- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

The United States has produced a new world champion. New York FM Alex Lenderman was the surprise winner of the Boys Under 16 title at the World Youth Championships in Belfort, France, late last month.

Lenderman defeated a number of higher-rated rivals, notably Russian IM Ian Nepomniachtchi, on his way to a 9-2 finish. It was the first gold medal for a U.S. junior in a number of years in the annual event.

Three other Americans scored in the top five in their divisions, including Californian Daniel Naroditsky (fifth in the Boys Under 10 division), Ray Robson of Florida (sixth in the Under 12 class), and New York’s Robert Hess (fifth in the Under 14 competition.).

The youth championships don’t have the buzz they once did, when the world’s best teen players routinely competed. Today, junior stars such as New York GM Hikaru Nakamura and Ukraine’s Sergei Karjakin prefer to play at the grown-ups’ table in unrestricted elite events.

U.S. and other delegations also lodged a slew of complaints with the French organizers over the accommodations, tournament conditions and pairings. FIDE, the international chess federation, has some repair work to do on the image of this once-premier event.

Still, Lenderman’s victory is a real cause for celebration, a long-awaited sign that Nakamura may have some company in his ascent up the ratings charts. Against Polish FM Tomasz Warakomski in the final round, Lenderman showed a nice positional sense in taking the initiative away from his opponent, forcing the win of material and efficiently concluding the endgame.

In an infrequently played Petroff line, White with 12. f3 Rb8 13. fxe4?! Rxb2 unwisely allows his opponent a rook on the seventh rank, an infiltration that dictates play for the rest of the game.

White’s hoped-for attack on the king-side amounts to little, while Black’s two bishops and queen aid the rook in repeatedly probing for soft spots behind enemy lines.

A queen trade does nothing to loosen Black’s bind, and his positional dominance results in material gain on 25. Qe2 Qxe2 26. Rxe2 Rc1+ 27. Kf2 Rh1!, when the Black e-pawn is taboo because of 28. Nxe4?? Rf1 mate. Warakomski tries 28. Bf4 Rxh2+ 29. Ke3 Bxf4+ 30. gxf4 Rxe2+! (the young New Yorker doesn’t try to be cute, heading straight for an ending in which his bishop dominates the White knight and his extra pawn will tell) 31. Kxe2 Bf5, but the knight-vs.-bishop ending offers little hope.

Black’s passed pawns thwart any White bid for counterplay, as can be seen in lines such as 33. Ne5 h3 34. Kf2 e3+ 35. Kg1 Kh6 36. Nxc6 h2+! 37. Kxh2 e2. Just as the players reach time control with 39. cxd5 Bf7 40. a6, White resigns in the face of such depressing lines as 40…Bh5 41. Kg2 Kf4 42. Kf2 h3 43. Nf1 Bf3 44. Kg1 e3 45. Nh2 Bg2 46. Nf1 e2 and wins. A nicely controlled performance from Lenderman.

In the glamour event in Belfort, Russian IM Ildar Khairullin and Polish GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek shared first in the Boys Under 18 tournament at 81/2-21/2. Khairullin, who took the title on tiebreaks, cemented his triumph with an emphatic penultimate-round win over Kazakh FM Rustam Khusnutdinov, sacrificing a queen to win in just under two dozen moves.

One enjoyable thing about youth tournaments is that openings that rarely get an airing in elite events are regulars here. Khairullin trots out the old Leningrad Dutch Defense, and an interesting early strategic battle ensues.

Up through 14. Nc3 Qe8 15. Re1 Rb8, White has a reasonable game, though Black’s strong fianchettoed bishop and control of the b-file pose long-term headaches. Perhaps in a bid to force things, Khusnutdinov winds up badly damaging his own game.

Thus: 16. Bg5?! (already veering off course; 16. Qe2 Qf7 17. Be3 Nb4 18. Qd2 would have saved White a ton of grief) Rxb2! 17. Rxe7 (see diagram; 17. Nxe4, conceding the loss of a pawn, was tougher here, with plenty still to play for in lines like 17…Nc5 18. Bf4 [Nxc5? Rfxf2!, as in the game] Nxe4 19. Bxe4) Qxe7! 18. Bxe7 Rfxf2.

White’s bishop and knight both hang, and his king isn’t looking too sturdy, either. Black wraps things up after 19. Bf1 (Be4 Rfd2 20. Qc1 Bd4+ 21. Kf1 Bh3+ 22. Ke1 Bf2 is a pleasing mate) Rfd2! 20. Qxd2 (virtually forced, as 20. Qc1 Bd4+ leads to a quick mate) Rxd2 21. Re1 (or 21. Rc1 Bd4+ 22. Kh1 Bg4 23. Bg2 Bxc3 24. Rxc3 Rd1+ 25. Bf1 Rxf1+, winning) Bd4+ 22. Kh1 Bg4 23. Bg2, and White resigned before Black could go a piece up with 23…Bxc3.

• • •

Of note: GM Susan Polgar, one of the famous chess-playing Polgar sisters and a former women’s world champion, set a record for simultaneous play by taking on 326 opponents at one time Monday at a mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Polgar won 309 of those games, drew 14 and lost just three.

She surpassed the record of English IM Andrew Martin, who conducted a 321-game simul in February 2004. Polgar walked a reported nine miles during the exhibition, clad in high-tech sneakers and sipping orange juice.

World Youth Championships, Boys Under 16, Belfort, France, July 2005


1. e4e521. g3Bh3

2. Nf3Nf622. Qe1Rc2

3. d4Nxe423. Qf2Qg4

4. Bd3Nc624. Re1h5

5. Bxe4d525. Qe2Qxe2

6. Nxe5dxe426. Rxe2Rc1+

7. Nxc6bxc627. Kf2Rh1

8. 0-0Bd628. Bf4Rxh2+

9. Qh50-029. Ke3Bxf4+

10. Re1f530. gxf4Rxe2+

11. Bg5Qd731. Kxe2Bf5

12. f3Rb832. Nc4h4

13. fxe4Rxb233. Ne3Be6

14. c3fxe434. a5Kg6

15. Nd2h635. Kf2Kf6

16. Be3Qf536. c4g5

17. Qe2Qg637. fxg5+Kxg5

18. Rf1Rxf1+38. d5cxd5

19. Qxf1Kh739. cxd5Bf7

20. a4Qh540. a6and

White resigns

World Youth Championships, Boys Under 18, Belfort, France, July 2005


1. d4f513. cxb5Qxb5

2. g3Nf614. Nc3Qe8

3. Bg2g615. Re1Rb8

4. c4Bg716. Bg5Rxb2

5. Nc30-017. Rxe7Qxe7

6. Nf3d618. Bxe7Rfxf2

7. 0-0Qe819. Bf1Rfd2

8. d5a520. Qxd2Rxd2

9. e4fxe421. Re1Bd4+

10. Ng5Na622. Kh1Bg4

11. Ngxe4Nxe423. Bg2 and

12. Nxe4b5White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washington times.com



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