It does not happen often that in a tournament with 7 rounds 5.5 points is the top score. We are glad to see that in our first YGP there was no runaway winner and the competition remained extremely fierce until the last round. From that perspective we have achieved a major goal: youth playing and learning from meaningful games at standard time control.
At the start of round 7, Benjamin, James, Ronald and Miguel Angel all had 4.5 points closely followed by Oliver and Rachel with 4 points and Richard and Harold with 3.5 points.
It was unfortunate that on the top board the game between Miguel Angel and Ronald had to end in a win by default for Miguel Angel as Ronald could not be in town on Sunday. The expected fireworks from that game, however, were well spread out over the other boards.
Rachel with white on board 2 against Benjamin played the longest game – again, almost the full 3 hours. The position seemed to be quite equal until in the endgame of Queen + Bishop and few pawns Benjamin managed to break through to win some pawns, sufficient for the win.
Oliver played active on the king side, pushing up his rook supported h-pawn and lining up his bishop, queen and knight to assault James’ f7-g6-h7 defense. After a few exchanges black was a piece down and the exposed king was too vulnerable for further counter play.
Harold with black on board 4 made a mistake against Richard that proved to be fatal quickly and on board 5 Mei Jing with white entered an endgame of knight + pawns against Steven’s bishop + pawns which Mei Jing managed to win by stopping Steven’s king side pawn majority before rushing her 3 against 1 pawn majority on the queen side.
Andy beat Samach on board 6 and on board 7 we got a sharp Sicilian with Marco storming his white pawns into the black’s king side while Teddy aimed his pawn march to breach the defense of the white king castled on the queen side. Teddy had a defensive idea that stalled Marco’s attack just long enough for his own attack to be decisive, promoting his a pawn followed by check mate.
Toby on board 8 stayed very focused and precise enough to win his game with white against Sabrina and Samual on board 9 did not allow Ray to recover from various careless mistakes.
Because we only have one U14 player, the U14 category was merged into U12 and instead of 2 prizes in U12 we increased to 3 prizes for U14-U12. The trophies and prize money we will hand out on a separate occasion soon about which we will inform you.
At risk of repeating, again we congratulate all players for their impressive fighting spirit which resulted in a tournament in which it was not sure until the last minutes who would be the prize winners.
Special congratulations to:
- Benjamin for winning the tournament and be the number 1 in the U14-U12 group
- Oliver for being the best U12 player and 3rd place in the overall ranking
- Miguel Angel for being the only undefeated player, 2nd in the overall ranking and number 1 in the U10 group.
Finally, this first Youth Grand Prix event resulted in the first ranking on the YGP table. Given the little difference in strength so far anything can happen as we proceed into the next YGP qualifying events.