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World Junior under 20 - Italy
Good luck to Murad.
Good luck to Murad in today's final round in an extremely strong tournament. He isn't in contention at the top end of this ultra-strong event (Murad started with a GM in round 1, who was not even a particular favourite to win the championship!) but I am sure that the experience gained will stand him in good stead as he gets better and better in the future. Here's hoping he ends the event with an outgoing flourish!
The juniors, 'enjoying' the cold and snow high up in their North Italian mountain playing venue, got a mention, by the way, by a proud Italian Chess Federation Vice President at the closing ceremony of the World seniors chess championships in Acqui Terme last weekend. Proud to co-host both events in the country!
Weather was milder in Acqui Terme, which is at sea level ... and perhaps more suited the 'oldies'!
It's great to see Murad representing Scotland in such an event and as Craig says the experience will be invaluable.

A point to note is the strength in depth and the opportunities available to many of his opponents. As an example, I played his first round opponent GM Shevchenko (now rated 2550) twice - he was a 2443-rated FM last summer in Pardubice and an untitled 2141-rated player in 2015 in Brno... and he is still an under16!

The difference is not necessarily one of 'talent' of course - Shevchenko is basically playing chess full-time, in strong tournaments (Biel Masters for example, and Bundesliga among many others) and has a coach who works with him constantly, including during tournaments. His goal is obviously quite different from that of our best young players and I'm not sure how - or even if - we should look to replicate this kind of approach?

That being said, I'm pleased and impressed that Murad himself has improved so much recently. If he has the time and wherewithall to stick at it he will be challenging for Scotland adult international honours soon enough.

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