Arik Braun, Harika lead in Junior World Championship

8/14/2008 – This event in Gaziantep, Turkey, has become very exciting, with two clear leaders two rounds before the end. German IM Arik Braun is being chased by GMs Howell, Safarli, Rodshtein, Negi and others. In the girls' section India's Harika Dronavalli is half a point ahead of Ukrainian Mariya Muzychuk. Anything can happen in the final rounds. Giant pictorial report by Özgür Akman.

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The World Junior Championship is being held in Gaziantep, located at the Syrian border. It is the sixth largest city in Turkey, populated by around 1,560,000 which puts it at number one in Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Region. It is one of the major economic centers in Turkey. There are two central districts within the Centrum, Sahinbey and Sehitkamil. The municipality of Sehitkamil hosts and sponsors the 2008 World Junior Championship.

Diary of the World Junior Championship

By Özgür Akman

The World Junior Championship is taking place in Gaziantep from 2 to 16 August with a very strong and youthful field with 195 players from 60 countries. The course of the tournament is somewhat repetitive, but with different characters each and every day. In the World Junior Championship it is almost impossible to defend the lead for more then one round, as you will see from the wrap-ups below. Since we haven’t reported for a while maybe it would be nice to do some round-by-round summaries.

Round 5

David Howell was the one to halt the Azerbaijani grandmaster Eltaj Safarli’s perfect score, while Chao Li won against Ante Brkic to catch up with the young British player. The two players shared the first place with 4.5 out of 5.

In the Girls’ Championship, the early leader Tatev Abrahamyan from the United States drew with Harika Dronavalli and secured her half-point lead since all the other top boards shared the full point as well.


Birthday girl Turkan Mamedyarova. Turkan is the youngest member of the Mamedyarov clan

Round 6

In the clash of two Asian grandmasters Chao Li won against Le Quang to take the sole lead with 5.5 points out of 6. He is followed by David Howell, who managed to hold against the Chinese super girl Hou Yifan, while Arik Braun defeated the Belarussian international master Kirill Stupak to share the second place with Howell.

Round 7

The seventh round was the final one before the disco party and the free day. You would be justified to think that fatigue would show itself as a factor, and there might be less fighting chess. That was not the case and the hale youngsters forced each other to many exciting games. This round produced a brand new joint leader, Arik Braun from Germany, who won against Chao Li. David Howell stopped Costa Rican grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez’s march from behind to the top.


WFM Adriana Nikolova, 2242, of Bulgaria

In the Girls’ section, Harika Dronavalli took the lead thanks to her win against Guliskan Nakhbayeva from Kazakhstan. Harika has an almost perfect 6.5 points out of 7, followed by Mariya Muzychuk, who drew with Miranda Mikadze and Adriana Nikolova who won a nice game against Ivakhinova in a Sicilian with a sacrifice on b5.

Round 8

Chao Li did not give up his campaign for the top spot and in a thrilling marathon which lasted over six hours and 15 minutes he ground down David Howell. In a very complex queen, rook , bishop vs. queen, rook, knight endgame with several pawns, Chao Li risked losing but managed to win in continuous zeitnot. Arik Braun drew Eltaj Safarli after a more or less balanced game. After round 8, Chao Li and Arik Braun share the first place followed by David Howell, Eltaj Safarli, Hou Yifan, Ivan Popov and Maxim Rodshtein.


GM Maxim Rodshtein, rated 2605, from Israel

In the Girls’ section Harika Dronavalli secured her lead after a victory over Adriana Nikolova and has 7 points. Mariya Muzychuk beat Kübra Öztürk, the great hope of the hosting country. After round 8, Harika had 7 points and was being chased by Mariya Muzychuk, just half a point behind. Third place was shared by Miranda Mikadze, Guliskan Nakhbayeva, and Swaminathan Soumya.

Round 9

In Round 9 of the World Junior Championship, the fighting spirit of the youngsters continued and the leader changed hands again. Maxim Rodshtein crowned his comeback with a victory over one of the joint leaders Chao Li. However, the new sole leader is Arik Braun who scored a vital win against Hou Yifan with the white pieces. David Howell, the player who always has the longest and most thrilling games, defeated Ivan Popov. Arik Braun leads with 7.5 points followed by David Howell with 7, while the next places go to Chao Li, Eltaj Safarli and Wesley So.


China's top junior talents Chao Li and Hou Yifan (background)

Disco Party

After Round 7 with intense fight, the players relaxed with the disco party at the nearby Grand Hotel. At first there was nobody there except the organizers and some Turkish males. But the party started to catch fire after midnight.

Free Day Impressions

On the free day there was an excursion organized by the Şehitkamil Municipality. The first destination of the excursion during the free day was the Citadel of Gaziantep. As opposed to many castles and citadels, the actual history is not well-known. However, it is supposed to be built on sites which are prehistoric (6000 year ago). It was mainly used during the Roman time and revised during the Byzantine rule. Dulkarir and Ottomans also used the castle occasionally as a keeper. There are many archeological artifacts found inside the citadel and the inspections still continue together with the ongoing restoration.

According to a myth the citadel was built by a rich woman who met a funeral one day when she was walking in the street. She asked her servant to find out what the funeral was. The servant replied "Your majesty, people die and are carried in coffins to the place where they are going to be buried under the soil. There is a dead human being inside the coffin..." The woman turns back to the citadel and the called the builders to say "I have never thought of death. Leave the citadel, you may not finish building it". However, the story of the citadel historically is far from being clear.


Hou Yifan and her mother at the Citadel


Turkey is the third largest pistachio producer in the world after Iran and – the United States. Most of Turkey's fresh pistachios come from Gaziantep. They are a magnet for many players.


WFM Marsel Efroimski of Israel listens to Turkish music played on the gramophone


The Gaziantep Medusa Glass Arts Museum displays glass blowing and sufflation

In the Gaziantep Archeology Museum we had a chance to see the mosaics from the huge city of Zeugma which was built at the times of the Emperor Alexander the Great. In 1999 the museum staff uncovered a Gypsy Girl Mosaic, which has become one of the emblems of the city.


WFM Adriana Nikolova with the mosaics. Adriana lives in Sofia, Bulgaria and is a student of the Chess Department at the Sofia University Sports Academy led by Radoslav Atanasov.

Boys (open section) – standings after 11 rounds

Rank
SNo. Title Name Rtg FED
Pts
Fide
1
23 IM BRAUN Arik 2533 GER
53½
2
14 GM HOWELL David 2561 ENG
8
52½
3
28 GM SAFARLI Eltaj 2527 AZE
8
51½
4
2 GM RODSHTEIN Maxim 2605 ISR
8
49
5
9 GM NGUYEN Ngoc Truong Son 2579 VIE
8
46½
6
19 GM GUPTA Abhijeet 2551 IND
8
46
7
26 GM NEGI Parimerjan 2529 IND
8
45½
8
11 GM SO Wesley 2577 PHI
47½
9
6 GM LI Chao B 2590 CHN
7
51½
10
16 WGM HOU Yifan 2557 CHN
7
48½
11
25 GM BRKIC Ante 2530 CRO
7
46½
12
29 IM MELKUMYAN Hrant 2507 ARM
7
45
13
17 IM KRAVTSIV Martyn 2555 UKR
7
44
14
10 GM LE QUANG Liem 2577 VIE
7
43½
24 GM RAMIREZ Alejandro 2531 CRC
7
43½
16
8 GM ZHIGALKO Sergei 2583 BLR
7
43
13 GM AMIN Bassem 2561 EGY
7
43
18
3 GM ANDREIKIN Dmitry 2604 RUS
7
42
19
36 IM BOROS Denes 2472 HUN
7
41½
20
1 GM MAMEDOV Rauf 2627 AZE
7
41


IM Arik Braun, who is leading in the World Junior Championship with 8.5 out of 11

Girls' section – standings after 11 rounds

Rank
SNo. Title Name Rtg FED
Pts
Fide
1
1 IM HARIKA Dronavalli 2461 IND
9
56
2
2 WGM MUZYCHUK Mariya 2413 UKR
54
3
18 WIM MIKADZE Miranda 2258 GEO
8
50
4
33 WFM NAKHBAYEVA Guliskhan 2170 KAZ
48½
5
10 WIM SOUMYA Swaminathan 2293 IND
44½
6
38 KAZIMOVA Narmin 2148 AZE
40
7
31 WFM OZTURK Kubra 2188 TUR
7
46
8
7 WIM GOMES Mary Ann 2316 IND
7
43
9
8 WFM SEVERIUKHINA Zoja 2300 RUS
7
42
10
4 WGM NEMCOVA Katerina 2372 CZE
7
40½
11
3 WFM BODNARUK Anastasia 2394 RUS
7
37
60 ALAVI Hour Homa 1723 IRI
7
37
13
14 WFM PAIKIDZE Nazi 2277 GEO
7
36½
14
13 WFM ABRAHAMYAN Tatev 2277 USA
47½
15
23 WFM NIKOLOVA Adriana 2242 BUL
44½
16
12 WGM MAMEDJAROVA Turkan 2284 AZE
42
17
25 WIM NADIG Kruttika 2241 IND
41½
18
48 GUO Qi 2048 CHN
40
19
5 WGM FOISOR Sabina-Francesca 2337 ROU
37½
20
16 WIM POURKASHIYAN Atousa 2269 IRI
35
21
34 WFM SGIRCEA Silvia-Raluca 2167 ROU
32½


IM Harika Dronavalli, rated 2461, from India


Close behind: WGM Mariya Muzychuk, 2413, from Ukraine

Links

A selection of games is being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.


General pictorial impressions from the World Junior

 
GM Chao Li, 2590, one of the major contenders for the title


Penholder grip: Chao Li is great at other games as well


Russian grandmaster Dmitry Andreikin, 2604, who shared 3-4.places last year


GM Ivan Popov, 2549, runner-up in the last edition of World Junior Championship and winner of U18 World Junior Chess Championship which was held in Kemer, Turkey in 2007.


Alejandro Ramirez, the first ever GM of Costa Rica


A Latin American grandmaster summit before the round, with Manuel Leon Hoyos, Eduardo Iturrizaga and Alejandro Ramirez


Georgian players Tornike Sanikidze, Nodar Lokrtkipanidze protesting the conflict


Miranda Mikadze of Georgia pleading for the cessation of the war


Turkish WFM Kübra Öztürk, 2180, is doing well and looking for a WGM norm


Another Turkish talent: WIM Betül Cemre Yildiz, rated 2236


WFM Marsel Efroimski from Israel, former World Under-12 Champion
Kazakh participants Gulmira Dauletova and Guliskan Nakhbayeva


WIM Gulmira Dauletova, 2267 is a student of International Relations and lives in Shymkent


German WFM Sarah Hoolt, 2298, learned how to play chess from her mother. She studies Business Administration at the University of Essen, Germany. Sarah also likes volleyball and plays the oboe.


Tina Bukovec from Slovenia, rated 1929


WIM Atousa Pourkashiyan (2269) from Iran, who won the 2008 national Champion for Women. She is a student of Physical Education and Sport Sciences in Tehran University.


WFM Akter Shamima (2099) from Bangladesh


WIM Katerina Nemcova (2372) hails from Czech Republic and is a student of a nursing school in Prague


WFM Sona Pertlova, 2217 from the Czech Republic


Marie Boyarchenko from Luxemburg


WGM Anya Corke from Hong Kong


Preethi Rajkumar of India


Joanna Majdan, 2323, the Polish junior girls champion

Joanna already had many national medals, with a bronze medal at the U18 Girls World Junior Championship in Belfort 2005. In 2006, she won her first junior national title, represented her country in the Olympiads at Turin, scoring the best individual result for her team. She was also runner-up in the Polish Championship for Women. She is a student in Koszalin University of Technology.


GM Parimarjan Negi, 2529, 15-year old chess prodigy, the second youngest ever to become a grandmaster, one of the numerous stars of India


FM Homayoon Toufighi, 2425, hails from Iran


Group photo: Fatih Ekinci, one of the masterminds of this organization, the Vice-Mayor of Şehitkamil Municipality Bekir Öztekin, the Honorary President of FIDE Florencio Campomannes, FIDE Continental President of Americas Jorge Vega and Nuri Öcal, Youth and Sports Director of Gaziantep.

All pictures by Özgür Akman


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