With the most credentialed chess player and female chess player of all time looking on, four young Hungarian stars bested their American counterparts Sunday in the first USA-Hungary Youth Rapid Match. The event was co-sponsored by Chess.com and was part of the 7th Annual Polgar Chess Festival in the Palace of Arts, Budapest, Hungary.
GM Judit Polgar played a simultaneous exhibition in the background while GM Garry Kasparov visited the festival. Amidst the showpieces was on online match, played on chess.com, between an Under 8-, Under 10-, Under 12- and Under 14-high-rated player from each country. The four players played once as White and once as Black at a time control of 10 minutes plus five-second increment.
Hungary won 5.5-2.5 thanks to overall better clock management and fewer one-move blunders. They led 2.5-1.5 after the first segment but won the second segment more convincingly, 3-1.
In the battle between the top two players, Hungary's Levente Marosi (2037 FIDE), a national scholastic champion, won 2-0 over Philadelphia's Angel Hernandez-Camen (2147 USCF), member of this year's K-8 Supernationals team champions.
Levente Marosi, the only player to win both games
Marosi got to play his favorite King's Indian Defense in game one. By move 21 it was clear that he owned every open line on the board, and eventually his rampaging bishops forced White to resign.
In game two, Hernandez-Camen snatched a pawn on d4 that proved to be poisoned. 15...Nxd7 may have provided better resistance, as the queen still guards g7. As it happened, Black's king's rook never got in the game, and Marosi showed excellent endgame technique.
The Under-10 players also learned that capturing center pawns when behind in development can be a risky proposition. After hanging a piece in her first game, Boston's Carissa Yip (1975 USCF) saw farther into her second game with Hungary's Alex Krustulovic (1970 FIDE).
Hungary's Alex Krustulovic, who actually outrated their Under-12 representative
Carissa Yip outside the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, USA
11. Nxe5 was too tempting for White to pass up, but Black gets to have all the fun. 17...Bxd1 then gave White some hope (guarding the kingside pawns with something like 17...Qf6 would be safer, since the rook is still lost after 18. Rd2 Bc3). After the counterplay fizzled, Yip's dark-squared bishop mopped up the game.
In the Under-12 category, St. Louis' Jason Zhou (1900 USCF) earned a split with Hungary's Gellért Karácsony (1737 FIDE). After outplaying Zhou but hanging back-rank mate in game one, Karácsony would not be denied in the rematch.
Game two had a little bit of everything. Karácsony played his favorite defense to 1. d4 - the Dutch - after which Zhou spiked 3. g4!? Black calmly declined the offer and gradually undermined the center by taking control of e4. Zhou got maximum counterplay, and after some mistakes by Black, he got all the pawns off the board. Then Black squeezed out a win from a theoretically drawn position anyway. Quite a game!
In the Under-8 division, Gellért's sister Kata Karácsony (1281 FIDE) won the mini-match 1.5-0.5 over Nashville's Hemachandra Rambha (1333 USCF).
Kata Karácsony, whose family made up half the Hungarian team
Rambha showed great maturity with his late queen trade to enter a winning rook-and-pawn endgame. He maneuvered well enough to win, but could have made life more simple with 53...Ra5 followed by advancing the passed pawn. Once White walks over to win it, in the resulting king-and-pawn ending, Black's king has free reign over the board. Instead White's rook gained energy and battled back for a draw.
In game two, Rambha played too quickly and soon found himself hopelessly down material.
GM Susan Polgar also joined the commentary team in between games, as did IM Lawrence Trent. Sofia Polgar - the artist / illustrator behind many of Judit's works, including the Chess Palace Program recently instituted as part of the curriculum for Hungarian elementary schools - also participated in the festival, conducting numerous art displays with various Hungarian artists. Sofia joined a famous Hungarian artist and jointly painted a chess-themed picture. The work was auctioned for 1,000 Euros, with the proceeds going to the Judit Polgar Chess Foundation.
At one point, fans had to pick which hugely popular activity to join. With Sofia's art festivities, and Judit's Simul both taking place during the Rapid Match, things got busy.
"There was a distraction when Garry Kasparov was in the other corner of the room," Susan Polgar said.
The other activities ranged from making ceramic chess art to giant chess sets to chess-themed dancing to circus performers.
Watch a video of the event here.
Chess.com's IM Danny Rensch and FM Mike Klein commentated live on chesscom/tv. Archives of that broadcast are available in Parts one, two and three.