And Now, Luba’s Results We’ve Been Waiting For!

And Now, Luba’s Results We’ve Been Waiting For!

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Hi guys!

If you’ve read my previous blog, and rooted for Liubov Shtepa, this update is for you! But first, I want to thank everyone here who made a donation, shared the blog, rooted for, and/or simply sent positive vibes Shtepa’s way! Your support was incredible! 

And now, I will pass the word to Luba’s father, Vitalii, to share with you Luba’s journey and the results:

First of all, I want to say “thank you” to everyone who helped us to join our first Canadian Youth Chess Championship! It was an amazing tournament. Luba was very happy to be a part of this great chess life. We had a very ambitious goal for this tournament – to take first place. But also, I understood that she had only half a year of essentially normal experience and we might encounter unexpected difficulties on our way. 

Luba started with 3 out of 3 points, but the games that her opponents played were not challenging enough to provide Luba with good practice for the games with stronger opponents to come. She even had to solve puzzles between the games in order to somehow prepare. And in fourth game she received the most experienced opponent, Florence Xu, the Youth Champion of 2022. Luba played white and had an amazing game until move 23 Qd1…  

I don’t know what happened, maybe she was so close to the win that she started to think about how to save an advantage (she knew that it was the main game in the tournament to reach first place) and she made a very poor move, that turned the game upside down… It wasn’t even a piece blunder, but a strong positional mistake… Before this move, the computer evaluation is about +6, and after it is -5… 

Instead of this move, Luba had two simple human continuations like 23. Qe3 and even better (as for a calm game) 23. Qd5 with a forced queen exchange… After 23. Qd1 her opponent made several good moves and won the game.

This was a tragedy for Luba. She couldn’t believe that she lost this game – the main game in her life. I tried to do my best to calm her down and it seemed to work, but looking at the next match, it wasn't enough. She lost her next game to a strong girl, Gayathri Sreekumar, vice-champion of 2022 and a participant of the World Youth Championship 2022. 

Before this match, Luba had a score of 2-0 against Gayathri, from previous tournaments. It was a game for second place, as we can see from the results... 

I think even in games 6 and 7 she wasn’t calm and had her opponents play better, she could have lost those games, but they didn’t. Game 6 was an easy trip. In game 7 Luba also had a strong opponent, a girl with the same number of points, and depending on the tie-breaks Luba had to win. (They had the same first 3 tie-breaks, but the fourth tie-breaker – the number of games with black pieces, was better for our opponent). But I think Luba’s opponent forgot something in the opening and got into a very bad position. Even in this game, Luba blundered a piece that, luckily, her opponent didn’t see. After this moment, Luba played very well and won the game that got her to third place!

On the one hand, we didn’t reach the result we wanted, but on the other hand, Luba’s opponents were much more experienced. And after a very sad loss, Luba was too confused to play her best. 

But now we know, that everything is possible and we will try to do our best to prepare for the next championship so well as to win it without any doubts! As Luba says “I will defeat everyone without any chances!”

Of course, she was happy to receive a trophy from the hands of a famous grandmaster Alexei Shirov, and she is happy that this tournament was in her life!

Thanks to all of you!

Vitalii Shtepa


Wooh, what a journey! Perhaps, had Luba won first place, it would have been all too easy. But every heroine needs to encounter an obstacle, to rise and fall, somewhere, in order to learn, grow, and become better and stronger! And with this experience now in her life, I’m certain Luba will crush her future opponents “without any chances”!

You go, girl!


Former Canadian Girls Chess Champion (1999 tied for 1st, 2001 1st place)

Busy mom of two

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