After four rounds in Uppsala Young Champions, two players are leading with 3 out of 4 – the highest-ranked GM David Gavrilescu from Romania and IM Hampus Sörensen. The other grandmaster in the field, Icelandic Vignir Vatnar Stefansson, is trailing half a point behind, along with a large group of players, but there is still much to play for.
Uppsala Young Champions is a tournament for players under 20 years old, and this year marks its tenth edition. Many strong players have participated over the years, and some return year after year. GM Vignir Vatnar is playing the tournament for the fifth time, and IM Sörensen has participated an impressive seven(!) times.
This year, the tournament is taking place in excellent facilities at the Uppsala Social Club, in the middle in the city, with great conditions for both players and spectators.
In the third round, the local player Julia Östensson faced young Lavinia Valcu, both of whom will make their debut in the Swedish national team in a few weeks during the European Team Chess Championship in Montenegro. Their game was very short.
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 a6 5. f4 b5 6. Be2 Nd7 7. e5 c5 8. Nf3 Nh6 9. dxc5 dxe5
The latest move was a big mistake, and Julia efficiently sealed the game with
10. c6! Nb8 11. Qxd8+ Kxd8 12. Bb6+ Ke8 13. Nd5!
and since it’s not possible to defend against Nc7 on the next move, leading to the loss of a rook, Valcu resigned after only 13 moves.
Another quick victory in the same round occurred in the game between Victor Muntean and GM Vignir Vatnar.
1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Be3 e5 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Qd2 Qa5 7. d5 Nce7 8. Bc4 Nf6 9. f3 Nfxd5 10. Nge2 Be6 11. Bxd5 Nxd5 12. Qd3 O-O-O 13. Qe4 Nxc3 14. Nxc3 f5
Even though only 14 moves have been played, and black is only leading by one pawn in this position, it’s actually a hopeless situation for white. White’s queen lacks good squares to go to, and black will capture twice on c3, after which it’s game over. Muntean didn’t wait for the inevitable and chose to resign.
At the top, there have been many draws, but the games have been intense. One example is this game where one of the pre-tournament favorites, GM David Gavrilescu, plays against Stephan Briem from Iceland. White has had a slight advantage for a while, but black has defended well, and now it’s black’s turn.
60. fxe3 Rxc7
This is forced, and now it’s an immediate draw after 61. Qxc7 Qe2†, leading to perpetual check. But white has ideas too.
Same idea! And white also wins an extra pawn. However, it’s not enough to win. The game continued with
61… fxe6 62. Qxc7† Kh6 63. Qf7 Qe2† 64. Qf2 Qd1
And while white tried for another twenty moves, there was no way to exploit the extra pawn.