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  1. #1
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    World Youth REPORT

    starting a new thread for this is a bit extreeme; however I was asked by a few people to do this, so blame them.

    I set off to my destination from our very own city of Melbourne with some trepadition. Battling against the world's best in a little game that I like to call chess, was going to be no piece of cake. As I was seeded way below the middle of the field I was in for a heck of a rough tournament. My three goals for the tournament was to give my chess the best shot I could, to learn more about the intricacies of chess through playing it day in day out and through our coaching with Ian Rogers and my last goal was to meet as many interesting people as I could and experience as much as possible.
    My two day trip took me to the venue a day early so as to adjust to the timezone and facilities on offer. The hotel was beautiful and the weather was sunny, a pity we would spend most of our time playing chess! Most of the Australian team, fourteen in all, was already present and I whiled away the day with the older kids with a bit of soccer, table tennis and good old fashioned exploring. Our coach, Ian Rogers, who has played chess once or twice gave us a pre-tournament run down of what was likely to occur and what we should expect. To sum it up in a sentence, the gist of it was; "Your all going to lose a lot of games and maybe one of you might do well." That got us really psyched up and ready to go. At night we started up a poker game and most of them never having played before, I thought that my wallet was going to get some injection of Euro. After losing 10 Euro, I stormed off to have a few drinks with the British team and coaches after several complaints about the noise levels however we all hesitantly turned in, dreading the gruelling test of mental and physical fitness that was to come.
    The food at the facility was quiet a sight, a 5 star buffet meal awaited us at every turn; cakes, pies, pastries, fruit, meat, salads and many mouth watering delacasies were on offer. I settled my pre-game nerves with a few cups of coffee and a not-so-healthy dose of eggs and bacon. The Australian team then retired to the pool to swim and to play some water polo. The first round came and everything started smoothly for the organizers and players. In my first round I was up against a mere 2450 Columbian IM, he was quiet intimidating and proved his rating was well earnt, as he sneakly got me with an opening trap in a opening that I had been playing for the last 7 years. It was a little embarrasing as our under 10 girl candidate knew the trap very well and showed me later what I should have played!
    In the morning we were sitting around the pool outside our rooms and since there had been nothing of note occuring, so we all jumped in the pool with our clothes on. This seemed like a good omen for my game as my opponent was a Sri Lankan and they do not float so well. We went into my Averbahk, his knights continuously kept trying to infiltrate my position but my brave pawns held them off, eventually a double sacrafice on my part handed me the advantage on a silver platter, which I converted into a goal. It was my favourite game of the tournament as the first win is always the sweetest. After dinner I caught up with an old Russian friend over coffee, we had been the best of friends 8 years previously in the World Youth Championships in Menorca, Spain. She had been the U/10 World Champion and was now an IM which was a little bit intimidating.
    The big two rounder dawned upon us. Some of us had to wake up at the crack of dawn to get some coaching. These days were the hardest and the most punishing. Two mind numbing, torturous games played one after the other. Some of us would make it or be broken or make it later and be broken later or had made it already and chose not to break as they were flexible. In my first round I was up against a Khazikstan 2300 with the black pieces, he was an old friend from the Under 16 Olympiad in Malaysia a few years back so there was little rivalry. We played a beautiful game, however I waited too long to make a necassary rook sacrafice and I was not able to get enough pressure for the rook. I was not too upset by the loss since we both played very well. After a well earnt nap and a lunch fit for a king, I found myself paired off as white againt a mere 2310, in normal tournament you get easier players on a score of 1/3! He looked like a dweeb. He looked as though he was about to cry all game which made me feel kind of sorry for him. In the game we took up our battle positions on the field and I was looking down the barrel of a rock solid hedgehog. His dweeby face however made me confident he was not sure of his plan and combined with my mental fatigue, I hatched a plan of shuffling my pieces around aimlessly to conserve time and energy. Sure enough his dweebiness shone through and he got into bad time trouble and he dropped a pawn. He defended beautifuly under time pressure and held on to a draw. I had missed a few attacking chances but all in all it had been a successful game. The fatigue was beggining to hit everyone and moods were low and everyone was very subdued, it felt like our bodies had been leeched off energy, by energy sucking leeches.
    Once again I was paired of with white against the Columbians, this time an unrated, which was a bit disconcerting since unrated could be anywhere from 0 to 2300 in strength, definitely disconcerting. However the mighty Averbahk prevailed again and claimed yet another bloody scalp. I was on a par score (50%) and quiet pleased with myself since the field that I was playing was quiet strong. Meanwhile, Sherab, a fellow Australian teammate and myself, had made friends with the less strict and less sober New Zealand team who challenged us to various card games in the evening and we whiled away the night strengthening the ANZAC alliance.
    Rest night was approaching fast, after this game we could put our feet up for 24 hours and rest our fizzled brains, but round 6 first. I was up against a Russian speaking giant. As he lumbered to the board and shook my hand I could feel the bones grinding together as we wished each other good luck. I had the black pieces and my Pirc took a battering (again). I was positionally down very badly and decided to sacrafice an exchange for some activity. Sure enough he blundered a pawn and let me back into the game. He was very mad at this point in the game and went outside to smoke, grumbling all the way. In the end he managed to grab a perpetual check after sacraficing a rook. My score was ticking along and it was rest night! It was like a weight had been lifted of ones shoulders. Everyone was in party mode and the bottle shop down the road seemed especially full. The disco, the hotel had two nightclubs, was in full swing till four in the morning. This release was sorely needed by all the competitors and the old coaches who sat around in groups in the disco and perved on the dancers.
    The rest day came and everyone awoke with sore heads. It was a beautiful sunny day, warm and perfect, and best of all no chess! There had been a tour in the morning but it was a little too early for most people so not many of our team went along. After lunch the Aussie team and New Zealand team once again joined forces against the might of Canada in the game of water polo. It lasted for several hours and even though we had midgets, women and New Zealanders on our team we defeated them 10 to 4. The ANZAC coalition triumphed yet again. After that match we went for a swim in the Mediteranian sea, which was about 10 degrees warmer then the swimming pools. The hotel food up to this point had been very nice, but the unfortunate thing was that day in, day out the food was the same! And the quality of it had been steadily decreasing, with such a high demand, there were about 3000 people eating every day, every meal. That would give any cook nightmares. So we went out into the town and feasted on some well deserved pizza's and hotdogs. The coaches had been trying to drum into me that I should be the responsible one of the team since I was the oldest however I do not know if I was the right choice for that position of responsible one. I went and bought me a BB gun and 1000 bullets. We whiled away a lazy afternoon shooting the British team as they were getting preparation for their next game since they were staying twenty metres from our balcony. After they had enough and we had been told off by the head of their delegation, we had to resort to shooting each other. All good things have to come to an end and the sun set and we retired to get some sleep for the double round next day.
    Again we woke at the crack of dawn and trudged to our coaching. I was up against yet another 2310 Ukranian and my goal was to get an early draw and to concerve the brain power that I had regenerated for my afternoon game also my laundry needed doing. I got 20 moves of preparation with which I slammed down every move instantly with a hard intimidating bang every time, I could see that this had intimidated him somewhat and when he fell for a prepared positional trap that was enough for him and I got my quick draw wish and some clean clothes. Instead of a nap this time I opted for a refreshing swim since it had been a good omen previously. However this time it proved not to be the case. I was up with white against an Iranian 2250 strength, he played a tricky move order in the queen gambit exchange and I made a few positional errors early. This proved to be my downfall as I instantly became assaulted on the kingside by all of his pieces. This was not very fun as he slowly grinded me down to mince meat. He really needed a haircut and thats all I have to say about that.
    I had began to feel like a zombie somewhat as my brain was sizzled every day over and over. The team was doing very well and there were no players that were getting totally mauled, most of us were on par or better scores (50%+). I was up against a Lithuanian IM, who took appart my pirc like a hungry starving dog takes appart a roasted chicken, which was not very pleasant. My chess was deteriating slightly with the state of my fatigue and I took many naps by the pool to try and correct this.
    The following day I was up with black against Jason, a fellow Australian, and we did not do battle as we were allies and took a draw. I enjoyed spending a relaxing day walking around looking over the GM games in the tournament. The lower tournaments were very strong this year. With about five 2500's in the U/18's, 3 in the U/16's and 2 in the U/14's. I also went around that day trying to get all the GM's at the tournament to sign my Australian jacket, I got 7 that day including the infamous Ivanchuk, who is pretty strong. It was getting to the end of the tournament and it was a little sad since I had made so many new friends. It was amazing how many english speaking nations there were attending at the tournament; English, Welsh, Irish, South Africans, New Zealands, Australians, Canadians and even some Americans. And dozens of nations where English was the second language. The mix of accents was quiet an experience and I made some effort to meet people from all those countries. Knowing how to speak Russian was a bit of a bonus as half the people at the tournament came from Russia, once upon a time.
    In the last round I was up with white against a 2100 and we went down Kramniks line of the Grunfeld. He knew the theory very well and we ended up in a fairly drawn endgame of bishop verses knight in which I had a slightly retarded pawn structure. It ended up in a draw as I couldn't convert the advantage of having the bishop against the knight due to the stupid pawns. That was it, over, finito, completed. The pressure had been deflated and I saw a whole lot more smiles that day then through the previous week. The bottle shop was very packed indeed that day. The party that night really went off as everyone stayed at the disco till dawn. It was also a bit saddening as I had to say bye to most of my friends as they were leaving early morning.
    Through our team we had some very amazing peformances. Firstly and most amazingly Raymond Song, finishing =1st in the WORLD! 9/11(+7!) he came equal first with 3 others, including a little 2300 and a 2200 girl. The next best was Moulthan from Queensland, who finished on a awesome 7.5/11! (+4), who did not drop any points with black. Everyone enjoyed the tournament and got a lot of chess and more importantly life experience from it. It was my last junior tournament and I had made the most of it.
    Everyone else on the Australian team opted to go back to Australia afterwards, but I used my chance of being in Europe to go to Egypt for a week. So I spent a week; riding camels around the pyramids, sailing down the nile and swimming with the crocodiles, getting ripped off by the street vendors, exploring the countless temples with their beautiful carvings, and meeting really interesting people (there are a lot of runaway criminals from europe in egypt!). In Ciaro I made some effort to track down a really famous chess cafe, and I spent a day there playing blitz against some Egyptians, some of the people there had been playing in that cafe for 40 years nearly every day!
    Finally I came back home. The good thing about travelling is that it makes you appriciate how good home is and how many things we take for granted, like being able to walk around in your socks, not locking the bathroom, having shaving cream, sleeping in the same bed every time, not having mosquitos, good weather, good music and thousands of other things. Its good to be back.

  2. #2
    CC FIDE Master
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    An informative and entertaining read. Thanks!
    we have between us the barrier of a common language

  3. #3
    Account Permanently Banned
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    Thanks Denis, I really enjoyed the read, the highs and lows.
    Your first effort many years ago was a poster with pics on the club-room notice-board. Now you paint the pics with your words. Well done.

    Hey, Casey Hickman...how did you go? Love to hear about your trip too.

    starter

  4. #4
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    Im trying to get the other competitors to post their stories of the tournament on this thread but they are all quiet slow so it is taking some time.

  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Good morning! Now that has to be the BB post of the year . . .

    We are eagerly awaiting the others' reports.

    AR

  6. #6
    CC resident nutcase Trent Parker's Avatar
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    Bravo!! Denis!
    Excellent post. An excellent read!!!!!
    GO THE DRAGONS!
    GO Western Sydney Wanderers!
    Quote Originally Posted by Adamski's signature
    God exists. Short and to the point.
    This is the reason I do not wade into religion threads.

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