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The New Protagonist Arik Braun after Defeating Hou Yifan

In Round 9 of the World Junior Championship, the fighting spirit of the youngsters continued and the leader changed hands again. Maxim Rodshtein crowned his comeback with one of the joint leaders Chao Li. However, the new sole leader is Arik Braun who scored a vital win against Hou Yifan with white pieces. David Howell, the player who has always have the longest and the thrilling games had Ivan Popov at the other side of the table and defeated him. Arik Braun leads with 7.5 points followed by David Howell with 7 while 4-7. places Chao Li, Eltaj Safarli and Wesley So.

In Girls', Harika drew with Soumya to defend her lead with 7.5 points while Mariya Muzychuk drew with Guliskan Nakhbayeva and followed Harika at 7 points together with Miranda Mikadze who defeated Zoja Severiukhina to share 2-3.places. Detailed report below.


Curiously enough, Caro-Kann was the opening choice of the two of first three boards of the ninth round. The crucial first board game between Chao Li and Maxim Rodshtein ended as a victory for the latter who fought against Caro-Kann Advanced variation with 4.Nf3. Black managed to prevent white's initiative and was able to create strong centre in the semi-open middlegame.

You have to stop Hou Yifan, the 14-year-old Chinese, as the German IM Arik Braun did in Qc2 Queen's Indian. Braun took the space advantage and exploited bishop pair in a nice way to score an important win to take the sole lead. White played 30.Bh6 in an already nice position. 30...a5 enabled white to keep and convert the extra pawn. The capture of the bishop would not make much difference due  to 30...gh6 31.Qh6 Bc8 and 32.Re2 with the strong threat of f4. The bishop cannot be taken due to 30...gh6

In the oldest and the most classical variation of Caro-Kann Panov-Botvinnik, Howell gained the initiative thanks to his strong d pawn but Popov still put a strong resistance after giving his queen for the d pawn, rook and a bishop. Another long fight which Howell won after a patient but steady approach.

Andreikin who is back on top boards made an early draw with Safarli while on the fourth board Nguyen and Melkumyan reached the same result after a long 98-move fight.

Prodigies deep in thought: Wesley So and Parimarjan Negi

The game between Kravtsiv and So looked balanced in a Dragon. It melted down to a rook plus queen endgame with equal pawns but a passed b pawn for white. Sacrificing the strong passed pawn to create threats on the black king did not work and the 15-year-old Filipino won a crucial game. Sanikidze and Parimarjan drew their game in a routine Grunfeld not without fight.


The top Turkish player in the event , Emre Can is trying to achieve his second grandmaster norm which he was very close to after winning against Leon Hoyos from Mexico where chess players are treated like a rock star. Another Turkish player, Atakan Şirin boasted the home side after winning against Aswhin Jayaram of India and secured his IM-norm in nine rounds.

Atakan Şirin, the underdog of the event who gained an IM-norm at the end of 9 rounds.

 Sokhib Djuraev from Tajikistan

Pavel Potapov of Russia

Sarah Hoolt, a student of Essent University Businnes Administration also fond of volleyballEssen Üniversitesi'nde İşletme okuyor ve satrancı annesinden öğrenmiş. Voleybol oynamayı ve obua çalmayı seviyor.

Rajkumar Preethi

WFM Mariana Chierici (Italy)

Nadezhda Antonova, from  Tajikistan

Berker Özoğlu, another local boy from Gaziantep

World Junior Girls Championship: Harika Concedes Draw Against Soumya



After the ninth round of World Junior Girls Championship top seed Harika Dronavalli was held to a draw by her compatriot Soumya Swaminathan after neither side was able to squeeze a convertable advantage from the position. Harika is still leading after Guliskan Nakhbayev held Mariya Muzychuk to a draw without making any decisive mistake.


In the game between Severiukhina and Mikadze, white seemed to have better prospects after a Scandinavian opening game, but bishop pair might change the tables for black at any time. However, Severiukhina executed a sacrifice which was not entirely working and Mikadze managed to refute the sacrifice, repelled white's attack.


The lowest rated player on top boards, nevertheless much stronger than her rating, Guo Qi held Adriana Nikolova to a draw in a Queen's Indian. Kübra Öztürk did not have the most adorable position after the opening against Joanna Majdan in a g3 King's Indian where black already placed her knight to d4, and the king's indian bishop on g7 being already dominant over the board. However, 2-time Under 16 Girls European Champion from outskirts of the capital of Turkey, Ankara, held on to the position, played tenurely and secured a nice advantage after being able to take the initiative after taking over the only open file on board and executing her plan of f4-e4-e5 plan in an opposite colored-bishop + a pair of rooks endgame. Therefore, she gained the clear superiority in the position and went on to win a majestic game.

Sona Pertlova and Hoolt drew their games as the two strong Azerbaijanis, Narmin Kazimova and Turkan Mamedyarova. Tatev Abrahamyan, the early leader of the competition won a simple but still sophisticated rook and bishop endgame against Anna Ivakhinova.
 Turkish Chess Federation 2008