Azerbaijani players rule supreme in the 2022 FIDE World Junior Championship that came to an end in Sardinia. Abdulla Gadimbayli (pictured below) and Govhar Beydullayeva of Azerbaijan took titles in very close competitions in both open and girl sections.
The open event was a nail-biter until the very end. Adam Kozak (Hungary) was coming into the final round on 8/10, a half point ahead of Gadimbayli, with as many as nine players trailing the leader by a full point. Abdulla played a very exciting game with his compatriot Mahammad Nuradli that ended in a draw. Francesco Sonis (Italy) and Nikolozi Kacharava (Georgia) scored very important victories and caught up with Gadimbayli.
Now all eyes were on the encounter between Leon Luke Mendoza and Adam Kozak (pictured below), in which the Hungarian needed just a draw to clinch the title. However, Adam did not manage to hold an inferior endgame down an exchange playing on a 30-second increment and threw in the towel on the move 83.
As a result, five players tied for first place, with Abdulla Gadimbayli claiming gold thanks to slightly better Buchholz (just 0.5 points) over Adam Kozak, who had to settle for silver. The bronze medal goes to Nikolozi Kacharava.
|5||GM||Mendonca, Leon Luke||IND||2558||8|
Ironically, the leader in the girls section Govhar Beydullayeva (pictured below), also lost her final round game, but it went without consequences as she had a full-point cushion and better tiebreaks (direct encounter win) over her main rival Assel Serikbay from Kazakhstan.
Assel did her best, beat Yelyzaveta Hrebenshchykova (Ukraine) and scored equal points with Beydullayeva, but it was only enough for silver.
Four players tied for third place, but Meruet Kamalidenova (Kazakhstan) pulled out bronze thanks largely to her last-round victory over the champion.
Photo: Przemek Nikiel
Official website: fideworldjunior2022.com