On July 15, the 2021 National Chess Championship for High School Students (Senior High School Group) and Chess Test Competition of ISF Jinjiang 2020 Gymnasiade was concluded at Jinjiang No.1 Middle School Gymnasium. After seven rounds of competitions in four days, Shenzhen Foreign Languages School won all four gold medals in boys' and girls' individual and team competitions.
Players participating in the competition ranked by their scores: 1 for a win, 0.5 for a draw, and 0 for a loss.
At 8:30 a.m., the final round of the test competition kicked off. On the boys' side, the game between Bai Yuxin from Fujian Xiamen No.1 High School and Yu Kaifeng from Shenzhen Foreign Languages School was under the spotlight. As of the sixth round, according to the competition rules, Bai was ahead of Yu temporarily. The titles would be decided in the final round. In the course of the match, Bai was had been dominant in the first half until his weaknesses were exposed in the endgame. Yu seized the opportunity and realized a perfect "counterattack".
On the girls' side, Bai Xue, the pre-tournament favorite from Jiangsu Xishan Senior High School, had lost to Wan Qian from Shenzhen Foreign Languages School in the sixth round. Before the seventh round, Wan had got five points and led the table, followed by Cai Youyang from Ningbo No.2 High School and Bai Xue who had both got 4.5 points. In the final game, Wan defeated her opponent easily and got another point, while Cai and Bai each got a draw, both losing the chance to reach the title.
Top three winners of the girls' team event come to the stage to receive the awards. (Photo by Qin Yue, Jinjiang Economy News)
Shenzhen Foreign Languages School won the championships of both the boys' and girls' team events; Shandong Qingdao No.2 Middle School took the second place while Fujian Xiamen No.1 High School the third place. Shandong Qingdao No.1 Middle School and Jiangsu Xishan Senior High School ranked second and third respectively in the girls' team event.
Deng Zhongmin, team leader of Shenzhen Foreign Languages School, said the four gold medals were a big surprise and the players did a great job. Deng added that the organization work of the test competition was comparable to that of the Shenzhen Universiade. "I have experienced the 26th Summer Universiade in Shenzhen. The test competition (of ISF Jinjiang 2020 Gymnasiade), from its organization to accommodation, venue setup to pandemic control, well meets the standards for international events," noted Deng.
Chen Fuyuan, vice president of Jinjiang No.1 Middle School and Executive Deputy Director of the Chess Competition Management Committee of ISF Jinjiang 2020 Gymnasiade, said that thanks to the coordinated efforts of all sides, the test competition was a great success, receiving good comments from all the participating teams, and laying a solid foundation for the incoming official competition of ISF Jinjiang 2020 Gymnasiade.
The Chess Competition Management Committee will analyze and rectify the weaknesses found during the test competition to make everything ready for the upcoming ISF Jinjiang 2020 Gymnasiade.
Interviews with the champions
Yu Kaifeng, champion of Boys' Individuals
"I think I did very well in the game, and I'm pretty satisfied with the result," said Yu Kaifeng who was excited for winning the championship. Yu would go to the university, and the test competition was his last presence in the National Chess Championship for High School Students. He said the gold medal brought a successful end to his high school career.
He said he was stressed in the final game with Bai Yuxin. "I had to win the game to be the champion. He had some advantages by holding the white pieces and was in really good conditions. I did lots of work to get ready for the competition," stated Yu. In his view, victory is what everyone dreams of, but one needs to be down-to-earth and move towards the goal step by step, and he did so in the test competition.
Yu recorded five wins and two draws in seven rounds. He was deeply impressed by the game with Li Guohao from Sanhe Everbright School who won the bronze medal. "He went first with the white pieces, but I did well in defending. We both did well. The three-and-half-hour game came to a draw, but I enjoyed it," Yu said.
At the age of five, Yu Kaifeng began to learn chess and was talented. Not long after, he finished second in a provincial competition in Guangdong Province, a great push for his dedication to chess. In the busy junior and senior high school days, Yu still made time for chess training and kept improving himself. Today, he is already a national chess player.
According to Deng Zhongmin, team leader of Shenzhen Foreign Languages School, Yu Kaifeng is an excellent chess player and a straight-A student. He finished 670 scores in the national college entrance examination, and has been admitted by Renmin University of China. In the view of Yu, learning international chess helps in both his study and his life. "Chess helps me improve thinking ability and memory, exercise mental endurance, and have a regular daily routine," said Yu.
It was Yu's first competition in Jinjiang, and the highest standard game he's ever played in with large venue and strong logistics support. He was very happy that he concluded his senior high school years with a gold medal. He said, "I play in the national chess championship every year since my first year in the junior high school. I won the champion in the first grade, and finished third or fourth places in the following years. It's great that I took the championship in my last game!"
Wan Qian, champion of Girls' Individuals
The champion of Girls' Individuals Wan Qian received an interview before the awarding ceremony. She was calm and didn't talk much. However, the happy smile was shown from time to time on her face. Before the game, Wan was not a favorite compared with Bai Xue and Cai Youyang. It was somehow a surprise that the shy grade-1 senior high school girl defeated the two strong opponents and touched the laurel.
Looking back to her road to the championship, Wan said her win over Bai Xue was a big surprise. "Bai Xue is the strongest among the girls, and everyone knows that," Wan said, "I thought a draw would be good enough for me." Surprise always comes suddenly. Bai made a mistake at the critical moment, and Wan seized the opportunity to win the game. With this victory, Wan jumped to the top of the standings and secured her place till the end.
For Wan Qian, although the champion was unexpected, but she was not unprepared. Talking about the secret to win, she said, "It's important to make a good start and maintain a good mood during the game. Do not panic even if you're running out of time. When a chance comes, don't hesitate to jump on it."
At the age of six, Wan Qian began to learn about chess through the kindergarten interest class. Over the years, she has achieved remarkable results, frequently winning the top three in national competitions, and now is a national chess player. Senior high school means less time for a hobby, but she never gives up chess, managing to make time for the game she loves.
Wan Qian was happy with the competitions in Jinjiang. She said everything was very good, especially the large and comfortable venue that allowed her to focus on the games. The test competition was also the tryout for ISF Jinjiang 2020 Gymnasiade. Wan said if she was qualified for the Gymnasiade, she would be 100-percent ready and do her best to face the challenge. "The Gymnasiade is an international event with players from all around the world," said she, "It will be a new challenge and a new platform for me. Hope I could have a new harvest in my next trip to Jinjiang."