Facing the Dragon

Entering the tournament hall.
Entering the tournament hall.

Day 2 of the World Youth Chess Championships proved to have challenges of its own.  After not enough sleep (my own fault for staying up too late), I was able to have a nice breakfast with no line, and to bring back food for Drew who was sleeping in.  The early bird does get the worm (but is also tired throughout the day).

There was a flurry of emails between US players and organizers as the pairings for the round were posted in two different places online, and they conflicted.  The official site had Drew playing black again while chess-results.com gave Drew the white pieces.  The US head of delegation instructed the team to go by the chess-results website.  Though not the official site, it seemed to be more accurate.

Now that we have made the foray into international competition, we are able to access games online for some of the opponents that Drew will face.  Visiting chess-db.com, I was able to pull up seven games of Drew’s round 2 opponent, Siddanth Lohia from India. Since Drew would have the white pieces (we hoped), we looked mainly at the opponent’s games as black in which he consistently played the Sicilian dragon defense — also known as just the dragon.  I pulled Drew out of bed at 8:45, and he padded up the stairs in his sock feet and bed-head, to meet with his coach GM Magesh Panchanathan.

Round 2 miraculously started on time, and Drew was seated and ready to go at 2:55.  His opponent did indeed play the Sicilian dragon leading to the following position after move 10:

Drew’s coach had wisely advised Drew in this position to move  Kb1 prior to black placing the queen on a5, but Drew instead pushed g4 allowing black the initiative on the queenside.  Following 11.  …  Qa5, Drew could have salvaged the mistake with a3, but play proceeded with 12.  Kb1  Rfc8  13.  h4  Rxc3  14. Qxc3  Qxa2, forcing Drew’s king to the middle of the board.  After this point, Drew was playing out of his element and missed some opportunities to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses.  He fought a good fight, but fell to the dragon after more than three hours of play.  He would not be successful against the dragon this time, as he was at the Supernationals in April where he defeated the dragon in round 7 to tie for the championship and qualify for this adventure.  Links to his full round 1 and round 2 games are below.

Siddanth Lohia from India.
Siddanth Lohia from India.

Since I put off writing the blog post until morning, it is now around 11 am local time.  I am sitting in a sun filled room with the window wide open, feeling the breeze on my face.  The weather is strikingly beautiful here, warm and sunny during the day, with cool breezes in the morning and evening.  Zoe and Ganmama have made an excursion today into the desert while Drew prepares for round 3.  We continue to meet people from around the world and to experience the beauty and diversity that is abundant here.

Round 1 game:   www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=87644

Round 2 game:  www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=87642

One thought on “Facing the Dragon”

  1. I can’t find a way to post on the next posting, but congrats to Drew on his 3rd and 4th round wins. What an amazing experience you all must be having being a part of this tournament. And thanks, Susan, for the great blogging!! Katie and I are checking in every day. 🙂

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