World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad

by ChessBase
8/14/2023 – The FIDE World Youth Olympiad! It often gets overshadowed by the World Cup, but is actually one of the bigger tournaments at the youth level. This year, it’s being hosted in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. 63 teams from all around the world are competing, each with four young players. Report by Bram Klapwijk.

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Not only are all the players in the U16 category (born in 2007) or younger, but all teams are mixed with at least one boy and one girl per team. In practice, this means that many teams consist of 3 boys and 1 girl. The host country, the Netherlands, is participating with 4 teams, while many other countries have 1 or more teams. The first round was played today, August 13th. The following days will have 1 or 2 games per day, leading up to the final 9th round on Friday, August 18th.

Part of the Dutch delegation during the opening ceremony. | Photo: Frans Peeters

The Youth Olympiad started on Sunday 13 August, but a round-robin tournament with ten women players has started on Thursday 10 August. This so-called ‘Open World Dutch Women TOP 10 Championship 2023’ – yes that’s quite a mouthful – is a side or even ‘crown’ event next to the Youth Olympiad.

Day 1 Youth Olympiad

Top team Kazakhstan 1 had a significant challenge against Australia 1. Boards 1-3 ended in draws, with only the game between WCM Cheng (Australia) and WIM Nurmanova (Kazakhstan) ending in favor of the favorite. 

The second team in the starting list, China, had less trouble against the 4th team from the Netherlands. Boards 1-3 saw intense battles, with the advantage often leaning towards China during the games. Sascha Kurt saved the honor for the Dutch team by holding his opponent to a draw. 

Prajit Kumar, with Arthur de Winter behind him, in the endgame. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

The other Dutch teams enjoyed success. Team 4 lost to China. Teams 2 and 3 won! Team 2, consisting of Kobe Smeets, Roger Labruyere, Rhys Arnold, and Isafara Gergin, faced off against Thailand 2. The result was 3-1, with Isafara unfortunately losing to an opponent who played extremely precisely. The remaining games were far from smooth, but determination and sharpness were on the Dutch side. Team 3, with Noah Ritzerveld, Wouter Terlouw, Oscar Zecha, and Fleur Westerhof, proved to be too much for Uganda 3. Quite a young team, with Fleur Westerhof, 2009 as the “oldest” player on the team.

Here are the games of round one

Here's the live video coverage of day two

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