Sunday, November 22, 2009

The end by Elizabeth Sherman Graif

The last round began this morning at 10:00 , and everyone truly played their best, even after ten challenging rounds in the previous days. Now it is time to relax on the beach, and say good-bye to the Mediterranean Sea, new friends and old friends, and all the teammates who made up Team Canada this year –

Congratulations to all the players of Team Canada 2009 – you all did a great job.

Warmest thanks to coach Artiom Samsonkin and delegation head Andrei Botez, and to the parents, friends and supporters of the team who made participation in this event possible.

Richard Wang, Boys Under 12 3rd place, with Melissa & Rebecca Giblon

Richard Wang was rated #27 out of 142 in Boys Under 12 going into the tournament, and finished tied for 2nd place (3rd place after tie-breaks were applied). According to the WYCC web site, Richard was projected to win 5.5 / 11 based on his rating, but he actually won 8.5 / 11. If Richard had won his final round instead of drawing, he would have become world champion.

Richard is in his junior year of Boys Under 12, so watch out!

Round 11 pictures

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Have a Safe Trip Home

Tomorrow is the last day of the tournament. Many people will leave the next day. Hopefully people can remind each other to get up early and catch the 4am flight.

I believe every one has added some wonderful experiences to their chess career. Now we are looking forward to seeing everybody safe and sound at home.

An unfortunate incident, and a difficult lesson learned for 10 year old Melissa Giblon

In round 10 for Girls Under 10, Melissa Giblon (CFC 1253 rating) was paired with white pieces against Nisan Ulosoy from Turkey (FIDE 1612 rating) and the pre-tournament #16 rated player out of 83 girls in this section.

We had predicted that Melissa's opponent would play the French Defence based on her games to date at this tournament. It was clear from her opponent’s earlier games that she knew the main line of 3.Nd2 very well until at least 15-20 moves, so we prepared with coach Artiom a different variation (5.f4) to try to get her opponent out of her comfort zone. Melissa played the opening very well. Amazingly, not a single piece or pawn was captured until move 27, when Melissa made a mistake to drop one pawn. However, her opponent did not appear to see how to make progress despite being up a pawn.

From moves 34-39, the girls repeated the same position three times, which is a draw. After Melissa made her 39th move, she raised her hand for the arbiter, the clock was stopped, and Melissa claimed a draw. Her opponent said it wasn’t “threefold repetition” because she had made a move to a different position in the middle of that sequence of moves. Melissa correctly said that it didn’t matter, the positions didn’t have be repeated on consecutive moves, just any three times during the game. Nevertheless, the arbiter declined Melissa’s claim of a draw, without any explanation.

The girls continued in a see-saw battle for a couple of more hours into an end game which should have been a draw, due opposite coloured bishops. However, the girls each got very low on time (Melissa had 4 minutes left, her opponent had 2 minutes left at one point, although they each later gained back a few more minutes), and Melissa made a mistake to let her opponent win one of her pawns, and then promote her extra pawn into a queen and checkmate her. At 5 hours and 15 minutes, this was longest game by far that Melissa has every played in her life.

After the game, I was entering the moves into Fritz, and it popped up a message about threefold repetition of the same position. I immediately asked Melissa what happened, so she told me about the incident. I rushed with Andrei to meet with the head arbiter before the one hour deadline had passed since the game had ended. They explained that Melissa’s draw was declined due to a technicality of the rules. When claiming a draw due to threefold repetition of the position, the player cannot make their move and then claim a draw (because it’s technically no longer their turn once they have moved). They must first write down their intended move, then stop the clock and call the arbiter to claim the draw. This is an obscure and very non-intuitive rule (having to claim a draw before it has actually happened) that I suspect most tournament players are not aware of. As well, the arbiter did not explain her decision at the time, because an arbiter is not allowed to explain the rules during the game; doing so in and of itself could give one of the players additional information that they did not already have and could be used later in the game, which could be considered an unfair advantage.

This outcome really is a shame, and Andrei and I told Melissa that in our hearts we know that she got a draw against a much higher-rated player (almost 400 points higher).

Round 10 pictures

We need your help with preparation!


Richard Wang is playing tomorrow on board 2 for a chance to a gold medal at the World Youth Chess Championship:

Wang Richard 2044 CAN 8 8 FM Duda Jan-Krzysztof 2079 POL

Is late here and the tomorrow game is early for us at 10AM, if any fan from back home has time and can send any lines that might help Richard it will be greatly appreciated.

Please use this email address:

In behalf of Canadian Team in Antalya Turkey
Andrei Botez
Reply With Quote

Round 10 video

Round 10 video emailed and posted on my facebook account.

Andrei Botez

Day nine by Elizabeth Sherman Graif

Day Nine:
This is the last day that visitors and coaches can walk through the playing halls throughout the games. For the last two games, visitors and coaches are permitted for the first hour only. Following that hour, only the heads of delegation from each country are permitted to stay.
By now, even the younger players are comfortable with both the routine and the layout. There is no comparison to the chaos of the first day. Everyone arrives on time for their rounds, sets up, and the rounds begin right on time.
With the exception of the top boards, which can be followed online, the boards are set up in rows on long tables, each one with board number, chess board and pieces, electronic clock, notation sheets (with both names, and FIDE ratings if applicable, typed in), and a small acrylic stand displaying each player’s name, nationality and flag.
Everything here is well-run and well-organized. If only the internet connection were more reliable! Everyone here has been struggling with the capricious internet connection: at most hours, it does not work at all, or at best intermittently. At odd hours, one is almost guaranteed communication with the outside world, but not everyone is motivated to stay up early – or late – enough to get a connection.

Day 7 by Elizabeth Sherman Graif

Day Seven:
For those trying to find the tournament on the map, Turkey is in Asia Minor, the bridge between Europe and the Middle East, with neighbors as diverse as Greece, Armenia and Syria. Antalya is a region in southern Turkey, and much of Antalya borders the Mediterranean Sea. The Hotel Limra, host of the tournament, is just outside of the town of Kemer, which is about an hour’s drive from the city of Antalya.
With its long stretches of beaches, sunny skies and fascinating historic and natural sites, is a popular summer destination for tourists. Many signs are written in Turkish, English, German and Russian.
We are here just after the summer season, so the weather is sunny and clear, but not beach weather. Some people choose to eat breakfast outdoors, which is pleasant and sheltered from the Mediterranean breeze. By the time the players are finished their games, it is dark and surprisingly chilly.
After a free day, it is difficult for most players to return to the playing hall. Even the arbiters, coaches and parents admit that it is hard to be back and focused again. But the players settle in, determined to play their best: there are only five games left in the tournament.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Round 6 Video posted

Also on my facebook account.

Andrei Botez

Day Five by Elizabeth Sherman Graif

Today is certainly the most grueling day of the tournament. With two games – the first at 10:00 a.m. and the second at 5:00 p.m. – the players are up early and working hard until late in the day.

Due to the fact that the pairings for the games cannot be prepared and posted until after the last players in a section have completed their game, the older players’ pairings for the second round were not posted until about an hour before the game. While this was nerve-wracking for the players who like to analyze their opponents’ games and prepare opening strategies, it did put everyone at an equal disadvantage: no one had much time to prepare.

At this point, there are many familiar faces in each section. Many of the Canadian players stop by the board of a previous opponent, to wish them luck before the round. Not only is this a sign of friendship, and a truly wonderful sign – but the players are also, more pragmatically, hoping their previous opponents do well for reason of tiebreaks when the final results are tallied –

At lunch today, a group of players from the Canadian team were listing the countries their opponents represented, from the previous five rounds. Turkey, Greece, Iran, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Russia, Moldova, South Africa, Kenya and so on - their informal list included countries from every populated continent. What an extraordinary opportunity for these kids – not only a chance to meet people from everywhere, but also the top chess players from each of these countries –

Rebecca Giblon's comeback win in round 7

See if you can find the game-saving move for white to move in this position and win material. Rebecca (CFC 1503) was losing but found this nice sacrifice, and subsequently went on to defeat Anastasya Paramzina from Russia (FIDE 1712). This was Rebecca's third consecutive win - seven of her first eight opponents were rated 200 points or more above her.

Round 7 pictures

Round 5 video - posted

Also available on my facebook.


Games from the last Turkish Youth Championship

Can be downloaded from this page:


Right top corner "PGN"

Round 6 pictures