Largest World Youth Championship Ever Comes to an End in Al-Ain

  • PeterDoggers
  • on 29.12.13, 02:49.

The 2013 World Youth Championship was held in Al Ain, UAE from December 18-28, 2013. There were sections for players Under 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8. There were also these sections for girls in those age categories. This World Youth was the largest in history, with about 1900 participants.

The host city for the World Youth was “Garden City” Al Ain, the second largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Wikipedia tells us that with a population of 568,221 (2010), it is located approximately 160 km east of the capital Abu Dhabi and about 120 km south of Dubai.

The tournament ran from 17 to 28 December with about 1900 participants from more than a 100 different chess federations. It was organized under FIDE aegis by the Al Ain Chess Club. The venue was UAE University's Central Educational Institution.

Photo courtesy of the official website

At the start it became clear that the organizers might have underestimated the ramifications of holding the largest World Youth in history — see GM Ben Finegold's report below. Another remarkable development concerned the Israeli participants: the official site did not use the Israeli flag or the abbreviation ISR but mentioned all players as “FIDE”.

The same website does have a nice way of showing the top six finishers in each section, with photographs hyperlinked to small biographies and all individual results. More chess websites should have such functionality! We've taken screen shots so that you can see the top players in all age categories:

Girls U8 Girls U10
Girls U12 Girls U14
Girls U16 Girls U18
Open U8 Open U10
Open U12 Open U14
Open U16 Open U18

The rest of this article is an eye-witness report by GM Ben Finegold, one of the coaches of the USA.

The USA sent its largest delegation ever, with 94 kids and over 230 overall (parents, coaches, siblings, etc.). There were 15 coaches for the US Team, and since I had such an enjoyable time last year in Maribor, Slovenia, I decided to join the team for a 2nd time.

Unfortunately, the organization was not great, and there were a host of issues which made the experience a bit less enjoyable than expected. The first few days, food lines were massive. People waited 40-60 minutes in line, and sometimes there was little food at the end of the wait! Also, the food was NOT worth waiting for.


The first round started hours late. Live game transmission was non-existent the first few rounds, then very shabby later. There were lots of errors in the pairings and arbiters didn't seem to know the rules! In one instance, a US player was deducted 10 minutes because she did not ask to go to the bathroom, and had the *nerve* to go on her own. This was NOT a tournament rule, but the arbiter thought it was, since it had been in other tournaments she directed!

I could go on and on about the bad organization of the tournament, but let's talk about the good stuff instead! The US Team won two medals, one gold and one silver, both in the U10 section. Awonder Liang was the highest rated, and scored 10-1 to win easily. David Peng scored 9-2 and won silver. Both players had no draws!

I coached six kids (each coach had 6-7 kids) and my best placing participant was Ed Song, who scored 8-3 in the U14 section.

The following position looks trivially drawn, but Song made the win look routine!

Junior games are often brutal. In the top section, U18, one of the highest rated participants gives a dizzying tactical display!

The closing ceremony was very odd as well. The winners in each section were announced, but it was impossible to hear. Then, at the end, scores of balloons were dropped from up above to finish the ceremony. It was pandemonium at its finest!

I would like to personally thank all the coaches, Aviv Friedman, head of delegation (and coach!), and Jerry Nash, who provided these nice pictures in my article! Next years event will take place in late September in South Africa. I hope I will be asked to be a coach for my third consecutive year, and I have no doubt it will be better organized and more fun than ever. Now begins the long trek home, via London, Newark, Albuquerque, and then a 1000+ mile drive to Saint Louis! I expect to be home by 4AM, January 2. Wish me luck!

Praggnanandhaa Ramesh Babu of India scored 11.0/11 in the U8! | Photo courtesy of the official website

8285 Aufrufe 26 Kommentare
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  • vor 3 Jahre


    I was there with my child. We participated to many International tournaments. Here the athmosphere was brilliant, the local people were extremely helpful and friendly. There were certainly problems at the beginning, such as the food queues, but they improved within a couple of days. The food was abundant and quite varied. OK, after 2 weeks it became a bit boring, but we could not complain. I have been to tournament, where we spent a fortune to be there and the food was terrible and we ended up eating outside. People complained about the food queues and they were right, however it did not help when people queued up at the same time, because they could not be bothered to eat their breakfast early. The restaurant was open for breakfast at 06:00am until 09:30 (extended to 10:00), we went there at about 07:00 and there was no queue. When our friends went to have their breakfast, at about 09:10, they found a big queue, because just like them, people got up late. This really did not help the situation. One needs to be a bit organised. The facilities were brilliant. We had buses going back and forth to the tournament hall, we could also walk, because the distance was not much. We had gym and beauty facilities. They organised daily excursions for those who wanted to visit other places and many of them were free. There was free Wi-Fi everywhere and plenty sitting places. By far, the best tournament so far for us. Lots of mistakes were made and the Blitz tournament was a catastrophe, but otherwise the actual tournament was really good. We enjoyed it very much. I never heard of politics while I was there. The local were so polite and well mannered that they were an example for many countries.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Congratulations!!!!! Fahad........... and HaPpY nEw YeAr 2014  ...

  • vor 3 Jahre


    India performed awsum!!

  • vor 3 Jahre

    NM vrekhson

    According to the Israeli Chess Federation website, the flag was not used due to the request of the Israeli security officials who did not want to create extra danger for the kids.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    I remember when Harmony kicked my ass

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Fun read, thanks.

  • vor 3 Jahre


    One of my students played in this event. I'm sure it was a great experience!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Harmony was in my chess club until she moved to Toronto. Unbelievable she got 1st.

  • vor 3 Jahre

    IM Kacparov

    One thing that I have to add is that in case of the same amount of points, the tie-break was number of wins. Usually, it made people with lowest Bucholz and lowest rating performance come in front, and it generally paid off to lose a game in the beginning of the tournament...

  • vor 3 Jahre


  • vor 3 Jahre

    IM JMB2010

    U-10 gold-silver sweep!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Beautiful miniature!!

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Safe travels and good luck going home, GM Finegold!

  • vor 3 Jahre


  • vor 3 Jahre


    it's not straight antisemitism, arab countries would have recognized a jewish located in another place

  • vor 3 Jahre


    "the official site did not use the Israeli flag or the abbreviation ISR but mentioned all players as “FIDE”. 

    when will those people think of keeping politics out of sport !

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Read the sections on 'Law' and 'Human Rights' in the Wikipedia entry on the United Arab Emirates'. It's astonishing to me that anybody, not just Israelis, would willingly partcipate in a competition held in such an, uh, 'questionable' environment. Brave people, on and off the board! 

    From Wikipedia: "The Federal Supreme Court (of U.A.E.) ruled that wife-beating is not illegal, as long as it leaves no physical marks on the victim."

    Real forward-thinking, twenty-first century jurisprudence. Maybe this is a typo or something.......?

  • vor 3 Jahre



  • vor 3 Jahre


    Why was the Israeli flag not used!?

  • vor 3 Jahre


    Another remarkable development concerned the Israeli participants: the official site did not use the Israeli flag or the abbreviation ISR but mentioned all players as “FIDE”.

    I would have loved if an israeli would have won and showed up with the israeli flag.

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