Chess stars of the Baltic Sea region

by ChessBase
10/22/2005 – The International Youth Team championship of the Baltic Sea Countries in Narva, Estonia, saw 60 champions of the region playing in six teams – from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and Estonian. There were ten players per team, from 10 to 18 years in age. Read all about it in Valery Golubenko's illustrated report.

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Stars of the Baltic Sea

Narva, Estonia, 6th – 9th October 2005

By Valery Golubenko,

The idea is not revolutionary, we know the so-called Mitropa Cup, the Scandinavian Chess Tournament, the Championships of Nordic countries, etc., where some European region is involved. Now it’s a youth championship of the East-country. You’ll not find such country on the map; it’s a common name for states of the Baltic Sea: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Denmark.

Map of the Baltic Countries

The event was organized by the local government of Narva, city at the Russian-Estonian border, and was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of local chess club Maletaht (Chess Star from Estonian) and dedicated to the 90th anniversary from the birth of Paul Keres in Jan 1916. The first tournament was represented by girls and boys, national champions in the standard age categories 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18, of five countries: Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia (Saint-Petersburg) and Estonia. The chess club of Narva was represented by a separate select team.

Map of Estonia. The city of Narva is on the top right

As to other countries of the Baltic Sea region, Finland refused to participate, citing an absence of youth championships in the country. It’s some strange that Sweden, Denmark, and Germany didn’t also come, perhaps for the following reasons: Narva is a Swedish town of the Middle Ages, the castle that served as the event venue was built by Danes in the XIII century, and Germans were the first conquerors of Estonian lands.

Narva is one of the oldest towns in this part of Europe. First mentioned in 1240, it was granted by a town status in 1345. Like many centuries ago, two unassailable fortresses – of Narva and of Russian Ivangorod – are separated by the Narova river.

View to the fortress of Ivangorod, Russia

So called “Bridge of Friendship” built in 1960 and connecting Estonia and Russian Federation. In the picture you can see the Town Hall in XVII century baroque style (panorama from the viewing point of Hermann Castle)

The Major of Narva is opening the 1st Baltic Youth Team Champ Chess Stars of Baltic Sea. “Welcome to Narva, city where the great Estonian chess player Paul Keres was born”, said Tarmo Tammisto, the Major of Narva, at the opening ceremony in the Hermann Castle.

Castle to castle. The Hermann Castle from the XIII century is the playing venue

Playing hall inside the Hermann Castle

The North East region of Estonia, where the two main cities are situated – near-border Narva and oil-shale Kohtla-Jarve (see the map above) – with just about 15% of the overall population, gave two great players to Estonia and chess history: Paul Keres and Lembit Oll. Traditionally, the young players of North-East dominate in the country, and the two main clubs (Diagonaal and Maletaht) collect more gold medals than the other three dozens Estonian clubs.

The event guru, FIDE Master and Maletaht President Leonid Peleshev, welcomes the participants

Chief Arbiter Alberts Cimins from Latvia not recommending the use of cell phones

The tournament was dedicated to Paul the Great, born in Narva 90 years ago

This event is especiall pleasant because full provisions are made for all participants (plus two coaches per a delegation), thanks to a new sponsorship agreement with Hotel Inger, the main sponsor of the championships.

Narva's golden Autumn – the Dark Garden on the Viktoria bastion

Another pleasant factor was the weather, not just an Indian Summer, but an most usual one. Autumn in Estonian is generally rainy and raw, but not this case when a fruitful idea has been successfully implemented.

The deep Blue of the Narova River – view from the Viktoria Bastion

And a flashy silver of the Baltic Sea – the Gulf of Finland

The tournament started without any big introductions – most participants know each other from European and World’s Youth Championships. The Lithuanian team took the lead, crushing the team of rest Estonia 8.5:1.5.

The game Malgorzata Wilczynska (Poland) vs Simona Limontaite (Lithuania)

Lithuanians came with all champions, Russians with all girl champions of Saint-Petersburg, Latvians with players from their capital Riga, and Poles with their club champion.

Game D.Daulyte (Lithuania) vs A.Raszkiewicz (Poland)

The host team of the Narva Club Maletaht was represented by their own champions and prize winners, as well as by two invited players: Woman FIDE Master Valentina Golubenko from neighboring Kohtla-Jarve (club Diagonaal) and Latvian vice-champion G14 Viktoria Ni.

Viktoria Ni (Maletaht) vs Viktoria Korchagina (Saint-Petersburg)

These girls and our ‘own’ Roman Jezov brought in all the points in the starting match against the Poles. Roman played brilliant combination with black against a very strong opponent, FIDE Master Tomasz Warakomski 2396, Polish champion B16:

Warakomski,Tomasz (2396) - Jezov,Roman (2086) [B43]
Stars of Baltic Sea (1), 06.10.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.Be3 Bb7 7.Bd3 Qc7 8.Qd2 Nf6 9.f3 Nc6 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 11.0-0-0 0-0-0 12.Qf2 Kb7 13.Rhe1 Bb4 14.Bd2 d5 15.e5 Nd7 16.Qh4 Bc5 17.Qf4 f6 18.exf6 e5 19.Qh4 Nxf6 20.a3 Rhe8 21.Bg5 Be7 22.Qf2 h6 23.Bh4 b4 24.axb4 Bxb4 25.Bg6 Re7 26.Re2 Bxc3 27.bxc3 Be8 28.Bxe8 Rexe8 29.Kd2 Rc8 30.Rb1+ Ka8 31.Rb3 Nd7 32.Re1 Nc5 33.Ra3 Qd6 34.Rea1 Rc6 35.Qe2 e4 36.Bf2 Kb7 37.Ra5

37...e3+! 38.Bxe3 d4! 39.cxd4 Nb3+! 40.Kd1 Nxa1 41.Rxa1 Rc3 42.Rb1+ Ka8 43.Ra1 Kb7 44.Rb1+ Kc8 0-1. [Click to replay]

The last pairing St Petersburg-Latvia ended in a hard-fought victory of our Russian neighbors (St Petersburg is less than in a hundred miles from Narva), with a score of 6:4. The champion of St Petersburg G16, Evgenia Kuzevanova, technically outplayed Woman International Grandmaster Laura Rogule, World Champion G14 of 2002. When analyzing this game it’s hard to understand where Black's mistakes were:

Kuzevanova,Evgenia (2151) - Rogule,Laura (2320) [B53]
Stars of Baltic Sea (1), 06.10.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Bg5 e6 9.0-0-0 Be7 10.Rhe1 0-0 11.Kb1 Qa5 12.Qd2 Qa6 13.Nd4 Rfd8 14.f3 b5 15.g4 b4 16.Nce2 Rab8 17.Ng3 Qb7

18.Nh5 Rdc8 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Nxf6+ gxf6 21.Qh6 Ba4 22.Nf5 exf5 23.gxf5 Bxc2+ 24.Ka1 Kh8 25.Rg1 1-0. [Click to replay]

The next playing day began with the key match between the two Estonian teams: of Narva club Maletaht and the rest of Estonia. Thanks to full points of Julia Pirovitch, Valentina Golubenko, Aleksander Virgus and Roman Jezov, Maletaht won 6:4. This time Roman Jezov outplayed the multiple champion of Estonia, Aleksandr Volodin, in a very interesting ending:

Jezov,Roman (2086) - Volodin,Aleksandr (2230) [B49]
Stars of Baltic Sea (2), 07.10.2005
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Qc7 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 Bb4 9.Na4 0-0 10.Nxc6 dxc6 11.Nb6 Rb8 12.Bf3 e5 13.Nxc8 Rfxc8 14.Qe2 b5 15.Rfd1 h6 16.g3 c5 17.Bg2 c4 18.c3 Bc5 19.Rd2 b4 20.Bxc5 Qxc5 21.cxb4 Rxb4 22.Rc1 Qb6 23.a3 Ra4 24.Rc3 Qe6 25.Qd1 Qe8 26.Qc1 Qb5 27.b3 Ra5 28.Rdc2 Kh7 29.b4 Ra4 30.Rxc4 Rxc4 31.Rxc4 Rxa3 32.Qxa3 Qxc4 33.Bf1 Qd4 34.Bxa6 Nxe4 35.Qf3 Qa1+ 36.Bf1 Ng5 37.Qe3 Qa8 38.Bg2 Qa4 39.h4 Ne6 40.Qe4+ g6 41.Qb7 Kg7 42.Bd5 Qd1+ 43.Kg2 Kf6 44.Qc6 Ke7 45.b5 Qg4 46.Bf3 Qb4 47.b6 Nc5 48.Bd5 Nd7 49.Bxf7 Qxb6 50.Qxb6 Nxb6 51.Bxg6 Kf6 52.Bd3 Nd7 53.Kf3 Nc5 54.Bc2 h5 55.Ke3 Kg7 56.Kd2 Kf6 57.Kc3 Ne6 58.Kd3 Kf5 59.Ke3+ Kf6 60.Bd1 Ng7 61.Ke4 Ke6 62.g4 hxg4 63.Bxg4+ Kf6 64.h5 Ne8 65.Kd5 Nc7+ 66.Ke4 Nb5 67.h6 Nd6+ 68.Kd5 Nf7 69.h7 Nh8.

70.Bh5 Kg5 71.Be8 Kf6 72.Kd6 Kg7 73.Kxe5 Kxh7 74.Ke6 Kg7 75.Ke7 Kg8 76.f4 Kg7 77.f5 Kg8 78.f6 Kh7 79.Kf8 Kh6 80.Kg8 Kg5 81.Kg7 Kf5 82.Bd7+ Kg5 83.Bc8 Kh5 84.Bh3 Kg5 85.Bg4 Ng6 86.f7.

Zugzwang! Black resigned. 1-0. [Click to replay]

Other matches were more hard-fought: Latvians defeated the Poles with a minimal advantage, and the team of St. Petersburg happily escaped from Lithuanians with a 5:5 draw!

The third round scheduled to the same day, could determin the tournament winner, but fortune turned back upon Russians now, who met the Poles. A win or even a draw would practically guarantee the Russians first place, due to quite an easy finish against the two Estonian teams. The match was decided in the last game between two 10-year-old girls:

Katarzyna Murawko - Anna-Maria Pavlova, 3rd round

1.Qd7 Qf7 2.Qh3 Qxd5 3.Qd7 Rh6?? 4.Qxe8# 1-0.

Whites should resign, but the game continued: 41.Qd7 Qf7 42.Qh3 Qxd5 43.Qd7 Rh6?? 44.Qxe8 mate: 1-0. And instead of a 5:5 draw the team from St Petersburg lost 4:6, thus keeping the excitement to the very end of the tournament. In other matches the Estonian squad lost to Latvia 3:7, and Maletaht to Lithuania 2:8.

Standing after three rounds: 1st Lithuania with 5 team points; 2-3 Latvia and Poland 4; 4th St Petersburg 3.5; 5th Narva 2; 6th Estonia 0. The only thing it was safe to say was that the Russian team could secure the 2nd or 3rd place, but not the first.

The team of champions from St Petersburg took the 3rd place. The left is the team chief, FIDE Master Kirill Annenkov

The next, 4th round, turned out to be the biggest problem for both teams from Estonia: they made only three draws each against St Petersburg and Latvia.

Despite ruined scores in some of the matches, all games were played out to the final chance. For instance the game between Vyatsheslav Soskov and Arvids Andrejevs ended in a draw in the following interesting position:

Soskov,Vyatsheslav (2229) - Andrejevs,Arvids (2238) [C65]
Stars of Baltic Sea (4), 08.10.2005
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bd6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nbd2 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5 9.Nc4 h6 10.g4 Nxg4 11.hxg4 Bxg4 12.Ne3 f5 13.exf5 Bxf5 14.Nxf5 Rxf5 15.Be3 Qe7 16.Nh2 e4 17.dxe4 Qxe4 18.Re1 Raf8 19.f4 R8f6 20.Qf3 Qxc2 21.Re2 Qc4 22.b3 Qf7 23.Rd1 Bxf4 24.Bxf4 Rxf4 25.Rd8+ Kh7 26.Qd3+ Qg6+ 27.Rg2 Qxd3 28.Rxd3 Rd6 29.Rgd2 Rff6 30.Kg2 Rxd3 31.Rxd3 Rd6 32.Rf3 Rd2+ 33.Rf2 Rxf2+ 34.Kxf2 Kg6 35.Nf3 Kf5 36.Nd4+ Ke5 37.Nf3+ Ke4 38.Nd2+ Kd3 39.Nc4 c5 40.Na5 b5 41.Nc6 c4 42.bxc4 bxc4 43.Nxa7 c3 44.Nc6 Kc4 45.Ke2 g5 46.Ne5+ Kb4 47.Kd3 h5 48.Nf3 g4 49.Nh4 Ka3 50.Kxc3 Kxa2 51.Kc2


In a close duel between the neighbors Lithuania and Poland, the latter won 6:4, and with 6 points caught up with the Latvians. Lithuania and St Petersburg shared 3rd place. All would be clear in the last (5th) round on Sunday, Oct 9. On the eve of final matches, all players went on a sightseeing tour of Narva and the Gulf of Finland.

In 1585 Narva became a Swedish town

Knight armors in the Castle Museum

A piece of ordnance on the fortress bastion

Replica of Swedish lion from 1700, with the dedication: “Svecia Memor” (Sweden remembers)

All three final matches turned out bloody, and supporters were kept on tenterhooks till the last game. Both Estonian teams were close to drawing, but actually lost. Eight-year-old Katrina Korban from Narva, Estonian champion G10 and the event youngest player, outplayed her 11-year-old opponent from St Petersburg.

The youngest player Katrina Korban (Maletaht) vs Henrieta Juciute (Lithuania)

Roman Jezov won his third game and demonstrated the best result among all Estonian representatives.

Roman Jezov (Maletaht) vs Dmitry Tsapko (St Petersburg)

The last in this match was the game between Valentina Golubenko and Evgenia Kuzevanova. Valentina sacrificed knight, pawn and exchange in succession to win:

Game V.Golubenko (Maletaht) - E.Kuzevanova (St Petersburg)

Golubenko,Valentina (2148) - Kuzevanova,Evgenia (2151) [D89]
Stars of Baltic Sea (5), 09.10.2005
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Be3 Qc7 11.Rc1 Rd8 12.Qa4 a6 13.Qa3 Na5 14.Bd3 b5 15.Rfd1 c4 16.Bb1 e6 17.Bf4 Qb6 18.Qe7 Ra7 19.Qh4 Rad7 20.e5 Bb7 21.Ng3 b4.

22.Bg5 The introduction 22... Rc8 23.Nh5!! gxh5 24.Bf6 Kf8 25.Qg5 Bxf6 26.exf6 Rdc7 27.d5! Bxd5 28.Rxd5! exd5 29.Re1? 29.?b1-f5!, not to delay 29... Qe6 30.Qg7 Ke8 31.Rxe6 fxe6 32.Qg8 Kd7 33.f7 Ke7 34.Bxh7 bxc3 35.Qg7 Rf8 36.Qxc3 Nc6 37.Bg6 Rcc8 38.Bxh5 Kd6 39.f4 Kc5 40.g4 d4 41.Qa3 Kd5 42.g5 d3 43.Bf3 Kd4 44.Bxc6 Rxf7 45.Qd6 Kc3 46.Kf2 Rh7 47.Qe5 Kb4 48.Qxe6 d2 49.Qd6 Kc3 50.Qa3 Kc2 51.Be4, and Blacks resigned: 1:0.

But leaders of Narva team were not supported by other members, and St Petersburg won 6.5:3.5. The Estonian team lost as well, 4.5:5.5, and with the zero point took the last place. Such a result with zero points in G18 and B14 categories cannot be considered sufficient.

In the last round the Lithuanian selection ended up in second place. The team chief is the well-known trainer and coach of Viktorija Cmilyte, Gintautas Plunge.

The winner was defined in the match Lithuania vs Latvia. The Lithuanians self-confidently won and took the 2nd place, leaving the Latvians without a prize and allowing the Poles to take first! Final standing: 1. Poland - 8; 2. Lithuania 7; 3. St Petersburg 7 (they scored less overall points); 4. Latvia 6; 5. Narva 2; 6. Estonia 0.

We are the Champions!

The event was scheduled for FIDE rating calculations. There were no reported conflicts, except one mobile phone call and several warnings delivered according to the new FIDE rule for a move record.

Arbiters: Leonid Peleshev (Estonia), Polina Ni (Latvia), Anastasia Golubenko (Estonia), Chief Arbiter IA Alberts Cimins (Latvia), and Igor Aleksejev (Estonia).

At the closing ceremony the Narva local government authorities invited all to play in the next championship. They would like to extend number of participating countries and to see in Narva next October, 2006, as well as teams from other states surrounding the Baltic Sea.

Pupils of the Narva House of Children Art created their own chessmen

The board winners:
G10 - Anna-Maria Pavlova (St Petersburg) - 4 (5);
G12 - Dominika Ostrowska 1819 (Poland) - 4;
G14 - Katrina Skinke (Latvia) 2072 - 4.5;
G16 - Deimante Daulyte 2241 (Lithuania) - 4.5;
G18 - Evgenia Kuzevanova 2151 (Saint-Petersburg) - 3.5;

B10 - Tomas Laurusas 1931 (Lithuania) - 4;
B12 - German Bazeev 2182 (St Petersburg) - 4.5;
B14 - Matas Narmontas 2222 (Lithuania) - 4.5;
B16 - Vitalijs Samolins 2284 (Latvia) - 4;
B18 - Airidas Savickas 2284 (Lithuania) - 3.

The final tables in the hall

Be good till the next Oct, 2006!

Photos by Anastasia and Valery Golubenko


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