World Youth starts in Durban

by Albert Silver
9/23/2014 – The 2014 World Youth Chess Championship has started, and is being hosted by the South African Chess Federation in Durban, South Africa. About 1000 children and youths have come to compete in the massive competition, hoping to inscribe their names into history. It has been tough going for the top seeds as many have already suffered early setbacks, though it is still early days.

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The 2014 World Youth Chess Championship has started, and is being hosted by the South African Chess Federation in Durban, South Africa. About 1000 children and youths have come to compete, and although this may be less than the previous year, the reason can most likely be pointed as the dates. With the event lasting eleven rounds, it means taking off two weeks of school right in the middle of September, which is probably not feasible for many would-be competitors.

The opening ceremony included some very energetic dancing with acrobatics

Some lovely handcrafted work

Still, when the cats are out, the mice will play, and that means that a missing top gun is a golden opportunity for a world title by a hungry rival. Don’t for an instant underestimate the level of competition though as can be seen by the setbacks experienced by many a top seed. In the Boys under-12 section, FM Liang Awonder came as the clear favorite with 2323 Elo, but suffered a loss in round four to Romanian David Gavrilescu rated nearly 300 Elo less with 2056. He was not alone mind you, since he had a close rival in Andrei Esipenko (2315) who also lost in the fourth round, to David Brodsky (2095) from the US.  

Although the heavy favorite in the Boys U12, Awonder Liang suffered a setback in round four

In David Brodsky's case, he was the one who inflicted a setback, when
he beat a rival who was nearly 300 Elo stronger

In the Boys under-14 group, the Germans were overjoyed to see one of their compatriots as the top seed, Roven Vogel (2434) who unexpectedly earned a staggering 155 Elo just last month! This was entirely due to some great results, and the new K=40 factor that benefitted his rating so much. Still, consider he was rated just 2105 in September 2013, so he has been on an amazing roll. Unfortunately, the German 13-year-old also came up against stiff competition in round two, when he lost to Egyptian FM Adham Fawzy.

The South African hosts are making the most of this chance and have no fewer than 163 competitors, providing them with a unique opportunity to play in such a prestigious event. The second most proliferative nation is the United States, whose contingent is 70 strong.

Some proud South African players

Roland Bezuidenhout, rated only 2030, was out to make history with his 3.0/3 start. He
won two of them in just fifteen minutes.

The children receive all the support they need

Dressed like a princess

I have a question!

Oh that move stinks...

Winner of the neatest hair

Speak no evil

Not the face of everlasting joy

The playing hall at the Durban Convention Center

One of the pkayers still battling after five hours of play

Pictures by South African Chess Federation Facebook page

Complete standings


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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