Play chess, visit exotic places, make new friends, maybe become a world champion.
Children who play chess almost certainly learn practical skills, but some of the better players compete abroad and meet children from other countries.
A group of 33 American children got such a chance when they played at the World Youth Championships in Antalya, Turkey, which ended Wednesday. There were more than 1,400 participants from 91 countries.
The tournament was in six age groups — under-8 to under-18, by two-year increments — each with sections for boys and girls. There were some good players, including three grandmasters.
One of the bigger names was 11-year-old Illya Nyzhnyk of Ukraine in the boys’ under-12 section. Earlier this year, he set the chess world abuzz when he finished ahead of some international masters and won the B section of the Moscow Open with a score of 8 ½ out of 9.
Naturally, in Turkey, Illya was the top-seeded player in his group. But he did not win.
He tied for first with Daniel Naroditsky, 12, of Foster City, Calif., each with 9 ½ out of 11. On tie-breaks, Daniel, ranked 13th in the event, took the under-12 title and acquired the rank of master.
In the penultimate round, Daniel beat Gene Nakauchi of Australia.
The opening was a hybrid between a closed Sicilian and a Reti.
Daniel’s 7 Nbd2 set up the King’s Indian attack formation, a favorite of Bobby Fischer. The usual idea is for White to build up an attack on the kingside while trying to limit Black’s counterplay on the queenside.
Perhaps Gene should have tried 14 ... fe 15 de Rf4 16 Nf5 Rf5 17 ef Bf5, when he would have had two pawns and a knight for the rook and his king would have been safe.
After 17 Ng1, Gene could have tried 17 ... fe 18 de d5 19 f5 gf 20 ed Nd5 21 Nd5 Bd5 22 Bh6 Bg2 23 Qg2 Qc6 24 Qc6 Nc6 25 Bg7 Kg7, when Black is fine.
Gene’s 26 ... d4 was strategically misguided as it allowed Daniel to shut down Black’s counterplay with 27 b3. He could have tried 26 ... Qa4 27 Ne3 Qa2 28 b3 a4 29 Ra1 Qb2 30 Rgb1 Qd4 31 Nd1 Be5 32 fe f4 33 Qf2 Qe5, with a complicated position.
With 33 h5, White found the breakthrough he was looking for, although Black was not lost. After 33 ... gh 34 Qh4, he should have played 34 ... Rdf8. Instead, 34 ... Rd7 allowed White’s pieces to pour in.
Gene could have prolonged the game a bit with 39 ... Bg8, but after 40 ed he was lost, so perhaps he decided that being mated was preferable.