World Junior Rd 2: The optimism of the young!

by Sagar Shah
10/17/2019 – The World Junior Championships 2019 is so rich with chess content, it is becoming extremely difficult to write a report that would cover everything! In spite of having just 94 boards (47 in open and 47 in girls) there is high quality chess taking place on almost 70% of these games. After two rounds we have nine boys in the lead with 2.0/2 in the open section and eleven girls in the lead with 2.0/2 in the girls section. In this article we bring some of the most interesting and instructive moments of the second round. We not only have the pictures, analysis, and interviews but also a special section called highlights of the day which gives you the glimpse of what happened in just 12 minutes! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Chess Endgames 9 - Rook and Minor Piece Chess Endgames 9 - Rook and Minor Piece

Endings with rook and minor piece against rook and minor piece occur very frequently, even more often than rook endings, yet there's not much literature on them. This endgame DVD fills this gap. The four different material constellations rook and knight vs rook and knight, rooks and opposite coloured (and same coloured ) bishops and rook and bishop vs rook and knight are dealt with. In view of the different material constellations Karsten Mueller explains many guidelines like e.g. "With knights even a small initiative weighs heavily".


The Bravado of the Juniors

The wonderful thing about juniors is that their dreams are limitless. For them, the rating is just a number. Untouched by the unforgiving teacher called experience, these players bring to the table what not many event of the elite GMs can! And that's the reason why following the World Junior Championships is extremely exciting. You have players who have the talent in them to rule the chess world in the years to come, but they also have the youthful exuberance to try out new stuff which the 2750+ GMs will not!

Open section


Black has just pushed his pawn to b5. White is a couple of pawns down. Yes, White has some compensation because the f7 point is weak, but give this position to any elite player and he would use his sense of objectivity and try to find the best resources to hold the position. Give such a position to an "inexperienced" junior and he will try his best to use his bishop and rook to launch a mating attack against the black king! 


And guess what? Sometimes it works! The Black king is completely caged in!


14-year-old Aaryan Varshney is one of the leaders after round two | Photo: Niklesh Jain

On the top board, the game between Dmitrij Kollars and Dambasuren Batsuren ended in a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After a draw at World Youth 2019, Shant beat Aditya at World Junior | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Shant played his queen to c6 attacking the rook on a8. The natural move here was to play 11...♝a6. Aditya was perhaps afraid of 12.♘c7, but after 12...♝xf1 13.♘xa8 ♝xg2 14.♖g1 ♝e4 Black has excellent compensation and a fine position. In the above diagram, Black moved his rook to b8 and after ♘xa7, Shant was just a pawn up, and he comfortably converted it into a win.


Bharath Subramaniyam: IM at the age of just 11 years and 8 months — the next big thing from Indian chess? | Photo: Niklesh Jain 


White has a completely dominating position here out of the opening. Bharath took the pawn on h7 here which turned out to be an error. Instead, find the best way to win.

He could have gone for the spectacular 17.♖xe6!+ After 17...♛xe6 18.♖e1 Black gets two rooks for the queen but the resulting position after 18...♛xe1 19.♘xe1 0-0-0 20.♘f3 ♝e7 21.g3 is in White's favour. With so many weaknesses in Black's camp, White is winning in this position because his queen and knights are much better than Black's rooks and bishops!

Bharath was unable to find the above mini-combination and eventually lost the game.


Praggnanandhaa was pitted against Israeli IM Or Bronstein in round 2 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After winning the World under-18 Youth, Praggnanandhaa is on a high. But at the same time, it is never easy to play 22 rounds of gruelling chess. As Pragg said after the game, "Yes, I am a bit tired, but I sleep more during the day and it helps me." For now, the youngster seems to have enough energy as he played a fine game to beat Bronstein from the white side of the Sicilian Najdorf. 


A wonderful thing to note about Praggnanandhaa's game was his preparation. Until move number 18 (where he went ♘b5!?) he was prepared!

Bronstein got no real chances in the game and although Praggnanandhaa could have shown better technique in some instances, the win was never in doubt.


The final moments of Pragg's victory and also interview with the youngster

Spanish GM Santosh Miguel Ruiz showed the power of two bishops as well as a common attacking theme — rook lift! | Photo: Niklesh Jain 


White to move. What would you do?

Say I where to ask you, "Which is my most passive piece right now?" The answer would be a resounidng — Rook on a1. How do I get it into the game? ♖c1? or move the queen and ♖d1? Well, much better is to go ♖a3! and the rook will swing over to the kingside and launch a powerful attack against the black king! White won in nice attacking style.

GM Karthikeyan Murali, two-time National champion of India played a very nice game against Nitish Belurkar

For nicer lines, check out the video:


The position is composed by Karthikeyan and the variations are quite deep. Hence, we recommend you to put on your thinking cap on to try to figure out the details.

Aronyak Ghosh played excellent chess to beat India's Triple Crown champion Aravindh Chithambaram | Photo: Amruta Mokal


Aram Hakobyan on board five was held to a draw by Zhandos Agmanov of Kazakhstan | Photo: Niklesh Jain

One of the latest IMs of India, Anuj Shrivatri, held Harsha Bharathakoti to a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Viktor Gazik (2546) lost to IM Ganzorig Amartuvshin (2391) | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Youngster Leon Mendonca held Sergei Lobanov to a draw in round two | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Open standings after round 2


Girls section

In the girls section we have eleven leaders after round two on 2.0/2. We had quite a big upset on the first board itself when second seed Stavroula Tsolakidou lost to the youngster from India Mrudul Dehankar.


11.♘f4 was coming up and hence Mrudul went for the move 10...g8. Her point was that now 11.♘f4 can be met with 11...♝g6 and after 12.♘xg6 or ♗xg6 she could take back with the h-pawn. However, Stavroula surprised her opponent with 11.xh7 after 10...g8. Mrudul also went on to the attack with 11...xf3 and after the rook was taken on g8, the knight was picked up on e2.


The fireworks continued with 13.xf6 and although White won a pawn after 13...gxf6 14.xf6, Black's play was easier, as her king was much safer. Mrudul won a nice game.

The final moments of Mrudul's game along with her post-game analysis


On the second board Nurgyul Salimova was held to a draw by Oliwia Kiolbasa | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aakanksha Hagawane managed to hold Bibisara Assaubayeva to a draw | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Thalia Cerventes managed to beat Margarita Potapova in an extremely complex game where the fortune changed hands on many occasions | Photo: Niklesh Jain

One of the shortest games of the round of the Berdnyk vs Nilssen  | Photo: Niklesh Jain


The game between Saloni Sapale and Gabriela Antova is a good example of how a theoretically winning game (as per the engine) is not always winning! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Practically it could be very difficult to play the best moves.


After a draw in the first round, Zhu Jiner lost her second round game | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The top seed has had quite a rough start to the event.


Girls standings after round 2


Round 2 Highlights

Highlights of round two by WIM-elect Amruta Mokal

A special thanks to WIM Angela Frank Jain for her game analysis

All games






Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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