At the European Capital of Culture - Part 1

At the European Capital of Culture - Part 1

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Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia was the proud owner of this name during 2012. Many interesting activities took, and continue to take place in this beautiful town where the Drava river flows, and which is also famous for its ski resorts. But the pearl in the crown of events without any doubt (at least for us) was the WYCC which was held at the middle of November.

A huge crowd of players (I am not sure about the exact number, but around 2000) plus an approximately same number in their entourage (parents, coaches, arbiters, etc.) flooded the quiet streets of Maribor and started many interesting battles.

The friendly Slovenians did their best to please the participants and succeeded in most things. Wonderful hotels, nature, fresh air, badges for the players with which they could use public transportation for free, warm attitude and understanding from the hosts--these were the main advantages of the event. The participants also had the chance to visit some more of the interesting cities in Europe like the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, the famous chess town Bled where the 2002 Olympiad was held, as well as Vienna, the capital of Austria.

Add to this the presence of the almighty Garry Kasparov at the closing ceremony and you will know why this event was special.

When you gather together so many children and make them compete against each other there are always many interesting stories to happen. One of my students who played in the under-eight group had one of those. She played 1.e4 on the first move to see 1…Nc6 in reply. But just when the move was made her opponent started crying and explained that she meant to move first 1…c5 and only after that 2…Nc6. She even called the arbiter, explained the situation and demanded to take back the move in order to play what she meant to. When she did not receive the desired understanding the game continued 2.d4 Nc6-b8 and Black offered a draw. She did it twice more until my student who was at that time two pawns up blundered a piece with one move. The draw offers then stopped…

It will probably take a month to tell all the interesting things that happened in Maribor, and to describe all the emotions. But it is time now to have a look at the champions, those who will surely remember this championship all their lives.

The Girls under eight section was won by Motahare Asadi from Iran with impressive 10.5/11. This girl is very tough; you will hardly find any mistakes in her games despite her age.

The rating favorite in the boys ‘section, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, from Uzbekistan scored 10/11 for clear first. A sharp tactician, he played with noteworthy self-confidence and this gave him a chance to stay cool in the decisive games.

The gold in the 10 years and younger ladies went to India. N. Priyanka somewhat surprised the opposition as at her starting number was only thirty-three, but she became a champion with a spare round!

The Boys under ten section saw the most merciless participant! Vietnamese Nguyen Anh Khoi did not allow even a draw to his opponents and scored eleven wins! Further commentary is not required here…

Most challenging were the groups "under twelve". The young ladies got a princess from India again. Her name is R. Vaishali, and she managed to edge out the competition by a half point after a tough and long battle in the final round.

Even more competitive was the boys ‘section. This group had one of the largest number of participants (192) and the tie for first place of four players shows one small part of the suspense. While the kids were playing blitz in the foyer long after the end of the last game one could see parents praying for the tiebreaks to work out in their favor.

Prayers were heard for USA and Samuel Sevian took home the most precious medal.

I suggest now that you try your tactics with games of the young world champs:

(To be continued)

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