Erdogmus, Mishra On Course To Meet In ChessKid U16 Youth Championship Final


GM-elect Yagiz Erdogmus won the Under 13 ChessKid Youth Championship 2024 a week ago and has now booked his place in the knockout Finals of the Under 16 Championship. Once again he won his group with 8/10, as did GM Abhimanyu Mishra, while GMs-elect Ivan Zemlyanskii and Andy Woodward join them in the Knockout stages. 10-year-old IM-elect Faustino Oro had some big moments but couldn’t reach the Finals against his older rivals.  

The Knockout begins on July 7 at 11 a.m. ET / 17:00 CEST / 8:30 p.m. IST

Knockout Bracket

A week ago 13-year-old Erdogmus triumphed in the Under 13 ChessKid Youth Championship, while this weekend the Under 16 champion will be crowned.

The event is held over two days. On the first, 12 players are divided into two groups. In each group, the players participate in a double round-robin, and the top two finishers move on to the single-elimination Knockout on Sunday. 

Group A: Erdogmus Does It Again, Zemlyanskii Takes 2nd

No draw offers are allowed in the group stages, but it was still remarkable that of 30 games in Group A, just one was drawn!

Erdogmus, now 13 and holding the record as the highest-ever rated 12-year-old, was once again the player to catch, as he raced to 5/5. The most exciting game in that sequence came against Zemlyanskii, another 13-year-old and the player who eventually finished second.

With under three seconds on his clock, Erdogmus went for 39.Nf7+, which was, strictly speaking, a losing move, but in the chaos that followed he took home the full point!  

It wasn’t a runaway victory for Erdogmus, however, since going into the final round he could have been taken to a playoff by either Zemlyanskii or Iranian FM Reza Mahdavi, each a point behind.

Mahdavi-Erdogmus from round four was another memorable game, since Mahdavi missed a one-move chance to win with 28.Nf6+!! before his Turkish opponent found a nice way to convert his advantage at the end—with a rook sacrifice and an underpromotion.

In the final round Mahdavi lost while Zemlyanskii and Erdogmus both won, though Erdogmus did briefly slip into a lost position against WGM Lu Miaoyi.

The 14-year-old, one of the great hopes of women’s chess, had a tough time as she played her first-ever games on, with a missed trick in round one setting the tone. Can you spot how Uzbekistan IM Mukhammadzokhid Suyarov won their clash?

Black to play and win!

That was only half the day’s action, however, with Group B gathering more famous names.

Group B: Mishra Dominates, Woodward Through After Sprint Finish

The most anticipated player to watch in Group B was 10-year-old Oro, with the Argentinian prodigy having just become the world’s youngest-ever international master. He was also absolutely at home on, where he’d recently beaten world number-two GM Hikaru Nakamura

…and reached a 3052 peak blitz rating in the run-up to the event. That made him a potential favorite, but in the end he finished behind his older opponents.

There was no shortage of record-holders in the field, with 15-year-old Mishra still holding the record as the youngest grandmaster of all time. He also had the highest classical rating in the field and explained afterward that he’d been confident:

“I felt like I was the favorite. Before this event, I just played one Titled Tuesday just to prepare. I almost tied for third. Unfortunately, I had a winning position in the final round against Nihal Sarin, a winning queen ending, and I somehow managed to blow it completely and lost the game. But that gave me a lot of confidence that I should be able to stand my ground here. 

[Titled Tuesday] gave me a lot of confidence that I should be able to stand my ground here.

—Abhimanyu Mishra 

Mishra did much more than stand his ground.

Mishra kept control in most of the games, though there were adventures. For instance, in his first win over Oro, he pounced on a blunder to gain a winning position on move 17 but then very nearly lost the game before turning it around again.

Oro made a lot of one-move blunders, but he also showed fantastic fighting spirit and had some moments for celebration.

His round-seven win over Spanish FM Jaime Rey Martinez was, in fact, far from just a consolation win, since while Mishra was far ahead, Rey was in second place and just a point clear of last-placed Oro. It was still possible to dream of second place and reaching the Knockout, though losses to Mishra and Woodward ended Oro’s challenge.

The player to emerge from the pack at the end was Woodward, who Mishra was glad to see do well. “He’s one of my good friends and I was rooting for him. I was hoping that first I’ll qualify and then the second person to qualify would be him.”

He’s one of my good friends and I was rooting for him.

—Abhimanru Mishra on Andy Woodward

Mishra, in fact, scored 2-0 against his U.S. friend, with Woodward blundering a rook in one move in their round-seven game.

From there on, however, Woodward won the last three games, with the clash against England’s Shreyas Royal in the next round key. The 15-year-old English IM, who recently crossed 2500 for the first time, had 56 seconds to his opponent’s five when he ruined a winning position in one move.

It still came down to the final round, where all rested on the game against the player who was the world’s youngest GM before Woodward replaced him, Ukraine’s Ihor Samunenkov. Woodward, who was half a point ahead, needed only a draw with the white pieces, but in the end he went on to win.

Woodward now faces Erdogmus, the player who replaced him as the world’s youngest GM, in the Semifinals, while Mishra takes on Zemlyanskii.   

The ChessKid Youth Championships are’s top events for the next generation of the chess elite. The two sections, for players under 13 and under 16, take place June 29-July 7. All games are played with the 3+1 time control, and the prize fund is $15,000.

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