside, asking Firouzja if he wanted to take it and weaken the dark squares around the White King. The queen could kill the pawn but it would stop defending the dark squares on the kingside. Firouzja took the bait and Lobanov murdered the Iranian in cold blood in a space of seven moves. (P.S.: With a Bishop and Rook Sacrifice for the record).

Alireza Firouzja
IM Alireza Firouzja

On the second table, India Green took on the India Red team. It could have been a closer match than it was but as it happened, India Green defeated the Reds 3.5-0.5. The tournament marked the return of form for GM Aryan Chopra who managed to beat FM Rajdeep Sarkar, rated 2408, ending a run of three losses.

Aryan Chopra
GM Aryan Chopra

The third table saw the fifth seeded Uzbekistan take on the eighth seed Turkey. The Uzbeks had put up a remarkable performance until the fifth round, barring a loss to the Russians. They were expected to roll through the Turkish, especially on the top two boards.

FM Ozenir Ekin Baris

FM Ozenir, 2377, was the star for Turkey as he defeated IM Shamsuddin Vokhidov, rated 2412. On the third board, Daler Vakhidov, rated 2250, could not handle FM Dedebas Emre Emin, rated 2258. This meant that the Uzbeks were out of contention because the first board and the fourth board were draws.

Round 6 Results 

Ranking after Round 6 

Round 5: Russia gallops on; India Green snatches draw from the jaws of defeat

The fifth round of the World Youth Chess Olympiad 2017 was something the pundits were looking forward to, with saliva dropping from their mouth. First up was the Russia vs. Uzbekistan clash on the top table.

IMG 5947

IM Semen Lamasov, rated 2516, the Russian trump card on the top board lived up to his billing and defeated Uzbek top seed IM Nodirbek Yakubboev, rated 2448. Meanwhile…


IM Sergei Lobanov, rated 2441, settled for a draw with IM Shamsiddin Vokhidov.

Artur Gaifullin

FM Artur Gaifullin, rated 2417, won on the thid board.

IMG 6018

Russian WIM Alexandra Obolentseva, rated 2328, lost to Daler Vakhidov, rated 2250. But this was not enough for Uzbekistan as the Russians won 2.5-1.5.

But the real excitement was not so much for the clash on the first board, as much for the clash of the tournament — India vs. Iran. The two powerhouses today when it comes to talented young chess players.

IMG 5945

GM Aryan Chopra, the only grandmaster of the tournament, was facing ...

IMG 5997

... IM M. Amin Tabatabaei, rated 2573, the highest rated player in the tournament.

In the white side of the Berlin Defence in a Ruy Lopez, Tabatabaei kept pressing Chopra until the grandmaster finally began to crack. The Iranian was clearly holding a great position and he eventually converted his chance to a win.

IMG 5961

Orimi Mahdi Gholami was clearly better against...

IMG 5991

...IM P. Iniyan, rated 2452. Iniyan was very close to losing the game but in the very end, under time pressure, the Iranian player committed a double blunder and Iniyan got a checkmating net around Orimi’s King. India had equalized!

IMG 5972

IM Alireza Firouzja, rated 2526, is clearly one of the few ‘chosen ones’ in today’s chess world. He is a super talent of his own right, and the greatest hope for Iran in its chess history. He was facing the Indian super-talent...

IMG 6010

...IM Praggnanandhaa R.

The game remained equal for a very long time before Praggnanandhaa went under time pressure and began to lose the thread. Eventually, the pressure was just too much for the Indian youngster and Firouzja won. Iran had pulled ahead yet again.

IMG 5954

IM Nihal Sarin counterattacked just in time.

It was clear that Nihal had to go for the win to make sure India saves the match. Anything lesser than a win would mean Iran would beat India.

IMG 5964

Nihal was playing IM Aryan Gholami, rated 2479.

Aryan had the white pieces and played the London System and Nihal went to a setup he knew to be all right for Black. It was equal position for a long time when towards the end, Aryan went for ambitious play. Nihal grabbed his chance with both the hands and counterattacked with all his powers and a dose of luck.

Fortunately for India Green, Nihal was ahead by a tempo in his counter and Aryan was forced to resign. India Green had equalized the match 2-2.

IMG 5971

India’s second team, India Red, had FM Rajdeep Sarkar, rated 2406, on the top table. India Red was facing Israel. Rajdeep unfortunately lost to Israel’s top seed FM Or Bronstein, rated 2335.

But the rest of India Red team did well...

IMG 5969

S. Jayakumaar, rated 2254, beat FM Nisim Iliaguev, rated 2294.

IMG 5967

FM Arjun Erigaisi, rated 2359, also defeated FM Dan Poleg, rated 2268.

IMG 5988

FM Mitrabha Guha, rated 2315, won a nice game against Alexander Zlatin, rated 2227.

Round 5 Results 

Pairings for Round 6 

Rest day on 15 December 2017.

Official website

Round 4: Russia Dismantles India

Nihal and Praggnanandhaa walked into the tournament hall together. The young duo of India Greens is clearly the talk of the tournament hall. A young boy and his mother, playing for one of the South-East Asian teams walked up to them and requested for a photo with her son. That was the beginning. Players young and old, fans, mothers, girls — they all wanted a photo with them. Indeed, if the future of Indian chess had to be described in two names, they would be Nihal Sarin and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu.

India Green started the day as firm favourites to beat the Russians. On all the boards, the Indians out rated their opponents. At worst, it could be a draw, the spectators and the pundits speculated.

In the end, it was just short of a total destruction, but the other way around.

IMG 5887

IM Praggnanandhaa R. started his game with the black pieces. His opponent Sergei Lobanov chose to enforce the Ruy Lopez Opening. Black played the typical moves and Praggnanandhaa had a fine position going into the middlegame.

But people began to raise their eyebrows when the young boy played …g5 on the kingside where he had castled. This moves weakened the king position. But Praggnanandhaa had defended worse positions.

This time, it was too much. Black made a series of bad moves and the Russian just calmly improved all his pieces, aiming at Praggu’s King. The game was over in an hour. It was a massacre that rattled the entire Indian team.

IMG 5874
IM Sergei Lobanov

IMG 5894

IM P. Iniyan, who had been playing fast due to his superior opening position, gained a clearly better game from the black side of a Sicilian Defence. However, the early loss on board two meant that Iniyan had to win at any cost. The pressure was immense.

IMG 5868

FM Fakhrutdinov Timur, rated 2408, was under severe time pressure.

Iniyan tried to be foxy and set as many traps as he could conjure up. But Timur resolutely avoided all pitfalls. In fact, there was a reversal of fortunes and Timur even gained a huge advantage. But he had very less time on the clock and chose to take the safer route to a draw.

The pressure got Iniyan. Russia led 1.5-0.5.

IMG 5892

Meanwhile, seeing the sudden turn of events, GM Aryan Chopra on the first board was obviously not happy. He had been caught in his opponent IM Semen Lamasov’s opening preparation and was already behind on the clock. But he eventually refused to repeat and gained a comfortable position. After seeing that his team was behind, Aryan took undue risks and began to play without objectivity. This backfired immediately and Lomasov took the win.

Russia had completed the victory, almost, and was leading 2.5-1.5.

Nihal Sarin

IM Nihal Sarin, sacrificed a pawn in the opening and was trying to milk his compensation. The terrible turn of events around him also didn’t make matters any better.

While in the previous match, he had fought out a win to take India Green home, this time, it was a tough task for Nihal. He had to eventually race towards a rook endgame where he was slightly worse but had enough resources to hold a practical draw, which he did.

This anyway was not enough. Russia had shut India Green down 3-1.

Armenia, the fifth seed was up against Iran but this time, Iran was in no mood to relent. Putting behind a bad Day 02 at the office, Iran fought powerfully to take home the win, also winning 3-1.

Russia has clearly taken the lead and is in a comfortable position going into the second half of the tournament. Meanwhile, Iran and India now have to slug it out to keep up in the race to the finish.

Round 4 Results 

Round 4 Results 

Official website

Rounds 2 & 3: India Green beat fourth seed Armenia; Defending Champions Iran held to draw

Two rounds were played on the second day of the World Youth Chess Championship 2017 being held at the Karnavati Club in Ahmedabad. After a comfortable first day for all the top seeds, the second day already witnessed some surprising turnarounds.

Aryan Chopra
GM Aryan Chopra (Priyadarshan Banjan, AICF Media Officer)

In the second round, the top seeds India Green successfully fended off the Turkish challenge with wins on the first two boards. GM Aryan Chopra managed to beat FM Denis Ozen, rated 2412 with the black pieces. IM Praggnanadhaa R. meanwhile rolled through the hapless FM Ekin Baris Ozenir (2377) to score the second win for the India Green. The last two boards were drawn, with IM Nihal Sarin and WIM Vaishali R. settling for draws with lower rated opponents.

The second seeded Iranians also had a topsy-turvy start to their day against Kazakhstan. While IM M. Amin Tabatabaei, rated 2573, and IM Alireza Firouzja, rated 2526, both had easy wins, the fourth board for the Kazakhs, Tamerlan Bekturov, rated 2222, beat his lower rated Iranian opponent. Meanwhile, Iran’s third board IM Aryan Gholami, rated 2479, was completely losing to lower rated Ramazan Zhalmakhanov. It looked like Iran would be held to a draw but the fortunes changed at the very last moment when in time pressure, the Kazakh player went wrong allowing Gholami to win. This made the score 3-1 in Iran’s favour.

In the third round, held in the afternoon, India Green was pitted against the fourth seeds, Armenia. It was destined to be a cracker of a contest and the match lives up to its reputation. On the top table, Armenia’s Aram Hakobyan, rated 2465, put unlimited pressure on GM Aryan Chopra on the queenside. Chopra, playing with Black, had a very passive position and eventually fell apart, losing the game. On the second board, IM Praggnanandhaa looked to be in a bad position with white pieces. This time, the fourth and the fifth boards rallied for India Green. IM INiyan P., rated 2452, had replaced WIM Vaishali for this crucial game. Playing White, Iniyan had an equal position out of the opening against FM Mamikon Gharibyan, rated 2342. But the Armenian had used up a lot of time on his clock and this eventually saw his demise. Iniyan made foxy moves to mislead the Armenian who had very less time on the clock and lost.
Praggnanandhaa managed to hold his bad position to a draw.

Nihal Sarin
IM Nihal Sarin (Priyadarshan Banjan, AICF Media Officer)

On the third board, IM Nihal Sarin, rated 2507, played sparkling chess with Black against FM David Mirzoyan, rated 2345. Nihal crowned his excellent play with a position knight sacrifice that gave him lasting position pressure. White lost the thread and resigned.

Iran, who had luckily won earlier in the day, finally lost luck when the fifth seed Uzbekistan held them to a 2-2 draw. While IM Alireza Firouzja and IM Aryan Gholami won their games, the fourth board was a win for the Uzbeks. Tragically, the highest rated player in the tournament IM M. Amin Tabatabaei lost his way with the white pieces against Nodirbek Yakubboev, rated 2448, making the match a draw. Russia had a very easy day as they won both the third and the fourth rounds very comfortably.

This allowed third seed Russia join India Green in the lead, with both the teams leading with 6 match points.

Official website


Round 1

The World Youth Chess Olympiad 2017 was off to a clean start for all the top seeds. With an average rating of 2509, India Green is clearly the strongest on paper but there was a minor flutter on the first board when the only Grandmaster of the tournament was held to a draw by a Bangladeshi super-talent.

Md Fahad Rahman

14-year-old Mohammad Fahad Rahman, rated 2232 of Bangladesh is the No.1 ranked player in his country in Under-18 category.

Md. Fahad Rahman was playing the white side of a Ruy Lopez against GM Aryan Chopra, rated 2532. He did not have a clear idea about the plans for White, and hence had to rely on his intuition to find the best moves. He did so fairly successfully and in the end gained what looked like a slightly better position with more active pieces.

After the game, Fahad said, “I think I had a very good position with my pieces being better placed than his. I had this timely knight sacrifice that ensures an advantage in my opinion. But I do not like to take risks when I am in time-pressure and hence I just kept making moves. In the end, he offered me a draw. I think I had a good position even then, but the time left on my clock didn’t make me happy. Therefore, I chose to accept it.”

Notwithstanding this minor upset, the Bangladeshis were no match for the India Green as the remaining India Green players awarded our neighbours a beat down. The match was won by India Green 3.5-0.5, with the Greens gaining 2 match points for the win.

The second seeded Iran, with an average rating of 2469, come into the 2017 edition of the tournament as the defending champions. They were pitted against Indonesia and this was also an easy outing for Iran, who picked up the 2 match points on offer.

Alireze Firouzja 03

Iran’s 14-year-old IM Alireza Firouzja, rated 2526, and is clearly a super talent and a player of the future.

The third seed Russia, too, walked to an easy victory over Iraq, gaining two match-points.

The other Indian teams in the fray — India Green and India Red — also defeated Australia and Thailand respectively, both with the scores of 3.5-0.5. Both the teams picked up 2 match points each.

On the eighth board, in the Turkey vs. Nepal A match, Milan Lama, rated only 1833, managed to beat almost 500-point higher rated FM Ekin Baris Ozenir, rated 2377 with the black pieces was the other notable upset of the day.

Irrespective of the scores, the winning teams get 2 match points. If the match is drawn, both the teams split the points and take home 1 point each. The tournament is a 9-round event that will run from 11 December 2017 to 18 December 2017 at the Karnavati Club in Ahmedabad. This mega-event has 148 players from 25 countries competing, with Nepal, Kenya, and South Africa fielding 2 teams each, while India, being the host country has fielded three teams. There is 1 Grandmaster and 14 International Masters in the fray.

Round 1 Results 


World Youth Chess Olympiad begins; India Green got top billing

World Youth Chess Olympiad 2017 got off to a rousing start at Karnavati Club here on Sunday. 30 teams from 25 countries are taking part in this prestigious event of World Chess Calendar for Under-16 players.

Host India fielding three teams in the championship and it’s GREEN team with average rating 2503 seeded top followed by Iran with average rating of 2469. Green team’s Aryan Chopra is the lone Grandmaster in the event while Iran’s International Master Tabatabaei Amin is the highest rated player with a rating of 2573.

In this nine round Swiss System event, each team need to field a maximum of 5 players which include one girl player and she must play at least three 3 rounds. For the records, the event attracted one Grandmaster, fourteen International Masters and four women international masters and twenty nine FIDE Masters.

India’s International Arbiter Rathinam Anantharam is officiating as Chief Arbiter for the Olympiad. The first round matches will start Monday afternoon and top seed India Green play with black pieces on top board as on draw of lots as their captain FM Prasenjit Dutta picked the dark colour.

The Olympiad has been declared open by World Chess Federation Vice President Shri. DV Sundar in presence of Shri. Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary of All India Chess Federation, Shri. RM Dongre, President of Asian Zone 3.2, Shri. Ajay Patel, President Shri. Ajay Patel, President of Gujarat State Chess Association, Shri. Jayesh Modi, Vice President of Gujarat State Chess Association and Shri. Bhavesh Patel, Secretary of Gujarat State Chess Association. The function included a cultural extravaganza and the same was well received by all the delegations.

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