Russia clinches World Youth Chess title

The team won the World Youth Olympiad on Sunday with a round to spare.

Timur Fakhrutdinov (standing), who fashioned Russia's victory over Armenia, watches his team-mates Sergei Lobanov (left) and Artur Gaifullin in the eighth round of the World Youth Chess Olympiad in Ahmedabad.   -  P. K. Ajith Kumar

Russia won the World Youth Olympiad on Sunday with a round to spare, having provided in its successful campaign a glimpse of the depth of talent in that country. Russia - including the erstwhile Soviet Union - has produced 12 of 20 the world chess champions.

The team’s 2.5-1.5 victory at the Karnavati Club on Sunday over Armenia in the eighth round took it to the maximum 16 points, three points ahead of its closest rival, India Green. Even a defeat in the final round on Monday will not matter.

Seventh round report: India Green bounces back

India Green, the strongest team of the host, is best-placed to take the runner-up spot. It has 13 points after its comprehensive 3-1 win against Uzbekistan. India Green is followed by Iran, which is a point behind. India Red has 10 points and India Blue nine.

‘Felt nice’

Russia’s coach Mikhail Kobalia was delighted after his wards completed the match. He shouted with joy as soon the players came out of the venue. “We were confident of winning the title here,” said the Grandmaster who was once ranked World No. 100. “Our strongest rival here was Iran to whom we had lost before. So it felt nice to get the revenge.”

Russia’s win in the penultimate round was fashioned by Timur Fakhrutdinov. On a day when all his team-mates drew, he defeated Mamikon Gharibyan on the fourth board with black pieces in a Nimzo-Indian game that lasted 50 moves. He romped home riding on his passed pawn in a rook ending.

Important results (eighth round)
  • Russia beat Armenia 2.5-1.5 (Semen Lomaslov drew with Aram Hakobyan; Sergei Lobanov drew with Shant Sargsyan; Artur Gaifullin drew with David Mirzoyan; Timur Fakhrutdinov beat Mamikon Gharibyan).
  • India Green beat Uzbekistan 3-1 (Aryan Chopra lost to Nodirbek Yakubboev; R. Praggnanandhaa beat Shamsiddin Vokhidov; Nihal Sarin beat Saidakbar Saydaliev; P. Iniyan beat Daler Vakhidov).
  • India Blue lost to Iran 1-3 (Kushagra Mohan lost to Amin Tabatabaei; Rahul Srivatshav lost to Alireza Firouzja; Rakesh Kumar Jena drew with Aryan Gholami; Aronyak Ghosh drew with Mahdi Gholami).
  • India Red beat Turkey 2.5-1.5 (S. Jayakumaar drew with Deniz Ozen; Arjun Erigaisi beat Ekin Ozenir; Mitrabha Guha beat Emre Dedebas; Harshita Guddanti lost to Duru Okuyaz).
  • Mongolia lost to Belarus 1-2.
  • Argentina lost to Kazakhstan 1.5-2.5.