By Ken Ooi
The Asian Youth Chess Championship 2018 was recently held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from the 1st of April to 9th April inclusive.
The official players that represented Australia are below:
Ooi, Jayden QLD – U8
Anup Kumar, Vihaan NSW – U8
Retnaraja, Ethan SA – U12
Chan, Jordan QLD – U14
Au, Alexander QLD – U16
Crowley, Regan VIC – U18
Chan, Jacob Joseph QLD – U18
Retnaraja, Athena-Malar SA – G10
Davis, Sophie VIC – G14
Lu, Lillian VIC – G16
The Australian team played their best to be on the podium, however they were stopped in their tracks by players mainly from India and China. Players from these two countries either do not have FIDE rating or are very much under rated. Most of them play regularly within their respective countries before participating in international tournaments, hence their rating was very misleading. Some of these players played an average of 400 points above their FIDE! Through this tournament, Australian players certainly learnt a very good lesson not to under estimate their opponents nor comparing their ratings.
We also noted that Indian players came to the tournament very prepared with 4 coaches analysing each player and their opponents game – before and after. This gave them an edge over our players. Most of these players have great openings for at least for the first 15-20 moves. This gave them the edge over our players leading to the mid and end games. Indian chess players also spend lots of time on chess and their involvement and dedication leads to the extent of skipping school for a couple of months. On a separate note, some great players especially from China and India also actively participating in tournaments and most of them have been playing since the age of 5. This tells us that active participation in tournaments is essential in improving ones game.
Some of the best games from Queensland players as follow:
Overall the tournament was a success, however there is room for improvement. For example, the organiser should have better arrangements for the airport transfer and accommodation. A big thank you to Audrey Chan (Jordan’s and Jacob’s mother) who arrived earlier in Chiang Mai to help most of the Aussie families to resolve the problems. Otherwise, Jayden and I might be staying in the different hotel and nobody pick us up from the airport.
Lastly, I believed all the players had gained experience from this tournament. Hopefully Australia will better equip our players in the next international tournament. Go Aussies!!!