Hungry Hungaski: Organizational Glitches Mar Start of World Youth
By GM Ben Finegold   
December 18, 2013
Line1.jpgAs I write this article, I am not sure if disaster is too strong a word, or not strong enough. OK, so, nobody has been injured, but otherwise, this event has seen simply too many foul ups. I am at the 2013 World Youth Championship in Al Ain, UAE (about 80-90 miles from Dubai), working as a chess coach for the American team.

First, the food.  There are 4000-4500 people here, from over 100 countries, and the organizers simply did not prepare for this.  The food lines are often 45-60 minutes long, and they cannot accommodate everyone.  The worst story, from the American side, was when coaches Jan van de Mortel and Robert Hungaski were in line for 45 minutes, and when they got to the front, and about to finally put food on their trays, they were shut out.  There was food there, and people to serve it, but they wanted to close, so they did.  

The food situation has not improved in 3 days, and the organizers say they are doing their best to make the situation better, but, unless you get luck and come at the right time (it's never clear when the best time is, but one can always get lucky!) there is a very long wait.

Claudia Munoz in the Girls Under 16 (center) with her sister (right) and Brazilian player Rebecca Lot
The first round was scheduled at 3PM, but, the organization claimed they were awaiting arrival of arbiters, so, round 1 was to start at 5PM.  The round did not start at 5PM and nobody was let into the playing hall until after 6PM. Some kids did not start until 6:30PM, and some kids were not paired.  In a couple of odd instances, a parent and an arbiter were paired against children!

Well, I could go on and on like this, but let's try to focus on the positive.  The dorms are nice, and the ladies who work in the dorms to help us are fantastic. They are friendly and very helpful. The weather is absolutely perfect, always between 65-80 degrees 24 hours a day.

The round eventually did start, and a lot of good chess was played.  In the U18 section, U.S. Junior Champion Daniel Naroditsky won as did Atulya Shetty.


1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 Bc5 5.d3 d6 6.a3 a6 7.Nf3 h6 8.0-0 0-0 9.e3 Ba7 10.b4 Bf5 11.Bb2 Qd7

A good way to face the English Opening. With no pieces traded and lots of rich positional play to follow, this is an excellent choice for the higher rated player who wants to win with black.
12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.cxd5 Ne7 14.e4 Bh7
I asked Atulya after the game why he chose Bh7 over Bg4. He said he wanted to prevent white from playing d4, so he kept an eye on the e4 pawn.

A poor move. It's not a good idea to move the Rook off of f1 when black has a bishop on a7, since f2 is tender.
15...f5! 16.Qb3 Kh8 17.Re2 fxe4 18.dxe4 Rf6 19.Rc1 Raf8

Atulya has a clear advantage. Black's play down the f file is superior to white's play on the c file.
20.h3 Bg6 21.Rcc2 Bh5 22.g4 Be8 23.g5??
23.Nxe5! dxe5 24.Bxe5 is forced and white should be ok here, although black is still slightly better.
23...Rxf3! 24.Bxf3 Qxh3
White's kingside is destroyed and Atulya mops up efficiently.
25.Rc3 Qg3+ 26.Bg2 Bxf2+ 27.Kh1 Qh4+ 28.Rh3 Qxg5 29.Qc2 Bb6 30.Qc1 Qg4 31.Qe1 Bb5

Black's bishops dominate. Three extra pawns don't hurt either!
32.Ree3 Bxe3 33.Qxe3 Bf1 34.Bxf1 Rxf1+ 35.Kh2 Ng6 36.Rg3 Qh4+ 37.Rh3 Qf2+ 0-1

There is a very large USA contingent, and I believe we are actually the largest here in Al Ain.  We have 94 kids competing and 15 coaches, along with over 100 others (parents, siblings).  I am proud to be a coach of the American team, and this is my second stint as a coach after Maribor, Slovenia 2012.

For the most part the American kids did well, and one of the players from my area, Saint Louis, MO was also successful, winning a nice attacking game in round 1.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 b5 11.Kb1

11.g4 is much more common, but the text move is also fine.
11...0-0 12.g4 h6?
Black should play 12...Nb6 with a tough game ahead. Now white is probably just winning, since she gets a big attack on black's king.

The insertion of h6 and h4 just helps white.
13...Nb6 14.g5 Nfd7 15.gxh6 g6 16.h5 g5 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Bf5 19.Rg1 f6 20.Na5

Margaret sees she is winning on both sides of the board, as black is vulnerable on the c6 square. 20...Nb8? Although Nc6 was strong, this is not a good defense! Now black has no attacking chances, and little development. The rest is easy.
21.Bd3 Bxd3 22.Qxd3 f5 23.Nb7!
Forcing the Queen away from the g5 pawn.
23...Qe8 24.Bxg5 Bxg5 25.Rxg5+ Kh8 26.Rxf5 Rxf5 27.Qxf5 Qe7 28.Rg1 Mate follows soon. A total crush from Hua. 1-0

RochelleDubai.jpgHopefully things will improve over the next few days, including food service, starting rounds on time, and showing games live over the internet.
Stay tuned for my next report in a few days and see if things indeed improve.

Find the official website at

You can follow Ben Finegold on twitter and see his blog here. Some of the players are updating fans on social media, including Brooklyn Castle star Rochelle Ballantyne on instagram (left) & Claudia Munoz on her website and twitter.