Wang Yue learns fast and takes the lead
Report by
Richard Forster

Tournament favourite Wang Yue (23, Elo 2732) first had a rough time in round 5 of the World University Chess Championship in Zurich. His opponent Bayarsaikhan Gundavaa (21, Elo 2460) put him under strong pressure right from the beginning. In a quiet line of the Catalan Opening the untitled Mongolian kept playing simple but strong developing moves, netting him the bishop pair and full control of the c-file. Only by the most stoic of defenses Wang gradually managed to overcome the worst. It is difficult to tell where his opponent then went wrong, but probably the exchange on move 24 was too simplistic. The rook endgame arising a few moves later still looked fine for White, but his temporary initiative proved to be worthless. Slowly unwinding, Wang purposefully took aim at White’s advanced pawn on e5. Unable to adapt to the sudden need of careful defense, the Mongolian lost the thread, then his pawn and eventually the game.

Despite the positive outcome, Wang had obviously been caught in a dubious opening variation. How quickly a world class grandmaster can absorb new insights was shown in the afternoon. In the fight between the two top seeds of the men’s tournament, facing the Russian grandmaster Igor Lysyj (23, Elo 2638), the Chinese employed the very same weapon that had caused him such headaches in the morning. Up to move 12 the games were identical. Lysyj deviated but also had to cede the bishop pair soon. In a fine display of positional artistry Wang used his trumps to gain a decisive advantage very quickly.

Three rounds before the end Wang leads by half a point ahead of Israel’s Ilya Khmelniker who is the only player so far to have withstood the Chinese’s onslaught.

While so far the men’s tournament has developed as expected, the women’s contest took a surprising turn on day 4. In the fifth round the two top board pairings resulted in quick draws, while on board three the home player Monika Seps only narrowly failed to crown a great attacking game which would have put her in the joint lead. Instead it was the Serb Ljilja Drljevic (26, Elo 2273) who, starting from position 10 in the field, first joined the lead in the morning and then went into pole position after beating the Slovak Zuzana Borosova (22, Elo 2277) in the afternoon. In a maneuvering game her opponent played too passively and was slowly squeezed.

In the end it was the bishop pair which Drljevic used in masterly fashion to earn her third victory in a row. She now leads the women’s field, half a point ahead of Sopiko Guramishvili from Georgia and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs from Mongolia.

The Swiss representatives made up ground: in rounds 5 and 6 the five men scored 7/10 and have all 3 points now. In the women’s section Monika Seps is still placed very well with 3½ points, whereas Maria Heinatz has advanced to 2½ points.

With 96 participants the 11th World University Chess Championship is a huge success. The number of players is more than that of the two previous editions combined; and with 17 grandmasters, 23 international masters and 21 nations it surpasses its predecessors also in every other respect.


Round 5: Gundavaa (Mgl) – GM Wang Yue (China) 0:1. IM Khmelniker (Isr) – GM Jumabayev (Kas) 1:0. GM Lysyj (Rus) – Pitra (Indo) 1:0. IM Jurcik (Svk) – GM Nikolov (Bul) remis. (etc.)

Round 6: GM Wang Yue (China) – GM Lysyj (Rus) 1:0. IM Khmelniker (Isr) – IM Benidze (Geo) remis. GM Ponkratov (Rus) – GM Ismagambetov (Kas) remis. GM Nikolov (Bul) – Gundavaa (Mgl) 1:0. (etc.)

Standings at the top: 1. Wang Yue 5,5. 2. Khmelniker 5. 3. Ismagambetov, Benidze and Nikolov 4,5 (57 participants).


Round 5: WIM Severyukhina (Rus) – WGM Tsereteli (Geo) remis. WGM Stojanovic (Srb) – WIM Borosova (Svk) remis. WIM Seps (Sz) – WGM Guramishvili (Sz) remis. WIM Yanjindulam (Mgl) – WIM Drljevic (Srb) 0:1. (etc.)

Round 6: WIM Drljevic (Srb) – WIM Borosova (Svk) 1:0. WGM Tuvshintugs (Mgl) – WIM Severyukhina (Rus) 1:0. WGM Stojanovic (Srb) – IM Munguntuul (Mgl) remis. WGM Tsereteli (Geo) – WIM Melekhina (USA) remis. (etc.)

Standings at the top: 1. Drljevic (Srb) 5. 2. Guramishvili and Tuvshintugs 4,5 (39 participants).

Live games:

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