Final Report from Team Australia for the 2023 Asian Schools Chess Championship
Team Australia at 2023 Asian Schools Chess Championship
This year’s 17th edition of Asian Schools Championship took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan – the key trade outpost of the Ancient Silk Road and the birthplace of the up-and-coming GM Nodirbek (reining Chess Olympiad champion), as well as the recently-crowned Asian Continental Champion GM Shamsiddin Vohidov.
Tashkent’s name translates as the “City of Stones” into English and it is the largest city in Central Asia with a population of 2.6m people – roughly similar to Brisbane.
This year the tournament attracted 324 entrants from 17 countries. It is important to note the key difference of the Asian Schools Championship from the Asian Youth Chess Championships (to be held in UAE in December’23) – that is actually in the participation categories. While *Asian Schools* enrolls 6 age categories between U7-U17, the *Asian Youth* is held for 6 age categories between U8-U18. Participants play individually in both events and, unlike in the Australian Schools Team Championship, there is no need to represent a particular school in the event – participants represent their countries. It is best to think of it as an event for School-aged children all over Asia. One notable past participant is FM Alphaeus Ang from New Zealand – U13 bronze medalist in 2015.
Team Australia was represented by the Batyrbekov brothers: Kaisar and Aidan, who have both played in the U7 open event and set out for Tashkent from Melbourne via Seoul and Almaty in Kazakhstan where their extended family lives. Kaisar and Aidan are both members of the Melbourne Chess Club and Northern Star Chess Junior Tournament Squad, as well as distance members of the City of Redcliffe Chess Club Inc. It was fortunate that the event dates were close to the Victorian school holidays as otherwise it would be much trickier to travel and quickly adapt to the 5 hour time difference. It was their first chess tournament overseas – with lots of associated excitement, such as visiting the Tashkent “Disneyland” and TV Tower when finally done with the games and training.
Despite home field advantage for Team Uzbekistan, which fielded 105 entrants to India’s 15, Team India managed to win the 17th Asian Schools Championship overall – picking up 3 gold and 1 silver medals across 12 categories of play (U7-U17). Uzbekistan placed second with 2 gold, 2 silver and a whopping 8 bronze medals, whilst Mongolia was the surprise breakout nation with 2 golds and 2 silvers – finishing 3rd overall ahead of Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and CFR, whose representative FM Alexander Khripachenko claimed the coveted individual Asian Schools Champion title – with Guldona Karimova of Uzbekistan winning the individual Girls event.
At the end of the tournament, Kaisar and Aidan were interviewed by Uzbek Sport TV, sharing their impressions of visiting Uzbekistan for the first time ever (positive!) and playing in the Asian Schools Championship (mixed!) While they didn’t medal for Team Australia, they gained valuable overseas tournament experience (including how to say “Adjust” in different languages), new international friends, and lots of great memories.
Report by Kuanysh Batyrbekov
Few notable game notations:
Batyrbekov, Aidan (AUS) – Aliev, Sarvar (UZB) 1-0
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Nge7 5.Nf3 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.d3 O-O 8.Re1 f5 9.exf5 Nxf5 10.Bg5 Bf6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Ne4 Qxb2 13.Nd6 Nxd6 14.Ng5 Qf6 15.Qg4 Qxf2+ 16.Kh1 Qf5 17.Qh4 Qf6 18.Qxh7# 1-0
Batyrbekov, Kaisar (AUS) – Gulomov, Shohruhbek (UZB) 1-0
1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.O-O O-O 8.Bg5 Bg4 9.Re1 Nbd7 10.Be3 Qc7 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxf3 Qd8 13.Bf4 Bxf4 14.Qxf4 Qb6 15.Rab1 Rfe8 16.b3 Qb4 17.Qd2 Rxe1+ 18.Rxe1 Re8 19.Rxe8+ Nxe8 20.Nb1 Qxd4 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qxd4 b6 23.Nc3 Nef6 24.a4 c5 25.Qd1 d4 26.Nb5 a6 27.Na7 Ne5 28.Kh2 g6 29.g3 Kg7 30.f4 Ned7 31.Nc6 Nd5 32.Qe1 Kf6 33.g4 b5 34.axb5 axb5 35.Kg3 c4 36.h4 cxb3 37.cxb3 d3 38.h5 d2 39.Qxd2 N5b6 40.g5+ Kg7 41.Qf2 f6 42.gxf6+ Kxf6 43.Kh4 Kg7 44.hxg6 Kxg6* 1-0
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