11th World University Chess Championship

Top seeds struggle in the first rounds

zurich chess

The 11th World University Chess Championship started on Sunday morning September 5th, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland, with a splendid musical opening ceremony. Bernhard Burkhardt (President of the Organising Committee), Hassan Chick (FISU Vice-President) and Andreas Fischer (Rector of the University of Zurich) welcomed the 150 participants and guests with brief and well-appreciated speeches. Felix Hindermann pronounced the oath of the athletes and Edmund Hofstetter the oath of the judges and referees.

The chess art exhibition “Senso” by Jürg Hassler was opened and the “Rules of the Game” by Clinton Haycraft was performed, a musical piece especially dedicated to the participants of the championship. Last but not least, the “Quintetto Inflagranti” accompanied the ceremony beautifully. After the ceremony grandmaster Vadim Milov played a simultaneous exhibition against all-comers.

In the afternoon the first round started with a number of surprises. In the men’s tournament, the six top seeds only scored fifty percent. On board one the heavy favourite Wang Yue (China) won convincingly with the Black pieces, but on board two the silver medallist of 2008, Igor Lysyj (Russia), fared less well. From the beginning he faced very stiff resistance by the Zurich student Julien Carron. The Swiss international master played an excellent game and when he agreed to a draw at move 40, his advantage should probably even have brought him victory.

Third seed Pavel Ponkratov also had a rough start to the tournament, counting himself lucky to make a draw after being put under strong pressure by Germany’s Paul Hoffmann. On board four Jan Markos (Slovakia) was an exchange up in a tricky endgame, but pressing too hard for a win he miscalculated and lost to Stefan Kuipers (Holland).

In the women’s tournament the number of surprises was limited. On board one local hero Monika Seps put up a great fight against the Mongolian top player Bathuyag Munguntuul. After an imaginative exchange sacrifice by the Swiss a very sharp battle ensued. In the end the favorite prevailed but the game could well have ended the other way round.

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