Reflections on World Youth U16 Olympiad by Dr Lyndon Bouah

SA Team

1.    The World Youth Under 16 chess championship was recently held in Corum, Turkey.

  • 2.       The Under 16 event normally heralds the start of many a grandmasters career. In 2002 I was the coach of the team that went to Malaysia and I saw a young Sergey Karjakin playing for the Ukraine. In 2007 I accompanied the team to Singapore and there I saw for the first time Wesley So playing for the Philippines. South Africa sent three teams to this event. The event is unique in that teams must also have a female player playing alongside the male players.

The final ranking list makes for very interesting reading.

There were 48 teams in all. The winners were Azerbaijan in first place with seven wins and drawn matches, Uzbekistan with seven wins, one draw and one loss and in third place was Belarus with seven wins and two losses. These three former Soviet republics are exceptionally strong chess countries. Azerbaijan hosted the 2016 Chess Olympiad and their most famous player is of of purse Gary Kasparov. Uzbekistan is a strong chess country and in 2004 GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov won the FIDE world championship in Libya to become World Champion. They were the defending champions of this event and their top two players are Nodirbek Abdsattorov born in 2004 and has a rating of 2633! and Nodorbik Yakubboev born in 2002 with a rating of

2603! Belarus is also a strong chess country with their most famous player being GM Boris Gelfand who contested the World chess championships against Anand in 2012. They also have two brothers playing chess called Zhigalko. I’m not sure if they are twins! South Africa has been visited by one player from this country in the last few years! That is Grandmaster Sergey Kasparov (who often says he is the real Kasparov!) who played in a number of events in South Africa.

Turkey entered five teams followed by South Africa at 3 teams with fifteen players in total and Thailand at ten, Kazakhstan at ten, and Azerbaijan at ten. There were two grandmasters, 12 international Masters and 1 WIM in the event.)

In the event South Africa B came in 40th, with two wins, three drawn and four losses, South Africa A came in 43rd with three wins, one drawn and five losses, South Africa C came in number 47 with one win, one draw and seven losses. The important thing with these events is that it allows the players to gain international experience. I’m not too concerned with the loss to win ratio. We need to nurture these players because they need to represent South Africa in the future.

The best player of the South African contingent was CM Andreas De Jager. He scored over 100 rating points!

Congrats to Andreas and the players. This was a tough event with titled players and to be able to hold your won on board one takes some doing.

The players now need to analyse their games, look at their mistakes and then take the lessons from the event. Let us give all our young starts the support they deserve.

SA Team in front of world biggest chess museum in Ankara, Turkey. They have over 700 chess sets from all over the world.


Dr Lyndon Bouah


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