World Junior Rd 8: Yet Another Shuvalova queen sacrifice!

by Sagar Shah
10/23/2019 – Polina Shuvalova is on fire at the World Junior 2019. After her pretty queen sacrifice at the World Youth 2019 that went viral, the Russian youngster yet again sacrificed her queen, this time at the World Junior. This one wasn't as deep or beautiful as what we saw in Mumbai in her game against Afonasieva, but to beat a player like Assaubayeva with a queen sacrifice is never easy! In the open section we have two leaders: Shtembuliak drew his game against Shant Sargsyan. This let Miguel Santos Ruiz catch up. The Spaniard beat Praggnanandhaa in pretty fashion to join Shtembuliak at the top. IM SAGAR SHAH brings a detailed report from New Delhi.

First Steps in Gambits and Sacrifices by IM Andrew Martin First Steps in Gambits and Sacrifices by IM Andrew Martin

Gambit play and the joy of sacrificing is an important part of the improving process. In order to become a strong player you must learn to attack and make combinations. Many continue to play in an aggressive style throughout an entire chess lifetime!


Shuvalova and queen sacrifices!

Polina Shuvalova is clearly a much stronger player than what her rating suggests. She is rated 2412, but she has already won the gold medal in the World Youth under-18 girls twice, the second one was just ten days ago. Now she seems to be all set to pick up another title. And what is impressive is the way she garners her wins. Dominant play with excellent understanding of the opening, always trying to think about opponent's plans and stopping them, and ruthless ability to finish off a game. The last one clearly points to her tactical vision. Her queen sacrifice from the World Youth against Anna Afonasieva will go down in many tactics manual.


In this position Polina sacrificed her rook on g7 with 31.xg7 and then after 31...xg7 followed it up with a queen sacrifice 32.xh7!! xh7 33.f6+ and the king was dragged out of his hiding and checkmated on h3!

After the World Youth when Shuvalova won the gold, we asked her, "Is the gold medal more special or this combination?" With a smile on her face she said, "I have to say it's the combination!" And one would imagine that to create something like this would take many years. But Shuvalova, is in a hurry to create brilliancies! She sacrificed her queen once again, this time in the eighth round of the World Junior Championships 2019. Here's how it went


Before the queen sacrifice, there is always something else to sacrifice for Polina! So how did she begin?

In this position Polina began with 43.xc5! The bishop has to be taken and after 44.xe5+ Black has to play 44...g7 (44...♛g7 is met with 45.♖d8+).


What next? White to play.

Of course, a queen sacrifice! 45.xc5! Assaubayeva went back 45...b8, but that led to a lost endgame. Instead, if she had taken the queen, it would have led to a picturesque mate.


46.♖d8+ and now after 46...♞e8 47.♖xe8 ♚g7, it's a pretty mate.


Shuvalova beat Assaubayeva and is now in the sole lead with 7.0/8 | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Polina not only speaks about her win but also the secret of her nail polish!

Miguel Ruiz on how to react when surprised in the opening

With his win over Praggnanandhaa in round 8, Miguel Ruiz has joined Evgeny Shtembuliak at the top! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Praggnanandhaa usually sticks to his main openings. But in the eighth round, he decided to try something new in the Sicilian. Pragg didn't face any issues in the first few moves as he got a relatively fine position out of the opening. However, the real problems began somewhere in the middlegame where the lack of experience of handling such positions clearly began to show. 


The move 8...b8 is not a common one here. Black usually plays 8...♛c7, forces 9.f4 and then goes 9...♛b6. The move 8...b8 hasn't been played by any strong player above the Elo of 2300. But Pragg had analysed it and decided to give it a go.

Ruiz's handling of the position was quite good. He developed his pieces normally and ensured that he didn't fall for any tactics that were prepared at home by Pragg. The critical mistake came on move 19.


Pragg should have played 19...♜f7 instead of 19...c5. The point is not so easy to understand when the position is new to you. White's main idea in the position is to play 20.g4 and sacrifice a pawn. After 20...♞xg4 21.♖hg1, if you hadn't played c5 then you would have the option of 21...♛e3+. In the game c5 was played and after g4 White's attack was just too quick.

Miguel Santos Ruiz takes you through his win along with WIM-elect Amruta Mokal

Final moments of Miguel Ruiz winning his game against Praggnanandhaa


A big theoretical discussion took place in the game between Shant Sargsyan and Evgeny Shtembuliak | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Shant was pressing throughout the game, but Evgeny managed to hold the draw.


Karthikeyan managed to beat Murzin

Aram Hakobyan won against Semen Khanin in a complex Gruenfeld major piece middlegame | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Viktor Gazik lost his game to IM Mihnea Costachi | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Mihnea was has had an excellent event until now and is unbeaten, closing in on his GM norm. 


White has just played 31.dxe6. Why is it a blunder?


Or Bronstein attacked like legendary David Bronstein and scored a nice win over Visakh N R

India's Triple Crown champion Aravindh Chithambaram is trying to get his way back to the top | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Aravindh beat Rithvik Raja and he is now at 5½/8.




Youngster Aaryan Varshney has played excellently at the World Junior and has scored his second IM-norm with a round to spare | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Divya Deshmukh showed nerves of steel as she used her opponent Mobina Alinasab's mistake in time pressure to save a completely lost game | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Final moments of Divya vs Mobina

Stavroula Tsolakidou won her game and is now in third place with 6.0/8 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Priyanka Nutakki beat Vaishali in round 8 | Photo: Niklesh Jain

After the game Vaishali has withdrawn from the event and would not be playing further.

Priyanka Nutakki after her win against Vaishali

American Thalia Cervantes drew her game in nine moves with black against top seed Zhu Jiner. How did she do it? | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The 2500+ top seed was in no mood to fight | Photo: Niklesh Jain


Round 8 saw a walkover and no it was not another Iran vs Israel pairing! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Lakshmi C got the full point as her opponent Vantika Agrawal didn't turn up because of bad health | Photo: Niklesh Jain


With three rounds to go, who do you think will win in the open and girls section?

Shtembuliak and Miguel Ruiz are in joint lead in the open section with 6½/8 each | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Polina Shuvalova is in the sole lead in the girls section with 7.0/8 and seems all set to finish first! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Open standings after round 8


Girls standings after round 8


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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