Canberra Times, May 13

When Australian Junior Champion, Zhao Zong Yuan, returned to the country of his birth in February, he was hoping to benefit from the coaching system which has turned China into Asia's chess powerhouse.

14-year-old Zhao has taken a year away from school to work on his chess and came to China after being accepted as a student in the Tianjing training squad.

However upon arrival in Tianjing Zhao discovered that the squad was little more than a group of children reading chess books and playing a few games together.

After a short period suffering from a severe deficit of coaching, edible food and hot water, Zhao headed to Beijing, where the national junior squad had their headquarters.

The chess, go and Chinese chess centre in Beijing where the squad met was not open to the public but Zhao was admitted when one of the administrators recognised him as the player who had given a simultaneous exhibition during the Sydney Olympics.

Zhao was accepted into the centre and permitted to play training games against various top Chinese juniors, including Xu Yuan Yuan, the World U/20 Girls' Champion.

Unfortunately for Zhao, when it became clear that he might be a serious threat to the Chinese juniors, the powers that be made it clear that a player with Australian citizenship could not be allowed to continue to attend the chess centre.

Zhao returned to Australia baffled as to the method behind the Chinese training system.

"They had no systematic coaching," Zhao said. "It was all about self-discipline, talent and luck. [The students] have a lot of chess books and magazines and spend all day going through [them]. I couldn't really see how the kids were improving, as they just studied by themselves."

Zhao, who lives in the chess backwater of Coffs Harbour, has taken enormous strides through working alone, but probably only geniuses such as Fischer can become world class without outside help.

Curiously, the head of the chess centre, GM Ye Jiangchuan, made his name as one of World Women's Champions Xie Jun's trainers and would be an ideal coach for the new generation of Chinese juniors.

However while it remains every child for him or herself in Beijing, China appears unlikely to produce a player to challenge Anand or Kramnik in the near future.

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Beijing Training Game 2001 
White Zhao Zong Yuan 
Black: Wu Kai Yu 
Opening: Irregular

1.e4 Nc6 2.Bb5!

An underrated move which tries to exploit the fact that White's knight is not yet on f3. White is planning to meet 2...e5 with 3.f4 and after 2...Nd4 3.Bc4 White will gian back the lost time after a later c3.

2...Nf6 3.Nc3 a6?! 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.f4 e6 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.d3!

7.d4 Bb4 would offer Black counterplay. Now the game becomes a manoeuvre-fest where Black never manages to solve the problem of his light-squared bishop.

7...0-0 8.Qe2 b5 9.Be3 Be7 10.Ne5 Bb7 11.Qf2 Bd6 12.0-0 Ne8 13.Nf3 f6 14.Bc5 Qe7 15.b4 e5 16.f5 Kh8 17.Nd2 a5 18.a3 a4 19.Nf3 Rd8 20.Rad1 Bc8 21.Ne2 Qf7

If 21...Bxc5 22.bxc5 and a White knight will eventually reach the b4 square.

22.Nc1 g6 23.g4 Ng7 24.Kh1 h5?

A blunder, but sooner or later Black will be rolled on the kingside.

25.Nh4 1-0

The ACT scored a surprise victory over WA in the Dorothy Dibley Shield match last weekend. With the ACT's star Laura Moylan well held by Natalie Taylor, the rest of the team strung together enough points for a 5.5-4.5 win.