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Interview with the World Junior Champion 2009

11/12/2009 – On November 4th the World Junior Championship in Patagonia, Argentina, ended, with a final-round surge by the French participant (and top seed) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, who caught his main rival, Sergei Zhigalko from Belarus, to take the title. Maxime has given us an exclusive English language interviews, while we use the opportunity to take a nostalgic look back at past events.
 

World Junior Chess Championships 2009 in Patagonia


The winners of the 2009 World Junior Championship: Sergei Zhigalko, Silver,
Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Gold, and Michal Olszewski, Bronze

Final top rankings

Rk.

Title

Name

FED

Rtg

Pts.

 TB1 

 TB2 

Perf.

1

GM

Vachier-Lagrave Maxime

FRA

2718

10.5

30764

74.5

2799

2

GM

Zhigalko Sergei

BLR

2646

10.5

30663

75.5

2787

3

GM

Olszewski Michal

POL

2544

9.0

30456

64.5

2661

4

GM

Popov Ivan

RUS

2582

9.0

30351

64.0

2653

5

IM

Lenderman Alex

USA

2542

9.0

29713

61.0

2598

6

GM

Andreikin Dmitry

RUS

2659

8.5

30700

63.5

2653

7

GM

Yu Yangyi

CHN

2509

8.5

30445

62.5

2618

8

GM

Grigoryan Avetik

ARM

2515

8.5

30221

62.5

2604

9

IM

Margvelashvili Giorgi

GEO

2509

8.5

30209

63.0

2594


Mathilde Congiu, Cedric Paci, Arnaud Hauchard, Clement Houriez, Max, Fiona Steil Antoni


Arnaud Hauchard, wearing the provocative vodka T-shirt, is the coach of Maxime


Back in Paris Maxime speaks with Robert Fontaine about his career and success


An exclusive interview with the winner, by GM Robert Fontaine of Europe Echecs


For those of you who speek zee French language, here's a native version


Looking back

During the Junior World Championship 2009 we spoke to some of the former contenders and reminisced about past tournaments and winners. Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short were our main interlocutors – both had played in the 1980 Junior World Championship in Dortmund, Germany. Also present at the time was John Nunn, who was there as the second of Nigel. John never played in the World Junior himself, having occupied himself with the study of mathematics at Oriel College in Oxford – at the age of fifteen, as Oxford's youngest undergraduate since Thomas Wolsey. Garry won Dortmund, with a 10.5/13 score, Silver went to Nigel, who scored 9.0/13.


The Silver and Gold medal winners in Dortmund 1980, Short and Kasparov

On a personal note I would like to mention that Dortmund 1980 was where I got to know Garry Kimovich and John Jamesovich. My very first encounter with the former was when the 17-year-old approached me in the hotel lobby and uttered the memorable words: "Five to three, draw you win, five dollars a game?" He had cleaned out all the top players in Dortmund, including the accompanying grandmasters, and was looking for fresh blood. His offer was blitz games, five minutes for me, three for him, with a draw counting as a win for me. I told him I knew who he was and that I wasn't that stupid. John introduced me in Dortmund to chess problems and puzzles, and to hard-core science fiction books.

Today Garry reminds me that at the time an additional bonus for winning the tournament was that one was awarded the title of International Master. Most of the competitors did not have it, while today, in Argentina, there are – the 1980 winner counts them with a sigh – at least 14 GMs taking part, six rated over 2600 and one, Maxime Vachier, over 2700. Back in 1980 there were less than twenty "Super-GMs", which at the time meant players rated over 2600. At the Junior World Championship in Dortmund Garry was rated 2595, Nigel 2360.

In Dortmund John and Nigel had blundered already before the first round of the event. The pairings at the time were conducted by the order in which the players checked into the hotel, which the Brits did not know. Nigel checked in immediately after the Yugoslav player and so got a very strong opponent in the first round. Bad prep, guys.

John also remembers how Nigel had played some blitz against Garry, and was duly beaten. "Afterwards we looked up the lines in the ECO," says John, "which at the time was the ultimate compilation of openings knowledge in chess. All the lines Kasparov had played were in there. We came to the conclusion that he had learnt the whole thing by heart!" During the tournament in one game Nigel hung a rook, which the opponent did not see. Here with apologies to Nigel is the game:

Karolyi,Tibor Jr - Short,Nigel D (2360) [B07]
Wch U20 Dortmund (12), 1980
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bd3 0-0 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Nh5 10.Na3 e5 11.dxe5 dxe5 12.Bb5 Qf6 13.Bxe5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.Qxh5 Qxe4 16.Rfe1 Qf4 17.Qe2 c6 18.Bd3 Be6 19.g3 Qf6 20.Nc2 Rfe8 21.Qe4 Kf8 22.Qh7 Bh3 23.Nd4 Rad8 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Nf5 Re5 26.Nxg7 Qxg7 27.Qxg7+ Kxg7 28.Rd1 Bg4 29.Rd2 Be6 30.c4 Re1+ 31.Kg2 Rc1 32.b3 a5 33.Rc2 Rd1 34.Be2 Rb1 35.Kf3 Kf6 36.Bd3 Ke5??

37.Ke3?? 37.Re2 would have won the rook on b1. 37...g4 38.Be2 c5 39.Rd2 b6 40.Rd8 Rb2 41.Rb8 Rxa2 42.Rxb6 a4 43.bxa4 Ra3+ 44.Kd2 Rxa4 45.Rb8 Ra2+ 46.Ke3 Ra3+ 47.Kd2 Ke4 48.Rh8 Ra2+ 49.Ke1 Kd4 50.Rxh6 Kc3 51.f3 gxf3 52.Bxf3 Kxc4 53.h4 Kd4 54.Bd1 c4 55.Rf6 c3 56.Rf2 Ra1 57.Rf4+ Kd3 0-1. "That was the day," says John, "that I discovered the first grey hair on my head."

Frederic Friedel

All Junior World Champions

No. Year Venue Winner Nation
 1 1951 Coventry/Birmingham   Ivkov, Borislav  Yugoslavia
 2 1953 Copenhagen Panno, Oscar  Argentina
 3 1955 Antwerp Spassky, Boris  Soviet Union
 4 1957 Toronto Lombardy, William  United States
 5 1959 Münchenstein Bielicki, Carlos  Argentina
 6 1961 The Hague Parma, Bruno  Yugoslavia
 7 1963 Vrnjacka Banja Gheorghiu, Florin  Romania
 8 1965 Barcelona Kurajica, Bojan  Yugoslavia
 9 1967 Jerusalem Kaplan, Julio  Puerto Rico
10 1969 Stockholm Karpov, Anatoly  Soviet Union
11 1971 Athens Hug, Werner  Switzerland
12 1973 Teesside Beliavsky, Alexander  Soviet Union
13 1974 Manila Miles, Anthony  England
14 1975 Tjentiste Chekhov, Valery  Soviet Union
15 1976 Groningen Diesen, Mark  United States
16 1977 Innsbruck Yusupov, Artur  Soviet Union
17 1978 Graz Dolmatov, Sergey  Soviet Union
18 1979 Skien Seirawan, Yasser  United States
19 1980 Dortmund Kasparov, Garry  Soviet Union
20 1981 Mexico City Cvitan, Ognjen  Yugoslavia
21 1982 Copenhagen Sokolov, Andrei  Soviet Union
22 1983 Belfort Georgiev, Kiril  Bulgaria
23 1984 Kiljava Hansen, Curt  Denmark
24 1985 Sharjah Dlugy, Maxim  United States
25 1986 Gausdal Arencibia, Walter  Cuba
26 1987 Baguio Anand, Viswanathan  India
27 1988 Adelaide Lautier, Joel  France
28 1989 Tunja Spasov, Vasil  Bulgaria
29 1990 Santiago Gurevich, Ilya  United States
30 1991 Mamaja Akopian, Vladimir  Armenia
31 1992 Buenos Aires Zarnicki, Pablo  Argentina
32 1993 Kozhikode Miladinovic, Igor  Yugoslavia
33 1994 Caiobá Grétarsson, Helgi  Iceland
34 1995 Halle Slobodjan, Roman  Germany
35 1996 Medellín Sutovsky, Emil  Israel
36 1997 Zagan Shaked, Tal  United States
37 1998 Kozhikode Sadvakasov, Darmen  Kazakhstan
38 1999 Yerevan Galkin, Alexander  Russia
39 2000 Yerevan Bruzón, Lázaro  Cuba
40 2001 Athens Acs, Peter  Hungary
41 2002 Goa Aronian, Levon  Armenia
42 2003 Nakhchivan Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  Azerbaijan
43 2004 Kochi Harikrishna, Pentala  India
44 2005 Istanbul Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar  Azerbaijan
45 2006 Yerevan Andriasian, Zaven  Armenia
46 2007 Yerevan Adly, Ahmed  Egypt
47 2008 Gaziantep Gupta, Abhijeet  India
48 2009 Puerto Madryn Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime    France

ChessBase reports on the World Junior in Patagonia

World Junior Chess Championships 2009 in Patagonia
30.10.2009 – Puerto Madryn is a city on the east coast of southern Argentina, in a geographical region known as Patagonia. In this remote place, where right whales and dolphins congregate, 84 of the most talented young players – under twenty years old – are playing for a prestigeous title. The girls's section has 45 contestants. The official web site is unfortunately comprimised, but we have results and games.

Zhigalko leads World Junior in Patagonia
02.11.2009 – Top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, rated 2718, is josting for top place with third seed Sergei Zhigalko of Belarus, rated 2646. In round nine both won their games and were equal first, in round ten Vachier played a quick draw, while Zhigalko won again to take the sole lead. No pictures of the chess action in Puerto Madryn, but we have received some very nice shots of whales.

Vachier-Lagrave, Soumya win World Junior
04.11.2009 – It was a very fateful final day at the World Junior in Argentina. French GM and top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave worked hard to win his final game and catch the leading Sergei Zhigalko from Belarus to take Gold and the title on tiebreak. In the women's section there was even greater drama. One player missed a special $33,000 prize by a few tiebreak points. Final round report.

World Junior Championship – Impressions from Patagonia
05.11.2009 – This event, which ended on Tuesday, brought us lively games and a dramatic finish. But being staged in a remote place at the other end of the world there was a dearth of pictorial material. Which was a shame, since the venue, the southern end of South America, is scenically beautiful. Well, thank heavens for Åse Østebø, captain of the Norwegian squad. She has sent us this spectacular report.

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