World Junior Championship – Impressions from Patagonia

by ChessBase
11/5/2009 – This event, which ended on Tuesday, brought us lively games and a dramatic finish. But being staged in a remote place at the other end of the world there was a dearth of pictorial material. Which was a shame, since the venue, the southern end of South America, is scenically beautiful. Well, thank heavens for Åse Østebø, captain of the Norwegian squad. She has sent us this spectacular report.

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World Junior Chess Championships 2009

Impressions from Patagonia by Åse Østebø

I travelled to Argentina as the head of the Norwegian delegation. It was not a very large one: just me, my son Lasse, who played in the event and Katrine Tjølsen, took part in the girl's championship. Lasse and I travelled from Stavanger on the south-western coast of Norway to Puerto Madryn, leaving on a Tuesday morning (October 20th) at 11 am local time, via Oslo, Paris and Buenos Aires, arriving in Puerto Madryn on Wednesday night around 10 p.m. (which would be 3 a.m. Thursday morning Oct. 22nd in Norway). So it took a while to get there!

Rain in Buenos Aires: on the bus from the city centre to Jorge Newbery airport

Exhibit at Jorge Newbery airport for domestic flights

A view of Buenos Aires from the airport, just before taking the flight to Trelev

Arrival at the bustling Trelew Airport

Use + or – to zoom in or out, left mouse key to pan, or view larger map here

A view from the hotel room just after arrival

The same view the next morning

Our hotel Rayentray, directly at the beach

There was always a very sharp wind whistling outside our living quarters

This is the way cars get sandblasted along the sea shore

The playing venue – in the basement of the hotel

The start of a round of the Junior World Championship 2009

The girls' section, with one of the ultimate winners: Betül Yildiz of Turkey

Another winner: Sergei Zhigalko, who shared first in the boys' section

WIM Rout Padmini, 2331, finished eighth, one of three Indian girls in the top ten

An important game: French GM Vachier defeated Britain's David Howell in round nine

In round eleven Zhigalko took a 21-move draw. Vachier, watching in the background,
won his game against Lenderman in 89 moves and caught the leading Zhigalko.

The hotel lobby was used frequently to get onto the Internet – when it worked

Katrine Tjølsen, Norwegian participant in the girls' championship, at work with the computer

Katrine's mother Charlotte, who works in Brazil and was in Puerto Madryn for a few days

A top encounter in round six: the third and first seed drew their game in 13 moves

Dinner time, and David Howell's coach Nigel Short (in the white shirt) joins the
South Africans on the left and the Norwegians squad on the right

A meal with the famour Argentine beef – at 7 Euros ($10) reasonable and good

We saw him a number of times: a dog that travelled on the roof of his owner's car

Underground? No, electricity is transported the old-fashioned way

Kite surfing has become popular all over the globe

This is helped by the permanent stiff breeze at the beach

Penguins on the beach remind you which hemisphere you are on

The sign shows us the area with the largest breeding colony of penguines in the world

This big guy is an elephant seal, one of a large colony

A late inhabitant of the beach

Before five-star hotels: the earliest inhabitants of Puerto Madryn lived in these caves

Our farewell photo: one of the incredible sunsets we had every evening

Our photographer Åse Østebø

I must say it has been an experience being in Patagonia and Puerto Madryn! Everything takes a bit longer in Argentina – no one seems to be in a hurry. For example we were told at the hotel reception that lunch everyday should be from 12 noon to 3 p.m., but it was never ready before 12:30 at the earliest and usually only around 1 p.m. The reception area was always full of hungry young chess players waiting to get a meal. Thankfully no-one lost a game by showing up late, because they were all given 15 minutes extra to show up. And when we got to the closing ceremony, which was scheduled for 5 p.m. we were told to come back an hour later.

About the author

Åse Østebø is a high-school teacher of Mathematics and Chemistry at the International Baccalaureate department at a high school in Stavanger. She is the mother of the Norwegian player Lasse Østebø Løvik. As we go to print Åse and Lasse are on their 40-hour journey back to Stavanger.

Previous ChessBase reports

World Junior Chess Championships 2009 in Patagonia
30.10.2009 – Puerto Madryn is a city on the east coast of southern Argentina, in a geographical region known as Patagonia. In this remote place, where right whales and dolphins congregate, 84 of the most talented young players – under twenty years old – are playing for a prestigeous title. The girls's section has 45 contestants. The official web site is unfortunately comprimised, but we have results and games.

Zhigalko leads World Junior in Patagonia
02.11.2009 – Top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, rated 2718, is josting for top place with third seed Sergei Zhigalko of Belarus, rated 2646. In round nine both won their games and were equal first, in round ten Vachier played a quick draw, while Zhigalko won again to take the sole lead. No pictures of the chess action in Puerto Madryn, but we have received some very nice shots of whales.

Vachier-Lagrave, Zhigalko win World Junior
04.11.2009 – It was a very fateful final day at the World Junior in Argentina. French GM and top seed Maxime Vachier-Lagrave worked hard to win his final game and catch the leading Sergei Zhigalko from Belarus to take Gold and the title on tiebreak. In the women's section there was even greater drama. One player missed a special $33,000 prize by a few tiebreak points. Final round report.


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