Local boy leads World Junior in Azerbaijan

6/30/2003 – Azerbaijan just keeps churning them out. Kasparov, Sutovsky, Radjabov you know. How about Mamedyarov, Guseinov, and Gashimov? You'll know them soon enough. The first on that list is currently leading the World Junior in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan. He and his compatriots are getting strong competition from the powerful Indian contingent as well as the usual suspects from Russia and Ukraine. Standings and games here.

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Mamedyarov keeps the lead in Nakhchivan

2003 World Junior Championship
Official site

Many people noticed something odd about the Azerbaijani Junior Olympiad team in Bled last year. The first thing you noticed was that there is no such thing as the Azerbaijani Junior Olympiad team. It was the regular Olympiad team and it had the average age of the crowd at an N'Sync concert.

Led by Teimour Radjabov, the team of teens had a credible result in Bled and now half of them are playing on home turf in the World Junior Championship in the ancient city of Nakhchivan. (Radjabov has moved on to the supertournament tour.)

Several of these youngsters are maintaining rating growth charts that are still almost completely vertical. With the handy "Elo Profile" function in ChessBase 8 we get terrifying graphs like these from the Azerbaijanis. In another year the country with a population of around eight million could have four players in the top 100 all under 20 years old.

The local players aren't helping each other too much so far. Mamedyarov took first in a battle of top seeds by beating Gashimov. (Vugar, not his older brother Sarkhan, who is also playing.) In the 10th round Gashimov is paired with another teammate, Mamedov. The top board is Mamedyarov-Harikrishna.

Speaking of Harikrishna, India is another country with considerable junior achievements and they also have an aggressive national program to promote their young talents. They have several contenders in this year's event in Harikrishna and Ganguly.

There are still four rounds to go with the 13th and final round taking place on July 3. Below are a few round nine highlights.

The Belorussian Azarov was already up the exchange against Poland's Dziuba. Then another combination allowed him to simplify and open the central files for his rooks.

The point here is that White can't play 1.Rxd5 because 1...Rxe3! wins the farm. If 2.Qxe3 Qe1+ 3.Bf1 Qxe3.

White suffered on with 1.Bf2 but didn't have nearly enough compensation after 1...Qe7 (..Qg5) 2.Bxa6 Qe4.
 

 

Here we see a favorite, Izoria of Georgia, going down under pressure with Black.

White is the Ukrainian Alexander Zubov. (Apparently not Oleg as was given in the game file.) Izoria was crushed immediately after 1...fxg6? 2.Bxf6+ exf6 3.Rxg6+! and Black resigned as 3...Kxg6 4.e5+ wins the black queen minding her own business over on b7.

Junior 8 finds a typically no-blooded computer defense with 1...Bxh4 2.Kg1 fxg6 3.Rxg6+ Kf7 and Black has good survival chances after 4.Rg2 Rcg8.
 

 

Round nine was a good day for the Indian contingent. Ganguly proved that the Berlin Defense isn't invincible, especially when you get a little help from your opponent.

Black, the German Kritz, has a choice of pawns to take. He played 1...Bxh3? As the saying goes, "he chose.... poorly." The refutation was 2.h6! and Black has no chance to hold this endgame after the pawn advances to h7. (2...Rxh6 3.Ng8+)

Black would have had typical Berlin suffering chances after 1...gxh5.
 

That was India's revenge for this fourth-round takedown by Kritz of Mahesh Chandran in round four.

If you read our last report on Enghien and the game Bauer-Korchnoi you'll see this one coming. The f5 pawn push against e6 and g6 takes advantage of the black king's total lack of protection and the black queen's lack of escape squares. Rh4 is threatened and black has no defense.

18.f5 b4

[18...exf5 19.Nxd5 Be6 20.b3;
18...gxf5 19.Rh4 d4 20.Qg5+ Kf8 21.Nxd4;
18...Nd8 19.Qg5 Qc5 20.Qf6 Qf8 21.Ng5 Threatening Nxh7. 21...exf5 22.Nxd5 Nc6 23.Ne7+ Nxe7 24.Rxd7 Re8 25.e6]

19.Rh4 d4 20.Qg5 1-0
 

 

 

Mig Greengard

 


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