August was a hot time for young chess players from all over the world as the Online Cadets and Youth Rapid World Cup 2021 was underway on the Tornelo platform for most of the month. The qualification stage run from 1-20 August and brought together more than 1600 participants from 100 national federations, making it one of the biggest online events of the year. The top finishers in each of 10 age categories (Open under 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 years old; Girls under 10, 12, 14, 16, 18) and seeded players secured their places in the finals from 26-31 August. Unfortunately, we must admit that not everyone kept their points to the end of the tournament – the Fair Play panel never stopped keeping an attentive eye.
The finals were held in a knockout format with a time control of 15 minutes plus 10 seconds increment and broadcast live with the commentary by GM Farrukh Amonatov. You can find the archive of all streams in the dedicated playlist.
Sixteen players starting in each category eventually narrowed down to two in the final who determined the overall winner. In addition to well-deserved bragging rights, the top 3 winners in each section qualified for the 2021 FIDE Online Rapid Super Final to be held in December. Five players placed 4-8, and one highest-rated player among 9th-16th secured their participation in the 2021 FIDE Online Rapid Grand Prix Series that will allow them to have another shot on reaching the Super Final – the ultimate stage of this year’s Cadets & Youth World Championship cycle.
Russia claimed the most medals – six in total, but only one of the highest order as FM Savva Vetokhin snatched gold from Mrinmoy Rajkhowa (India) in Armageddon. Players from the USA and India collected four medals for each country, with the USA taking two golds. The rating-favourite of Girls U12 WCM Alice Lee won the event after beating second-seeded Anna Shukhman in Armageddon.
In Open U16, IM Cristopher Yoo gained the upper hand in a principled encounter with Russian IM Volodar Murzin leaving behind higher-rated Indians Gukesh D and Pranav V. The single gold for India came in a prestigious Open U18 category after IM Harshavardhan G B defeated FM Nikolaos Spyropoulos in the second game of their final.
On the diagram is one of the crucial moments of Spyropoulos – Harshavardhan. Commentator GM Farrukh Amonatov criticized White’s decision not to take on e4 and choose 20.Bb2 instead.
20…Bxh3! 21. Ne5 Bf5 was played, Black winning a pawn. White certainly had enough compensation in space and activity, and he managed to develop a dangerous initiative, leading to the following position.
However, White slowed down here, capturing on b5, after which Black’s queen and rook got loose on the queenside, and the game was soon over. Instead, White could have broken Black’s resistance by exchanging the last guardian with 28. Ng4.
In the absence of a firm favourite IM Bibisara Assaubayeva (Kazakhstan), the second seed Azerbaijani WIM Govhar Beydullayeva dominated the Girls U18 section. Vietnamese players triumphed in the Girls U16 category with WCM Nguyen Hong Nhung defeating her compatriot WFM Vu Bui Thi Thanh Van 2-0 in the match for gold.
Turkey’s system of involving schoolkids in chess proved efficient once again, with their players taking gold in Open U14 – FM Ediz Gurel – and Open U10 category. The latter was no surprise as CM Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus, at his tender age, is already famous as the highest-rated 10-year-old in the world.
Can you find how Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus played here with White in the final against Vaz Ethan?
22. Rxf6! – nice and efficient.
Kudos to Gunawardhana Devindya Oshini from Sri Lanka winning Girls U10 category and WFM Zsoka Gaal, bringing Hungary gold in Girls U14.
Our congratulations to the front runners!
The event was supported by SOCAR, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic.
You can find the results, regulations, and other information on the official website: https://youth-worldcup.fide.com/