By GM Arturs Neiksans

The last round of the championship lived up to it’s expectations – while most of the groups finished with more or less expected results, there were a few dramatic twists which left several main contenders for the gold even without a medal.

Many players decided to play it safe and quickly agreed to a draw to secure their positions. Aleksandra Dimitrova from Russia in the Girls U-18 group finished her game with Oliwia Kiolbasa within the first minutes in just 4 moves. For the top pair in the O-16 section it took a bit longer but obviously both Yaroslav Remizov (Russia) and Viachaslau Zarubitski (Belarus) were in a peaceful mood.

Also too long didn’t last the top game in the O-12 group where the young Russian Volodar Murzin was playing against Jakub Chyzy. Murzin was obviously satisfied with the draw as it secured him the gold, but Chyzy perhaps didn’t really believe that even a win would give him a medal. Relatively quickly also finished the top board of the O-10 group where Artem Pingin from Russia and Clement Kuhn finished their duel within the first hour. By doing so they both secured a medal, but by doing so they left the fate of the gold medal in the hands of the 2nd board.

Still, in most of the other groups the leaders were playing it out until the end, and a real drama unfolded in two groups, both related with the 40th move right before the 2nd time control. In the previously mentioned O-10 group Rudolf Pashikyan from Armenia was leading the group starting from round 1. All he needed to do in the last round was to make a draw with Black against Artsiom Bialiauski from Belarus. Pashikyan seemed to be controlling the game and going towards the desired result until the fateful move 40. This is when he made a heavy blunder by missing an intermezzo move in the end of a variation. This not only cost him the gold, but any medal at all – Rudolf finished the tournament in a very dissapointing 4th place.

Something similar happened in the Girls U-16 group – there were two leaders that were playing against each other: Kamaliya Bulatova from Russia against Govhar Beydullayeva from Azerbaijan. Both girls fought very hard for most of the game, each having an advantage at a certain stage. When the second time control was approaching, it was starting to become clear that the game is going to finish with a draw. Here’s the final position:

Bulatova, Kamaliya (RUS, 2043) – Beydullayeva, Govhar (AZE, 2184)
White has just played 40. f2-f4. Here Black could either take on f3, or do anything else. The position is absolutely equal and yet something incredible happened here – Black forfeited on time! It’s not clear whether the Azerbaijani player miscalculated the move count, or simply forgot about the clock, but the fallout was that because of the loss she finished in 4th place. A draw would had given her the gold medal because of a better tiebreak than Bulatova. Odly at the same time she had a worse tiebreak than the 2nd and 3rd place. Chess can be really cruel.

The final results in all of the groups are as follows:

Open U-8
1. Jahandar Azadaliyev (Azerbaijan)
2. Denis Gordeev (Russia)
3. Bogdan Golovchenko (Russia)
Girls U-8
1. Ekaterina Zubkovskaya (Belarus)
2. Diana Preobrazhenskaya (Russia)
3. Veronika Iudina (Russia)
Open U-10
1. Artem Pingin (Russia)
2. Clement Kuhn (France)
3. Artsiom Bialiauski (Belarus)
Girls U-10
1. Alexandra Shvedova (Russia)
2. Anna Shukhman (Russia)
3. Yana Zhapova (Russia)
Open U-12
1. Volodar Murzin (Russia)
2. Ilya Makoveev (Russia)
3. Semen Mitusov (Ukraine)
Girls U-12
1. Olga Karmanova (Russia)
2. Luisa Bashylina (Germany)
3. Aliaksandra Tarasenka (Belarus)
Open U-14
1. Stefan Pogosyan (Russia)
2. Dmitry Tsoi (Russia)
3. Jonas Buhl Bjerre (Denmark)
Girls U-14
1. Ayan Allahverdiyeva (Azerbaijan)
2. Astghik Hakobyan (Armenia)
3. Beloslava Krasteva (Bulgaria)
Open U-16
1. Francesco Sonis (Italy)
2. Yaroslav Remizov (Russia)
3. Viachaslau Zarubitski (Belarus)
Girls U-16
1. Kamaliya Bulatova (Russia)
2. Olga Badelka (Belarus)
3. Gabriela Antova (Bulgaria)
Open U-18
1. Evgenios Ioannidis (Greece)
2. Jan Vykouk (Czech Republic)
3. Ariel Erenberg (Israel)
Girls U-18
1. Aleksandra Dimitrova (Russia)
2. Oliwia Kiolbasa (Poland)
3. Akshaya Kalaiyalahan (England)

Russia takes home 7 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze medals. Azerbaijan leaves Riga with 2 gold medals, while Belarus – with 1 gold and 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.

It was a great tournament and we are really thankful to everyone who made this event possible!