Trouble at the Youth Championship in Belfort

8/4/2005 – The World Youth Championship is an event that sees budding young players from all over the world battle it out in five categories: under 18, 16, 14, 12 and 10, in separate sections for boys and girls. The 2005 championship was held in Belfort, France, and did not run smoothly. We bring you results, games, pictures and one participant's very harsh criticism.

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World Youth Chess Championship 2005, Belfort

The World Youth Chess Championship 2005 was held in Belfort, France, from July 18–29, 2005. There were many expected results, but also some surprises. Noteworthy was the victory of an US player, Alex Lenderman, in the boys' under 16 category, wins by two Indian boys in the under 12 and under 10 sections, and Anna Muzychuk's title for girls' under 16.

In the tables below you will find the top players from each section, followed by all the games we could get hold of. They are in a single file (ChessBase CBV format or zipped PGN), sorted according to the different groups.

The tournament organisation has been seriously criticised from many sides. The complaints were very forcefully presented by Aviv Friedman, a coach for the US team. You will Aviv's piece at the bottom of this page.

Boys under 18 Country Points
1. KHAIRULLIN Ildar Russia 8.5
2. WOJTASZEK Radoslaw Poland 8.5
3. STOPA Jacek Poland 8
4. BLUVSHTEIN Mark Canada 8
5. TOMASHEVSKY Evgeny Russia 8
Boys under 16 Country Points
1. LENDERMAN Alex USA 9
2. NEPOMNIACHTCHI Ian Russia 8.5
3. VACHIER-LAGRAVE Max France 8.5
4.WARAKOMSKI Tomasz Poland 8
5. TROFIMOV Sergey P. Russia 8
6. SZABO Krisztian Hungary 8
7. TOMCZAK Jacek Poland 8
8. MONSIEUX Cyril France 8
Boys under 14 Country Points
1. LE Quang Liem Vietnam 9
2. BOYCHEV Mariyan Bulgaria 8.5
3. MATLAKOV Maxim Russia 8.5
4. SALGADO LOPEZ Ivan Spain 8.5
5. HESS Robert L USA 8
6. ZHAO Nan China 8
7. CHIRILA Ioan Cristian Romania 8
8. WEI Chenpeng China 8
Boys under 12 Country Points
1 NARAYANAN Srinath India 8.5
2 SJUGIROV Sanan Russia 8.5
3 TER SAHAKYAN Samvel Armenia 8.5
4 SO Wesley Philippines 8.5
Boys under 10 Country Points
1 GROVER Sahaj India 9
2 BUKAVSHIN Ivan Russia 9
3 BAJARANI Ulvi Russia 8.5
4 FU Xiaoyong China 8.5
Girls under 18 Country Points
1 BATKHUYAG Munguntuul Mongolia 8.5
2 PURTSELADZE Maka Georgia 8.5
3 MAJDAN Joanna Poland 8.5
4 MELIA Salome Georgia 8
Girls under 16 Country Points
1 MUZYCHUK Anna Slovenia 9
2 MIKADZE Miranda Georgia 8.5
3 HAMRAKULOVA Yulduz Uzbekistan 8.5
4 IGNACZ Maria Hungary 8
5 HARIKA Dronavalli India 8
6 GUNINA Valentina Russia 8
Girls under 14 Country Points
1 TAIROVA Elena Russia 9
3 BODNARUK Anastasia Russia 9
2 MUZYCHUK Mariya Ukraine 9
4 KHARISMA Irine Indonesia 8.5
5 WINKELMANN Elena Germany 8
Girls under 12 Country Points
1 ARABIDZE Meri Georgia 10
2 PAIKIDZE Nazi Georgia 8
3 DANELIA Mariam Georgia 8
4 VO Thi Kim Phung Vietnam 8
5 LAKSHMI Sahiti P. India 8
6 SOLOVYOVA Yelyzaveta Ukraine 8
Girls under 10 Country Points
1 WANG Jie China 9
2 LACH Aleksandra Poland 8.5
3 IWANOW Anna Poland 8.5
4 AFLALO Sophie France 8.5
5 KOTEPALLI Sai Nirupama India 8.5
 


The city of Belfort


The playing venue


Playing on the lawn outside


The tournament under way


Boy's under 16 champion Alex Lenderman (USA)


Winner of the Girl's under 16: Anna Muzychuk (Slovenia)


Girl's under 14 player Elena Winkelmann from Germany


Incredible talent from China: Jie Wang, under 10 champion


Guest of honour in Belfort: Anatoly Karpov

  • There are many more pictures on our German news page: here and here.
  • For our Spanish speaking visitors there is an extensively illustrated report here

Shame, Thievery and Anarchy at the
World Youth Championships in Belfort, France

Having recently returned from a coaching assignment at the World Youth championships in Belfort, I’d like to write about some of the outrageousness many have experienced.

The sign of things to come started months before the actual event. The arrogant organizers headed by the president of the organizing committee Jean Paul Touze decided to be as skimpy as possible on the details and logistics on their website which necessitated writing emails of inquiry – many of which went completely UNANSWERED and others got replies but with very little help or answers offered.

Some delegations travel through a few time zones (The US being one of them) and so arrive a day earlier than the others to combat jet lag. Traditionally, going back as far as I can remember, the organizers understood that and arranged for proper pick up (mind you, each person, player, visitor or coach pays 100 Euros for accreditation and travel that more than covers this!) but here of course the organizers refused. After some correspondence they promised to do so if all travel info is given to them well in time, which of course it was.

Naturally, on the 17th of July, most of our people, many of whom traveled for many long hours, were NOT picked up, despite the promises. Many had to pay well over 100 additional Euros for taxis from the Basel airport to Belfort.

Upon arrival to our hotel, located 2 Km from the playing venue, we quickly realized the difference between ‘comfort’ and ‘standard’ – the rooms were small, without air conditioning, or even a table and chairs to work with the kids, and the shower was the size of a coffin. Obviously, had we known of this we could have made other choices – even paid extra, but I suppose it was just too much for the organizers. I must add that the hotel owners and staff were quite embarrassed about this, and did all they could to help us in our needs. Their good will which unfortunately did not rub on the organizers, proved invaluable.

Amazingly, we quickly realized that we were the lucky ones! Some other delegations stayed as far as 50 (!!) Km from the site, some in far more ridiculous conditions than us: Dilapidated hotels and college dormitories with communal bathrooms in the hall that cost sky-high prices. ALL ROOM prices were considerably higher than if one was to book himself and when you consider the usual kick back from hotels to the organizers, this amounts to nothing more than robbery! 89 Euros a day for single, 70 (per person) in a double and 59 (pp) in a triple are incredible prices for what the delegations got. In Crete last year, with all delegations in one venue and 5 star conditions and organization, prices were lower than normal list prices and less than what all paid for the much lower level places in Belfort!

The playing venue was an ice rink alongside a tennis club where everyone was to eat lunch and dinner. The food was bad (some of our people got sick) and extremely not kid-friendly. Lines were often long, and the area was of course poorly ventilated, but the true jewel in the crown was the playing area itself. On nice days it was semi reasonable, but on the hot days it was nothing short of a Turkish bath. As the delegation sat and melted in the analysis area, the poor kids were playing in temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius (~104 F) with high humidity. No water was supplied, no sanitary conditions near the chemical bathrooms outside, and of course over crowdedness. One of our 9 year olds who did have some water, did not dare drink it for fear she’d have to use the bathroom where there were long lines… The worries of a 9 year-old at the World Champs!

On some days the shuttle busses did not arrive to pick us up for the round, and so we had to scramble with city busses and taxis, frantically trying to make it – quite ‘fun’ for a delegation of 31 players and over 70 people in all. On one especially stormy day we arrived soaking wet, late for the start of the round. It took some strong words of insistence to give our players the time they lost on their clocks.

During all this, the organizers blamed anyone and anything under the sun except of course, themselves! It was always the Federations’ fault, the delegations, the players, and the weather, anything but them. Worse yet, there wasn’t much of any good will shown and the only recourse at time was (as we quickly learned!) to either yell and use strong words or simply threaten to pull all of the players out. That last one (which we applied) got the organizers to change the first round mess of pairings where titled and rated players were not paired right and some players even paired in the wrong section (!) “Oh, we’ll just fix it tomorrow” was the initial answer – never mind if some poor kid loses a game to someone years older than him and has his event ruined. The motto of the championship was “Pas de probleme! Mais c’est impossible” (No problem! But it’s impossible)

I can go on and on about how the organizers kept all of the heads of delegations (and arriving players) in a pouring rain till they finally allowed the on site registration to begin, but I am sure by the now the picture is more than clear. Conditions were terrible, the organization was below amateurish and their attitude was miserable, and they madly overcharged us all. Everyone I spoke to, players, coaches, parents, heads of delegations, all agreed it was the most poorly organized and run event they have ever attended. In all the many years of traveling to world events in one capacity or another, it certainly was the worst one. Shame on you Jean Paul Touze! Shame on all of the committee members and on whomever authorized this bid! You showed no respect for people, no respect for kids and no respect for chess and no competence. I can only hope you never have another chance at any official event.

Aviv Friedman
A coach for the US team
Teaneck, NJ USA

P.S. Our team did quite well and better than usual with one gold medal (after many years of dry spell) and some top 10 (and top 5) finishes so this is not a ‘sour grapes’ letter, it really was awful. Lastly, it is worth mentioning that our federation did everything by the book, making sure that all payments and forms are filled and sent well in advance in an exemplary fashion.

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