World Junior Ch: Maurizzi sole leader, Niemann loses to Woodward

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
9/24/2023 – French grandmaster Marc’Andria Maurizzi (pictured) is the only player with a perfect 4/4 score in the open section of the World Junior Championships taking place in Mexico City. In round 4, Maurizzi got the better of Andy Woodward, an IM from the United States who came from beating top seed Hans Niemann in the previous round. Meanwhile, in the women’s section, Armenian WIM Maryam Mkrtchyan is the sole leader with 4 points to her name. | Photo: David Llada

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Woodward sets the tone

Junior events are often full of surprises. Naturally, many up-and-coming players have inconsistent results at times, but if they manage to show their potential even a couple of times per event, they are surely capable of upsetting higher-rated players.

At the World Junior Championship in Mexico City, it was 13-year-old Andy Woodward who made headlines by beating top seed Hans Niemann in round 3. An IM from the United States, Woodward played brilliantly in the double-edged struggle against his compatriot, and was praised by well-known trainer Jacob Aagaard on X:

I have long been impressed with his homework submissions and can see the work he does with his personal trainer as well in this great game.

After his remarkable win, Woodward was paired up against fourth seed Marc’Andria Maurizzi in round 4. Maurizzi, a 16-year-old GM from Bastia (France), beat his younger opponent with the black pieces to take the lead in the standings as the only player with a perfect score after four rounds of play.

A total of 12 players stand a half point behind Maurizzi. The lowest-rated player in this pack is Indian-born Shreyas Royal, who now represents England and recently met UK Primer Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street.

Arseniy Nesterov

Third seed Arseniy Nesterov (FIDE) will play black against sole leader Marc’Andria Maurizzi in the fifth round | Photo: David Llada

Niemann 0 - 1 Woodward

Analysis by Klaus Besenthal

Hans Niemann

Hans Niemann during the opening ceremony | Photo: David Llada

Standings after round 4

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 MAURIZZI, Marc`andria 4 0
2 NESTEROV, Arseniy 3,5 0
3 AVILA PAVAS, Santiago 3,5 0
4 AMAR, Elham 3,5 0
5 PRANAV, Anand 3,5 0
6 KOELLNER, Ruben Gideon 3,5 0
GHAZARIAN, Kirk 3,5 0
8 SUBELJ, Jan 3,5 0
10 MAKARIAN, Rudik 3,5 0
11 KACHARAVA, Nikolozi 3,5 0
12 DUDIN, Gleb 3,5 0
13 ROYAL, Shreyas 3,5 0
14 WOODWARD, Andy 3 0
15 NIEMANN, Hans Moke 3 0

...150 players

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Mkrtchyan still perfect in the women’s section

There have been fewer surprises in the women’s event, as all seven players currently on 3½+ scores belong to the top-10 in the starting rank.

Third seed Mariam Mkrtchyan from Armenia tops the standings as the only player with a 4/4 score. After beating fifth seed Sofiia Hryzlova (Switzerland) in round 4, the leader will have the tough task of facing rating favourite Carissa Yip (United States) in Sunday’s fifth round.

Yip and Mkrtchyan are two of the three 2300+ rated players who made it to Mexico City. Argentinian WGM Candela Francisco also belongs to this group and is tied for second place with Yip and five more players on 3½/4. Francisco, aged 17, will face 13-year-old Chinese prodigy Lu Miaoyi in round 5.

Mariam Mkrtchyan

Mariam Mkrtchyan | Photo: David Llada

Candela Francisco

Candela Francisco | Photo: David Llada

Svitlana Demchenko

Svitlana Demchenko | Photo: David Llada

Standings after round 4

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 MKRTCHYAN, Mariam 4 0
2 YIP, Carissa 3,5 0
3 GETMAN, Tatyana 3,5 0
4 RAKSHITTA, Ravi 3,5 0
5 LU, Miaoyi 3,5 0
6 CIOLACU, Alessia-Mihaela 3,5 0
8 HRYZLOVA, Sofiia 3 0
11 VANDUYFHUYS, Daria 3 0
12 ZHANG, Xiao 3 0
13 MIKHEEVA, Galina 3 0
14 HERNANDEZ ORTEGA, Carolina 3 0
15 VELARDE HERNANDEZ, Paulina Yunuen 3 0

...85 players

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.