7th Children's Chess Olympiad: Artek 1999

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Basic data

7th Children's Chess Olympiad
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 9th - 21st September 1999
City: Artek, Ukraine
Venue: International Children's Center Artek, Crimea, Ukraine
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 30 (incl. Russia "B", Ukraine "B" and "C", Uzbekistan "B")
Players participating: 139 (incl. 1 GM and 4 FMs)
Games played: 528 (Australia lost 3 games by forfeit, no info on TKM-TJK match)
Note! Detailed results are not confirmed.
Competition format: Four board nine round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points, 2. Buchholz, 3. Match points
Time control: N/A
Downloadable game file: 99child.zip

Tournament review

Picture from Artek 2000In a unique gathering befitting a special occasion for kings, the future World Chess Champions participating at the 1999 Children's Chess Olympiad, had the rare privilege of being honoured by four Heads of States. The Heads of States who joined the FIDE President, H. E. Kirsan Ilumzhinov in declaring the 1999 Children's Olympiad open, included the host President of the Republic of Ukraine, H. E. Leonid Kuchma, H. E. Robert Kocharian of Armenia, H.E. Pietr Luchinsky of Moldova and H.E. Rudolf Schuster of Slovakia, who later joined his counterparts at this colourful event.

President Kuchma welcomed the participants to the hospitable land of Ukraine, especially the Children's centre of excellence in Artek, adding that events such as the Olympiad provided them with the opportunity of achieving new victories and at the same time, making new friends and having a unique experience.

FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov who was an alumnus of the Artek International Children's Centre, widely regarded as a centre of excellence in the former Soviet Union, paid tribute to President Kuchma and the government and people of the Republic of Ukraine for their hospitality. President Ilumzhinov thanked the Ukrainian Chess Federation and host Artek International Children's centre, especially its Director General, Dr. Mikhailo Sidorenko, for the outstanding preparations.

One of the highlights of the colourful opening ceremony, which featured a grand performance by over 200 artists, including many children from various parts of Ukraine, was the lighting of the Olympiad flame. This honour fell on the pride of Ukraine and of FIDE, the youngest ever Grandmaster in the world, Ruslan Ponomariov, who eventually lit up the whole arena.

/ Taken from www.fide.org /

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The Children's Chess Olympiad in Artek finished with a closing ceremony almost as spectacular as the Opening Ceremony had been. The Olympiad had consisted of 30 teams from 27 countries. Most of the eastern European countries were represented, as well as more far off countries, such as China, Vietnam, Japan, Belgium and South Africa.

The Australian team was dogged by misfortune - late flights, missing luggage and a virus that laid low 3 team members at various times. In spite of having a reserve, 10% of games had to be forfeited due to illness.

The team was Zong Yuan Zhao, Gareth Oliver, Chris Page and Rhendon Cook with Shannon Oliver as a reserve. After round 5 Zhao left to play in the U20s and the whole team moved up, with Shannon slotting in on Board 4. Due to a bizarre interpretation of the rules, Shannon had earlier had to play on Board 3, when Chris was in Hospital, fortunately this was not enforced when Zong Yuan left, otherwise Shannon would have had to play on Board 1, instead of Gareth.

The competition was very strong, with Ruslan Ponomariov, playing board 1 for the Ukraine and more than half the competitors with FIDE ratings. Gareth played 5 FIDE rated players, Zhao 3, Shannon 2 and Rhendon 1. This was fantastic experience for the children and of course the main reason for going. All children won games and Australia ended up with a score of 11½ and 28th position. The Ukraine came first with a score of 24. Georgia was second and China third.

The competition was very well run and the organisers did everything possible to make it an enjoyable experience. The scenery was spectacular and many interesting "tourist" places to be seen (all the better, because there weren't any tourists). Manuel as usual did a great job coaching the children. Our guide Tania became a close friend and Veronica Klimenko was an angel in disguise, as she assumed the role of interpreter and nurse, before she had to go to the U20s.

/ Written by Jenni Oliver /

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The seventh World Children's Chess Olympics, attended by thirty teams, has ended at the Artek International Children's Center in the Crimea. It is a pleasure to note that Ukraine's first national team led the pack. Renowned chess observer Yukhym LAZAREV commented for The Day:

“There is nothing unexpected in this, for the winning team was headed by the world's youngest grand master Ruslan Ponomariov from Donetsk oblast. True, the home team's coaches had to worry some our boys had their bad days in the middle of the tournament: three defeats in a row at the hands of their peers from China, Rumania, and Armenia. However, the trepidation soon melted away: Ukraine's second team surged ahead and had an excellent chance to win gold medals on the eve of the final round. But, as it often happens not only to young but also to famous competitors, the premonition of success played a cruel joke at the last moment and shook the boys' nerves. They suffered a crushing defeat and as a result sank to fifth place. But their compatriots, on the contrary, rallied and made mincemeat out of Azerbaijani chess players. This victory in fact determined the final winner and allowed them to score 24 points, leaving behind the national teams of Georgia and China. And Ruslan Ponomariov became best in the individual classification, having lost only half a point. A brilliant victory for the fall!”

/ written by Olexandr Honcharuk, «The Day», No. 36, September 28, 1999 /

Best board results

The system allowed board order be changed throughout the event, which is why board order as well as individual prizes for respective boards are impossible to retrieve. The bulletin is not available at the moment.

Interesting games

One of best Ponomariov's wins.
Ni Hua (CHN) - Ponomariov, Ruslan (UKR) 0 - 1

Another Georgian emerging talent in action.
Eljanov, Pavel (UKR) - Jobava, Baadur (GEO) 0 - 1

Really creative winning manoeuvre.
Papenin, Nikolai (UKR3) - Akman, Özgür (TUR) 1 - 0