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The Canadian Youth Chess Championships took place at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. With 189 players in six age groups and both genders, the event was the largest ever.

Ling-Fe Ye of Quebec surpassed favourite Bindi Cheng of British Columbia to take the boys under-18. Derek Jia of Ontario placed third.

Gabrielle Nadeau took the girls under-16 ahead of Amelia Mandamin.

Haonan Zhou took the boys under-16, while Eric Hansen edged out Aman Hambleton and Haizhou Xu in the playoff for second. The girls under-16 saw the closest battle of all the sections, as Sonja Xiong and Jasmine Du split two pairs of games before Sonja won the third set. Chelsea Ruiter placed third.

In the boys under-14 Arthur Calugar bypassed leader Lloyd Mai, who lost in the last round to Louie Jiang. Liza Orlova won the girls section with a perfect score, but the balance of play was closer than that. Dina Kagramanov defeated Catherine Frenette in the playoff for second place.

Nikita Kraiouchkine survived a chessic assault by runner-up Joey Qin to take the boys under-12. Nikita Gusev secured third place over Thomas Kaminski in a nervous six-game playoff. Myriam Roy defeated Alexandra Botez 3-1 in a playoff after both dominated the field. Erika Ruiter placed third.

Christopher Knox won the boys under-10 with a perfect score. Zhaoyang Luo placed second. Richard Wang won a massive five-way playoff for third. Rebecca Giblon won the girls, while Joanne Foote edged out Lin Fei Kang for second place.

Janak Awatramani defeated Yinshi Li in a playoff for boys under-8, while John Doknjas placed third. Kelly Wang edged out Aleksandra Milicevic for the girls, while Cendrina Bilodeau-Savaria placed third.

Under-8 is a new category, but the winners, at least, played impressively solid games. Good enough, for example, to beat the average adult home player.

The big prize in each group is an expenses-paid trip to play in the World Youth Championships in Antalya, Turkey. Second and third also receive the nomination to play, but not the air fare or hotel.

In this game from the boys under-16, Michael MacMillan had White against Stefan Trandafir.

1.e2-e4 c7-c5 2.Ng1-f3 Nb8-c6 3.d2-d4 c5xd4 4.Nf3xd4 Ng8-f6 5.Nb1-c3 e7-e5 6.Nd4-b5 d7-d6 7.Nc3-d5

An interesting side-line. The standard move is 7.Bc1-g5.

7. ... Nf6xd5 8.e4xd5 Nc6-b8

This allows for quick development of the dark-square Bishop followed by castling. From d7, the Knight will cover the c5-square and discourage c2-c4-c5. Also playable is 8. ... Nc6-e7.

9.Bc1-e3 Bf8-e7 10.c2-c3

Although this is a typical move where Black retreated the Knight to e7 (where it could play to f5 and maybe d4), it is not so common with the Knight on its present orbit.

10. ... a7-a6 11.Nb5-a3 O-O 12.Na3-c4 Nb8-d7 13.a2-a4 f7-f5 14.Qd1-b3 f5-f4

Thus we arrive at an original position, where two pairs of minor pieces get traded.

15.Be3-b6 Nd7xb6 16.Nc4xb6 Ra8-b8 17.Nb6xc8 Qd8xc8

The presence of opposite-colour Bishops tends to favour the side with the initiative, which would be Black in this case, possessing a mobile pawn centre. White's next few moves do not help matters. He should try 18.Qb3-c2 or 18.Bf1-d3 to keep an eye on the light squares, particularly e4.

18.Bf1-e2 e5-e4 19.O-O-O b7-b5 20.Rd1-d4 f4-f3 21.g2xf3 Be7-g5+ 22.Kc1-c2 Qc8-h3?!

Black overplays the initiative card. After the simple 22. ... e4xf3, Black is clearly on top.


White returns the compliment. 23.Rd4xe4 is about even.

23. ... Qh3-h4! 24.Rd1-f1 e4xf3 25.Be2-d3 b5xa4 26.Qb3-c4 a4-a3 27.b2xa3 Bg5-f4 28.Qc4-e4 Rf8-e8 29.Qe4xf3 Bf4-e5!

This shows the point of the 26th move: a4 and c3 suddenly are grievously weak.

30.Bd3-f5 Qh4-a4+ 31.Kc2-d3 Rb8-b3 32.Qf3-g4 Rb3xc3+ 33.Kd3-d2 Qa4xa3 34.Bf5xh7+!

The last chance. If 34. ... Kg8xh7 35.Qg4-h5+ draws.

34. ... Kg8-h8! 35.Bh7-c2 Diagram: 35. ... Rc3xc2+!

Even quicker and more surprising is 35. ... Rc3-d3+! 36.Bc2xd3 Be5-c3+! 37.Kd2-d1 Qa3-a1+ and mate in two more moves.

36.Kd2xc2 Qa3-c3+ 37.Kc2-d1 Qc3-d3+ 38.Kd1-c1 Be5-b2+!

It makes Black's net investment in the mating attack a Rook.

39.Kc1xb2 Re8-b8+

White resigned. It is soon checkmate.