2015 Russian Youth Team continues tradition

by Albert Silver
8/11/2015 – Although the higher echelons of chess are certainly more cosmopolitan nowadays, Russia still has a clear edge when it comes to breeding grandmasters faster than rabbits. This is very much due to the heavy investment in youth programs such as the all-Russian Youth Team championships, which included master classes by Alexander Nikitin, Garry Kasparov's former trainer.

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It goes without saying that suggesting all young Russian players are turning into grandmasters would be an absurd distortion of the truth, but there is also no question that no nation in the world comes even close to their numbers. The reason is a combination of tradition and conditions.

Russia's longstanding tradition may not be quite as intense as yesteryear, but it still shines

Young competitors

By conditions, we are not talking about the singularly focused development in special schools as during the Soviet years, but simply a huge pool of strong players that allow them to constantly sharpen their skills against and thus grow. The Russian Youth Team championship, with youth of all ages, shows the full gamut of ratings, from a modest 1549 on the lower end, all the way to 2564 by 17-year-old GM Grigoriy Oparin, and all the shades in between.

Top ten teams

Naturally, it was not only about competing, but about learning. Here, Alexander Nikitin, gives
a lecture to the participants. Nikitin was the longtime trainer of Garry Kasparov, from when he
was but a boy until after he became World Champion. Credentials don't get any better.

It was to a rapt audience that he spoke

The official poster of the event with the schedule as well. The
standard team competition ran for nine days from 1-9 August,
after which the Rapid and Blitz championships took place.

GM Grigoriy Oparin (2564) was the highest rated player

Third place was SDYUSSHOR Hilti-1, coached by V.Loginov

In second place came "Youth of Moscow - 1", who fielded top-seed Grigoriy Oparin. The coach
was E.Reshetnikov.

First place was "Peter Rook - 1", second-seed, who also became Russian Champions in the
process. In the picture G.Nagibin, the official representative of the RCF, congratulates V.Chernyak.

The coach of the champions was D. Evseev

Winner of the prize for best female was Anna Styazkhina (2262) who
scored 8.5/9 and a superb 2485 performance

The best male player was Kirill Alekseenko (2540), who scored 7.5/9
including a crucial win over top-seed Oparin (2569) in round seven.
His final score was worth a 2629 performance.

Photos by Sergey Bystrov

Final standings

1 2 SPbRDOO "Peter Rook" -1 6 3 0 25.0
2 1 SSHOR "Youth of Moscow" -1 7 0 2 24.5
3 3 SDYUSSHOR Hilti-1 5 3 1 23.5
4 4 SSHOR "Youth of Moscow" -2 6 0 3 21.5
5 12 GBUDO "SOSDYUSSHOR Chess" Saratov 3 3 3 20.5
6 8 Republic of Crimea 5 2 2 20.0
7 11 SSHOR "Youth of Moscow" -3 5 2 2 20.0
8 14 MBOU DOD Youth №10 Kostroma 4 3 2 20.0
9 13 MBOU DOD "Youth chess" Izhevsk 5 1 3 19.5
10 5 "Palace-1" (Youth №3 Moscow) 4 3 2 19.0


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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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