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European Youth
Well done to everyone on a great finish! Nine points is a great haul any day and everyone deserves enormous credit for playing right to the very end. Many thanks to Alan whom I know was working long hours every day to support our squad. A special thanks to Hugh for kindly (and bravely!) stepping in for this very tough role after Paul had his stroke. I think we had a relatively successful tournament and it's always great just to be involved in a pinnacle event such as this,

Well done everyone!
Having come to the end of a wonderful tournament, it is time to look back at some of the highlights. Here is Ian's round 7 game, where he crushes his opponent with an opposite coloured bishops attack.

[pgn][Event "European Youth Chess Championship B16"]
[Site "Prague, Top Hotel Prague"]
[Date "2012.08.23"]
[Round "7.50"]
[White "Kishmariya, Daur"]
[Black "McDonald, Ian"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C50"]
[BlackElo "1869"]
[Annotator "McClement, Andrew"]
[PlyCount "72"]
[EventDate "2012.08.17"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Nf3 d6 {It has transposed to a
Gioco Pianissimo, a very quiet opening with little chance for advantage for
either side.} 6. O-O Bg4 7. Be3 $6 (7. h3 Bh5 8. Bg5 Nd4 9. g4 Bg6 10. Nd5 $14)
7... Nd4 $1 8. Bxd4 Bxd4 9. Ne2 $2 (9. h3 Bh5) 9... Bxf3 $1 {Taking the chance
to double white's pawns and open his king.} 10. gxf3 Bb6 (10... Bxb2 11. Rb1 {
is not what black wants.}) 11. Ng3 $6 {THe knight does little here.} (11. d4 {
blocking the diagonal might have been white's best try.}) 11... h5 $1 {Going
for the jugular.} 12. Kh1 h4 13. Nf5 g6 $17 14. Ne3 Nh5 15. Rg1 Ng3+ $1 16.
fxg3 Bxe3 {Opposite coloured bishops favour the attacker, as the attack can be
carried out completely on one colour complex.} 17. Rg2 hxg3 18. Rxg3 Qh4 19.
Rg2 Qf4 20. Qe2 Rh3 21. Rf1 Ke7 $1 {Clearing the path for the a8 rook.} 22. c3
Rah8 $19 23. b4 {White is simply timewasting.} Qh4 24. f4 {Bf4 and Bxh2 is
threatened.} (24. Bd5 Bf4 25. Rff2 c6 26. Bb3 Bg3 27. Rf1 Bxh2) 24... Bxf4 25.
Qf2 Rxh2+ {Going into a winning endgame.} (25... Qh7 $1 {Keeping up all the
threats. Bxh2 cannot be prevented.} 26. Bd5 Kd8 27. Bxb7 Bxh2 28. Qxf7 Bg3+
29. Rh2 Rxh2+ 30. Kg1 Bf2+ 31. Rxf2 Rh1+ 32. Kg2 Qh3#) 26. Rxh2 Qxh2+ 27. Qxh2
Rxh2+ 28. Kg1 Rc2 29. Rf3 Rc1+ 30. Kg2 Rc2+ 31. Kg1 Rxc3 32. Rh3 Kf6 33. Rh7
Kg5 $1 {Going on a king walk for mate.} 34. Rxf7 Kg4 35. Rh7 Kf3 36. Rh3+ Bg3

At times it was a bloodthirsty tournament, as demonstrated by the small number of draws. The 40 move Sofia rule preventing draws before that point certainly made for some interesting games which would otherwise have been agreed drawn.

The large number of byes and defaults was slightly disappointing (but what can you do when your opponent is hospitalised) as I know everyone was keen to play chess every day. Nevertheless, everyone has come away with at least one good win.

A major vote of thanks must go to Hugh and Alan. Hugh did a great job with the younger ones, helping them learn their lines through key ideas and honing their tactical skills with puzzles. As Head of Delegation he was ever ready with biting wit and friendly advice. He organised everything necessary to allow us to play some amazing chess, ensuring that everyone knew about special rules such as the 40 move Sofia rule, not leaving the playing hall before the game is finished and the zero minute default rule. (I've always wondered about that wording. Does that mean you can be 59 seconds late?) He also bore with us teasing him with innumerable "Hugh's there?" jokes.

Alan helped everyone prepare and was always ready to go through everyone's games even until 10, 11 o'clock or even later. The importance of having a coach at these events cannot be overestimated in my opinion, as evidenced by the English with 5 GMs and sundry others!

To finish, I believe everyone had a great time, finishing on a high. I hope the next Euros/Worlds is as successful.

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