11th World Youth U26 Team Chess Championship: Sáenz Peña 1997

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Basic data

11th World Youth U26 Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 5th - 15th August 1997
City: Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña*, Chaco province, Argentina
* The city was in 1914 named after Argentinian president Roque Sáenz Peña.
Venue: Hotel Gualok
Tournament Director: Mr. Raúl Gerardo Bittel (ARG)
Chief Arbiter: IA Adrián Roldán (ARG)
Teams participating: 18 (incl.Argentina "B"; Argentina "C" played only one match and were withdrawn to make number of participating teams even)
Players participating: 105 (incl. 3 GMs, 20 IMs, 6 FMs and 1 WIM)
Games played: 320 (incl. 20 forfeits)
Competition format: Four board seven round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Buchholz; 3. Match points
Time control: N/A
Official logo: Sáenz Peña 1997
Website: Federación Chaqueña de Ajedrez (cached)
Downloadable game file: 97wtch-u26.zip

Tournament review

The 1997 Youth U26 Championship was once again awarded to the Latin American country to come back to Argentina after 12 years. It is interesting to note that the event was officially numbered as tenth ("X World Team Chess Championship U26"), although it was actually eleventh edition. 18 teams arrived, of which 12 came from South America. Europe was represented by only three nations: Russia, Georgia and Slovenia, but they even did not send a single GM to Argentina. Only two Indian players arrived but the team did not withdraw and the Indians decided to carry uneven struggle. Argentina's first team was top seeded led by GM Spangenberg and GM Zarnicki followed by Kazakhstan (GM Kotsur), Georgia, Russia, Argentina "B" etc...

The Gualok Hotel (venue)Argentina took off well dismissing Russia 3-1 on day two while Slovenia and Georgia took early lead. In round #4 Spangenberg went on for a brilliant win vs Kacheishvili of Georgia (Elo 2550!) to lead his team to a 3-1 win, practically sealing their gold medals. Kazakhstan, who came late and missed round one quickly joined the leading group (but their Buchholz was harmed forever), to defeat the leaders on the next day. Georgia made up for the lost ground defeating Russia. Halfway standings: Argentina 14½; Kazakhstan 13½; Russia and Georgia 13.

On the next day Argentina denied Slovenia to dispel their hopes while Kazakhstan wiped out Georgia by 4-0, a quite sensational margin. Russia lost some ground dropping 1½ point vs the Filipino team. On penultimate day Argentina extended margin of their lead beating Chile while the contenders (Russia and Kazakhstan) drew with each other. With last round to go Argentina had a half of a point edge over Kazakhstan and much easier opposition. There was no surprise to see them beating the Philippines 3-1. Kazakhstan fought hard only to win 2½-1½ with Chile. Russia took bronze while Georgia came in fourth. India scored 10 points and did not come last! Argentina's reserve teams produced quite disappointing result. As far as individual results are concerned Spangenberg of Argentina not only lead his team to a win but also took the prize for best result at top board himself. The best overall result was achieved by Kazhgaleyev of Kazakhstan (6½/7). Top two teams played really good chess and only Kotsur's poor play at top board for Kazakhstan stopped the Asians from stealing the title.

That was the very end of the World U26 Team Championship. Due to limited interest and ruined prestige FIDE authorities decided to cease it and replace with the Junior U20 Team Championship starting from 1998.

The event's website offers a very wide choice of press releases and other information (in Spanish only).

Best board results

bd name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Spangenberg, Hugo ARG 9 83.3
2. Ovechkin, Roman RUS 9 72.2
3. IM Kazhgaleyev, Murtas KAZ 7 92.9
4. Egorov, Evgeny KAZ 5 90.0
1 res. Rentería Becerra, Jorge COL 5 70.0
2 res. Steinhoff, Igor Muramatsu BRA 4 6 66.7

Interesting games

Black chose the Latvian Gambit and went on for a quick and brilliant win.
Escobar Forero, Alder (COL) - Cueto Chajtur, Jhonny (BOL) 0 - 1

A very cute trap in an interesting gambit line.
Shtanchaev, Abdul (RUS) - Muñiz, Rafael (URU) 1 - 0

The game of the two top rated players was full of unexpected turnovers.
Kacheishvili, Giorgi (GEO) - Spangenberg, Hugo (ARG) 0 - 1

That's a very passive opening line but it may well surprise your opponent.
Ramírez, César (PER) - Medina, Vicente (PAR) 1 - 0

A good and simple way of refuting the Two Knights Defence.
Kazhgaleyev, Murtas (KAZ) - Valerga, Diego (ARG) 1 - 0