Zambians stand respectably at World Junior!

Zambia

IM Amon Simutowe entered this tournament with hopes of bettering his =2nd finish from last year's competition. This year's event has to have been one of the most exciting as the tournament leader seemed to change each round (in both the men's and women's events). GM Peter Acs proves that Hungary remains as one of the world's top producers of young talent. Coming off of a shocking opening-round loss to FM Richard Palliser of England, GM Acs would score 10/12 including wins in the last three rounds! This included a kingside crush of GM Bu Xiangzhi in the last round. GM Acs was followed by IM Merab Gagunashvili of the Republic of Georgia and GM Levon Aronian of Armenia with 9. Hua Ni of China, the number one seed at 2568, was 4th with 9 points. His compatriot and a pre-tournament favorite, GM Bu scored 8.

IM Simutowe started auspiciously, but lost tough games to untitled
Sergei Azarov (2461) of Bulgaria and IM Michael Roiz (2511) of Israel. After his 8th round loss to IM Roiz, he was never closer than two points from the leader. Also competing was Zambia's Joseph Phiri. Phiri had a respectable result and played a steady dose of National Masters. Although he did not fare well against these opponents, he did beat Takej Sakelsek, a master from Slovenia.  Ranked 77th out of 91 players, he also scored five victories. Suspiciously absent was Zimbabwe's IM Robert Gwaze, one of the most exciting African players. No other players from Africa, nor any from the Caribbean region were represented.

Eastern European and Chinese players dominated both the men's and women's competitions. Rising Indian sensation
WIM Koneru Humpy won the women's event on tie breaks over WGM Zhao Xue of China, both scoring 9 points. All three of the Chinese participants threatened to take the women's junior crown as Gu Xiaobing and Xu Yuanyan scored 9 and 8 points, respectively. Again the rise of China and India is as clear as ever when examining the young talent being produced. In fact, India has its newest GM in 15-year old Pentala Harikrishna!! IM Simutowe's turn is coming soon.

Following are round-by-round results of Zambians IM Amon Simutowe and Joseph Phiri:

IM Amon Simutowe (Zambia)

Pts.

Round 1:    Fausto Campuano Neto (Brazil)-Simutowe, 0-1 (16 August 2001).
Round 2:   
Simutowe- FM Du Shan (China), - (17 August 2001).
Round 3:    Sebbar Ali (Mauritania)-
Simutowe, 0-1, (18 August 2001).
Round 4:   
Simutowe-NM Sergei Azarov (Bulgaria), 0-1 (19 August 2001).
Round 5:    NM Jan Markos (Slovakia)-
Simutowe, - (20 August 2001).
Round 6:   
Simutowe-NM Pontus Carlsson (Sweden), 1-0 (21 August 2001).
Round 7:    NM Spyridan Kapnisis (Greece)-
Simutowe, - (22 August 2001).
Round 8:   
Simutowe-IM Michael Roiz (Israel), 0-1 (23 August 2001).
Round 9:    FM Aleja Franco Alonso (Spain)-
Simutowe, - (24 August 2001).
Round 10: 
Simutowe-NM Kukas Cernousek (Czech Rep.), 1-0 (25 August 2001).
Round 11:   NM Chandran Mahesh (India-
Simutowe, 1-0 (26 August 2001).
Round 12:   
Simutowe-NM Daniel Hersvik (Norway), 1-0 (27 August 2001).
Round 13:   FM Richard Palliser (England)-
Simutowe, 1-0 (28 August 2001).

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Result: Last year, GM Lazaro Bruzon of Cuba won the event with 10 points, a score matched this year by GM Peter Acs of Hungary. GM Acs edged out IM Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia and GM Levon Aronian, both scoring 9. Amon had a fair result, but could not put together a string of wins. This is usually how these types of tournaments are decided. This year was no exception. Next, Amon will prepare for the African Championships later this month and is currently has the 3rd highest rating on the continent.

Pts.

Joseph Phiri (Zambia)

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Round 1:    NM Diego Flores (Argentina)-Phiri, 1-0 (16 August 2001).
Round 2:   
Phiri-NM Daniel Hersvik (Norway), 0-1 (17 August 2001).
Round 3:    Orestis Panagiotopoulos (Greece)-
Phiri, 0-1 (18 August 2001).
Round 4:   
Phiri-NM Rico Zenklusen (Switzerland), 0-1 (19 August 2001).
Round 5:    Gene Phillips (South Africa)-Phiri, 1-0 (20 August 2001).
Round 6:   
Phiri-Sujey Subramanian (Hong Kong), 1-0 (21 August 2001).
Round 7:    NM Rafal Tomczak (Poland)-
Phiri, 1-0 (22 August 2000).
Round 8:   
Phiri-Cornelius Klaver (South Africa), - (23 August 2001).
Round 9:    Pierre Gengler (Luxembourg)-
Phiri, 0-1 (24 August 2001).
Round 10: 
Phiri-NM Tomas Krivousas (Lithuania), 0-1 (25 August 2001).
Round 11:   NM Tadej Sakelsek (Slovenia)-
Phiri, 0-1 (26 August 2001).
Round 12:   
Phiri-NM Florian Sandhoefer (Austria), 0-1 (27 August 2001).
Round 13:   
Phiri-Sebbar Ali (Mauritania), 1-0 (28 August 2001).

Result: Phiri had a decent result and received a lot of valuable exposure in his World Junior debut. Given his result, he appears to play ambitious chess with few draws. Hopefully, he will reflect on his experiences at the World Junior and  begin to make an impact in Zambian chess as well as on the international scene.

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 29 August 2001