8th World Youth U26 Team Chess Championship: Maringá 1991

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Basic data

8th World Youth U26 Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 1st - 11th September 1991
City: Maringá, Brazil
Venue: Maringá Clube
Tournament Director: Mr. Esaú Souza Silva jr (BRA)
Chief Arbiter: IA Carlos Barriquello Calleros (BRA)
Teams participating: 18 (incl. three Brazilian teams)
Players participating: 98 (incl. 2 GMs, 15 IMs and 11 FMs)
Games played: 324 (IND fielded only three men
and forfeited 15 games)
Competition format: Four board nine round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Buchholz
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours, then each next 20 moves in 1 hour
Interesting Web sites: An article by Robert Byrne
Downloadable game file: 91wtch-u26.zip

Tournament review

Eighteen teams (including two reserve Brazilian teams) came to Maringá to compete for the World U26 Championship challenge cup. As the prestige of the event has fallen dramatically since early 1980's most of world's top nations ignored the Championship. Still, a lot of promising players arrived, including one Vladimir Kramnik, an obscure 16-year-old player from the Soviet Union who played at board 2 for the Soviet team. The Soviets were by far the strongest site with Epishin at top board (rated 2615) and a pack of 2500's. USA were second seeded, led by Patrick Wolff (2545), then came Argentina (G. Bianchi) and Switzerland led by Lucas Brunner (Elo 2505) but their average Elo was by over 120 points interior to that of the American team.

That the Soviets are to make it for the fifth (and last) time in the history of the event became clear after three days as they mercilessly wiped out their most dangerous opposition, Argentina and the United States, by 3½-½ each. On the fourth day they confirmed their domination hammering fourth seeds Switzerland by the same margin. USA defeated Argentina on day five in the decisive encounter in the run for silver. The chase for bronze was a little bit closer. As Argentina dropped some points they weren't able to earn safe advantage over the peloton. With two days to go they had a 2½ margin over Uruguay and possibly could have lost it had only Uruguay managed to beat them by the big margin in the direct match, but it wasn't so, and the match was tied at 2-2. It was Brazil "C" who came fourth thanks to stunning finish (7½/8), but they played outside the competition and fourth place went officially to Finland.

The Soviets were dominant all over the field. They conceded only one game loss (Epishin vs Manninen of Finland). Kramnik's debut was a clear 6/6. Patrick Wolff of USA won gold individual medal at board #1 with 6/7. Argentina's best player was Ariel Sorín (6½/8). Brazil fielded two very young boys to play at lower boards: Giovanni Vescovi for "A" team and Rafael Leitão for "C" team. Although none of them scored particularly well, apparently this was the very beginning of their international career. Other best individual results were scored by Mexico's top board Hernández (7½/9 at top board, performed at 2640), David of Luxembourg (7/9) and previously mentioned Manninen at top board for Finland (6½/9, performed at 2580).

Individual medals

no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Wolff, Patrick USA 6 7 85.7
2. FM Kramnik, Vladimir URS 6 6 100.0
3. FM Ibragimov, Ildar URS 6 91.7
4. Kharlov, Andrei URS 6 6 100.0
1 res. IM Sorokin, Maxim URS 5 90.0
2 res. IM Sakaev, Konstantin URS 5 90.0

Interesting games

An interesting theoretical Caro-Kann dispute.
Wolff, Patrick (USA) - Epishin, Vladimir (URS) 0 - 1

White sacrificed both Rooks at the same a1 square.
Kharlov, Andrei (URS) - Edelman, Daniel (USA) 1 - 0

Fabulous! Two pieces sacrificed to go on for a brilliant win.
Gurevich, Ilya (USA) - Pelikian, Jefferson (BRA2) 0 - 1

The King's Gambit offers full choice of tactical possibilities.
Egger, Jorge (CHI) - Miranda, Luis (BOL) 1 - 0