It has been a week now since the closing ceremony wrapped up 11 rounds of standard chess and 7 rounds of blitz chess over a period of 12 days at the World Youth Chess Championship 2013 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
On various web sites, blogs and facebook pages an abundance of reports have emerged, especially about the negative side of the management of this event. True, the tournament started hours late – the Al Ain Classic which ran parallel with dozens of GMs participating didn’t even had a physical location on the starting day – pairing of each blitz round took an hour or more, the catering queues, chaotic photo session, irritations from extensive patrolling at the venue … it was all part of this event and can be read about elsewhere.
Despite the chaotic dimensions which should not have been such omnipresent at a world championship level event, on the other side, this was a massive gathering of thousands of people from over hundred different countries who were very well hosted in an isolated but comfortable and fully equipped university campus, which was a city in itself. It is amazing that a game with a relatively simple set of rules can tie thousands of players, their supporters and other observers into a shared reality, deep and wide enough as to satisfy the mind’s highest needs for wonder.
Our Caissa members and Hong Kong delegates, Miguel Angel and Mei Jing, did not reach their level they had shown at other tournaments. Mei Jing, and even more so Miguel Angel, came out of the opening very well with a plus almost every single game but in the transition to the middle game, where such advantages are to be exploited, it went wrong. This was not predominantly because of chess technical reasons (in the analysis it was clearly understood that some exchanges, tactics or strategic concepts were not well applied), but more so, the mental mindset was not tuned properly to believe in winning games against, for example, “rated players”.
Every time you see a good position slipping out of your hand, even when you do your best even more, you lose some confidence and we could unfortunately not break this vicious cycle. Miguel Angel ended with 4.5 points and Mei Jing with 5 points out of 11 in standard chess and with blitz chess Miguel Angel and Mei Jing ended with 4 points and 3 points respectively out of 7 games which in itself are not very bad result at all – and, give and take a half point, is very much in line with our other talents who recently went to such large international tournaments.
Nonetheless, the experience of participating in a massive tournament like this, and really doing your best, was worth another 5 “future” points at least. Well done Miguel Angel and Mei Jing who put up good fighting spirit representing Hong Kong at the world’s highest level youth chess event.