World Cadet Championship

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

World Cadet Championship U-12
Weifang, Shandong, China
Aug. 21–Sept. 1, 2019

Final Top Standings

Open (boys+girls) Division, U-12

1. CM Zhou Liran USA 2311, 9.5/11 2 Chen Yuan CHN 1884, 9.0/11 3 CM Ochirbat Lkhagvajamts MGL 2137, 8.0/11

Girls Division, U-12

1–2. WCM Galina Mikheeva RUS 1952, WCM Alua Numanova KAZ 1850, 9.5/11, 3 Yan Ruiyang USA 2983, 9.0/11

Open Division, U-10

1. CM Savva Vetokhin RUS 2016, 9.0/11, 2-3 Meng Yihan CHN 1793, CM Wei Jianzhou CHN 1656, 8.5/11

Girls Division, U10

1–2. Alice Lee USA 1822, WCM Chen Yining CHN 1744, 10.0/11, 3 Rachael Li USA 1911, 8.0/11

Open Division, U-8

1–2. Artem Lebedev RUS 1503, Dinmukhammed Tulendinov KAZ 1545, 9.0/11, 3 Dau Khuong Duy VIE 14678, 8.5/11

Girls Division, U-8

1. Yuan Zhilin CHN 9.0/11, 2 Wang Qinxuanyi CHN, 8.0/11, 3 Gao Muziyan CHN 8.0/11

Time Control: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves then 30 minutes play-to-finish with 30 seconds added to the clock after every move starting move 1

Total Medal Tally:

1. Russia, three gold

2. USA, two gold, two bronze

3. China, one gold, four silver, two bronze

4. Kazakhstan, two silver

5. Mongolia, one bronze

6. Vietnam, one bronze

Since 2015 the world youth chess championships have been split into two: The Under-8, Under-10 and Under-12 divisions are now classified as the “World Cadets” and Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 called the “World Youth.” This is to make it easier to find organizers for these events as the number of participants you have to host is now halved.

This year the competition for the Cadets’ Championship was held in Weifang, located in central Shandong Province of China. It is around an hour’s drive from Qingdao, one of the major seaports in China. Weifang is known as the Kite Capital of the World where the International Kite Festival is held every year around April. In fact, kites and chess go together. In the financial district of Weifang across from the giant Bank of China there is the Kite Museum and Square where people play chess, buy and fly kites. You can either watch the games being played, kites being flown, or just brush up on your kite history and take a look at kites from around the world. Not a bad way to spend your afternoon!

This August more than 800 players/officials arrived in Weifang to compete in the World Cadets Championship. The biggest delegation was from the host country China with 165 players. The United States had 75 participants and other large delegations came from Mongolia (36), India (32), Hong Kong (23) Vietnam (22), Canada (22), and Kazakhstan (15). As our readers know India and Uzbekistan (which sent a small delegation of five players) have lately been creating a lot of chess prodigies and are the nations to watch. Take a look at the top six youngest GMs in history:

1. Sergey Karjakin (UKR) 12 years 7 months (born 1990)

2. Gukesh D (IND) 12 years, 7 months, 17 days (2006)

3. Javokhir Sindarov (UZB) 12 years 10 months 3 days (2005)

4. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (IND) 12 years 10 months 13 days (2005)

5. Nodirbek Abdusattorov (UZB) 13 years 1 month 11 days (2004)

6. Arimarjan Negi (IND) 13 years 4 months 20 days (1993)

The Philippines sent only one representative to the championships, Ms. Antonella Berthe Racasa, and she participated in the Under-12 competition. She was one of the lower-rated players in the field and was seeded to finish in the 45th place. Instead, she fought hard and with every bit of strength she had, scored several upsets and was among the leaders two rounds before the end until fatigue overtook her, causing Nella to fall in the last two rounds. So who is this girl?

Tonelle is the daughter of Roberto M. Racasa, a public speaker specializing in Learning and Memory training, and Marife M. Racasa, a bank investment specialist at JP Morgan Chase. Born June 12, 2007, she is currently a Grade 6 student at Home School Global in Ortigas.

She started playing chess only a few years ago and July 2016 is her very first chess tournament as a total beginner. There was nobody egging her on to improve on her chess, she was just intrinsically passionate about chess and, with valuable coaching from her dad Robert she studiously watched chess videos on Youtube. She shocked everybody by winning the 2016 National Under-10 Championship held in Cebu in 2016.

Having realized that his daughter is a real talent, Mr. Racasa enlisted the aid of National Masters Efren Bagamasbad and Rudy Ibañez to supplement his coaching and they studied 2–3 hours a day to bring out her best. Last year Antonella won the ASEAN Under-12 Championship held in Davao. By virtue of this victory she was qualified to represent the Philippines in the World Cadet Championship in Weifang. By way of assistance, the National Chess Federation gave her an endorsement letter for visa application, certification letter indicating that she is the official representative of the Philippines and travel tax exemption.

Tonelle had 11 games in Weifang, three of her opponents were unrated while the nine others all outrated her. Here is her victory over the representative from Germany who at 1808 versus her 1380 was rated 428 points above the Filipina. This is really a huge disparity. Statistically, this means that if they play 100 games with each other the German is expected to win 93 of them! Tonelle must have said to herself “that may be so, but not today!”

Racasa, Antonella Berthe (1380) —
Braeutigam, Katerina (1808) [D02]

Wch Cadets U12 Weifang,
Shandong (5), 25.08.2019

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4

This move used to be the trademark of Gata Kamsky, but lately some of the top players like Magnus Carlsen, Alexander Grischuk and Levon Aronian have taken it up. I believe though that this has more to do with trying to get original positions rather than any strategical or tactical considerations.

2…c5 3.c3 d5 4.e3 Qb6 5.Qb3 c4

This line scores well for Black.

6.Qc2 Nc6

The usual follow-up for Black’s 5…c4 is 6…g6 to prepare for …Bf5 as well as to fianchetto his f8–bishop. Let us follow the main line a bit: 7.Nd2 Bf5 8.Qc1 (notice that White has no time for e3–e4) 8…Nc6 9.Ngf3 Bg7 10.h3 0–0 11.Be2 (11.b3 is not so hot, as 11…cxb3 12.axb3 Rfc8 13.Qb2 Ne4 14.g4 Nxd2 15.Nxd2 Bd7 16.Nf3 Na5 17.Rb1 Bb5 18.Nd2 Bxf1 19.Kxf1 Qc6 20.b4 Nc4 gives Black an easy game. Grabinsky, A. (2338)-Zhou, J. (2595) Philadelphia 2017 0–1 33) 11…Rac8 12.0–0 Rfe8 13.Re1 Ne4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Nd2 e5!? with good play for Black. Yurtseven, M. (2166)-Stefanova, A. (2531) Albena 2013 1–0 33. The result of the game has nothing to do with the opening.

7.Nd2 Bg4

Now 7…g6 8.e4! is already playable and after 8…e6 9.Nh3 Bg7 10.e5 White has a very comfortable game. Soysal, S. (2025)-Yildiz, B. (2368) Antalya TUR 2013 1–0 32.


GM Eric Prie in the “Chess Publishing” website maintains that the best move here is 8.b3! as after 8…cxb3 which is obviously forced 9.axb3 White has both succeeded in eliminating the annoying pawn on c4 and opening the a-file for his rook. Prie, E. (2520)-Congiu, M. (2330) Condom 2009 1–0 36.

8…e6 9.Be2 Bf5 10.Qc1 Qd8 11.b3 b5 12.0–0


This looks like a standard move, exchanging knight for bishop before White can play h2–h3 followed by hiding his bishop on h2. There is a tactical trick present here though which Braeutigam misses.

13.Bg5! f6

[13…Be7? 14.Ne5! attacks both the knight on c6 and the one on h5. Black is going to lose material, for example after 14…Nxe5 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.dxe5 the knight has nowhere to go, and if 16…Bg6 17.bxc4 bxc4 18.Qd1 wins the knight just the same]


White is still threatening Ne5.

14…g5 15.Nxg5! fxg5 16.Bxh5+ Kd7 17.Bg3 g4

Hoping for …Qg5.

18.f3 Qg5 19.fxg4 Bxg4 20.Bxg4 Qxg4 21.bxc4!

Opening up for an invasion down the b-file, since b8 is covered by his bishop on g3. The game is over.

21…bxc4 22.Qb2 Rc8 23.Qb7+ Kd8 24.Rf7 Be7 25.Bd6 Rg8 26.g3 Qg5 27.Nf3 Qxe3+ 28.Kh1 Re8 29.Ne5 Qe4+ 30.Kg1 Qe3+ 31.Kf1 [No more checks] 1–0

Tonelle is showing a great deal of promise.

Do you notice that when it comes to the lower age groups the Filipino players usually score well but when it comes to the Under-16 or Under 18 categories they start fading? That is because in the Under-8, -10 and -12 groups the players are going by their innate talent, and around 13–15 years of age that is when the heavy coaching and opening preparation kick in. Our players are not short on talent, but lacking in resources to make the jump from “promising” to “accomplished.”

Calling our Federation!


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.