Sun-Herald, November 4
A 14-strong group of Australian juniors completed their assault on the
World Age Championships yesterday, with decidedly mixed results.
In the absence of many of Australia's star juniors, including International Masters David Smerdon and Laura Moylan completing their final year of school, the only player expected to challenge for a medal was Coffs Harbour's 15-year-old IM Zhao Zong Yuan.
The World Age Championships have become increasingly professional, with teenage Grandmasters fighting for the Under 18 title and a weak 'tail' present only in the under 10 divisions.
Even in the pre-teen sections, the winners are often full-time chessplayers.
Zhao was seeded 12th in the Under 16 division and performed respectably, with poor finishing costing him a possible top 5 finish. (The game given below was a typical exciting Zhao game which nonetheless ended indecisively.)
While most of the Australians were struggling to score more than 4 points from their 11 games, Sydney's Heather Huddleston was the surprise packet, redeeming a dismal performance in the 2000 Age Championships with a mature performance in the Girls' Under 12 division.
Huddleston was undefeated in the middle 9 rounds but a last round lost cost her a high placing.
Another Sydney player, Justin Tan, became the third Australian to beat 50% in Spain, repeating his 2000 result of 6/11 in the U/18 event, this time against a much stronger field.
J.Borisek - Zhao Zong Yuan
Oropesa del Mar
A trendy anti-Dragon variation, but Zhao had analysed this line extensively during recent training sessions in Hungary.
25.Qh2!? leads to a draw after 25...Bxc2+ 26.Kc1 Nh5! 27.Bxg7 Rxb2 28.Rxh5 Bxa4 29.Rh8+ Kxg7 30.Rh7+ Kg8 31.Rh8+ Kg7
Diagram. This should lose. 27.Nd5 Nh5 28.Nxe7+ Kf8 29.Nxg6+ fxg6 30.Qxd6+ Kg8 is equal.
27...Nxe4 28.Rh8+! was White's big hope but 27...Nh7! 28.Qe3 Bxc3 was simple and winning.
Now Zhao must scramble to force a draw, something the Australian manages with aplomb.
World Age Championships Oropesa del Mar, Spain
U/18 Open (11 rounds, 83 players)
1.Jakovenko (Rus) 9;
...=27.Tan (Aus) 6.
U/18 Girls (11 rounds, 55 players) 1.Gvetadze (Geo) 10.
U/16 Open (11 rounds, 102 players) 1.Shanava (Geo) 8.5; ...=9. Zhao (Aus) 7; ...101. S.Stojic(Aus) 2.5.
U/16 Girls (11 rounds, 76 players) 1.Dzagnidze (Geo) 9; ...=73. S.Oliver (Aus) 3.
U/14 Open (11 rounds, 106 players) 1.Erdos (Hun) 9; ...=84. G.Oliver (Aus) 4.
U/14 Girls (11 rounds, 79 players) 1.Melia (Geo) 9.5; =64. Richter (Aus) 4. U/12 Open (11 rounds, 117 players) 1.Karyakin (Ukr) 8.5; =95. D.Stojic 4.
U/12 Girls (11 rounds 78 players) 1.Shen Yang (Chn) 9; =24.Huddleston (Aus) 6; =52.Evans (Aus) 4.5.
U/10 Open (11 rounds, 87 players) 1eq. Fodor (Hun), Le Quang Liem (Vie), Narmontas (Ltu) 8.5; =47. Khoi Hoang (Aus) 5.
U/10 Girls (11 rounds 70 players) 1.Tan Zhongyi (Chn) 10; =38.Soltysik (Aus) 5; =48.Ziffer (Aus) 4.5; =54.Lauder (Aus), T.Oliver (Aus) 4.