Junior chess players are lucky these days.  There are so many tournaments that they can play in.  If they are good they can play also in adult (open) tournaments and they have coaches and computers to help them.  If they are very good they can even play overseas in the many World and Continental age group titles organised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

I was a bit stunned the other day to find that my youngest student, 7 year-old Atlas, was thinking of playing in the World Under 8 Championships in Greece later this year.  I too went to Greece to play in a World Junior Championship but I was 18 years old and that was the only junior title awarded by FIDE. Of course that  was a long time ago.  It’s strange to think that I failed to “discover” adult chess tournaments until I was no longer a junior and that my first adult event was the 1970 Victorian Open Championship.  The Vic. Open is still going strong and is coming up next month on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.  I shall probably turn up to the Melbourne Chess Club to watch Atlas play in it!  He needs to practise games at a slow time control if he is going to Athens.

I can’t remember much about my first Vic. Open but I do remember playing against this old foreign guy with huge hands and a squeaky voice.  His name was Karlis Ozols and he had been Victorian Champion many times.  I’m pretty sure that I lost that game but I soon learnt to understand how Ozols played.  He liked blocked positions (playing the English Opening and the Dutch Defence) but he had a weakness.  He did not really understand about weak squares and would often end up with a very bad bishop on the same colour as his pawns.

In his day Ozols had played against some of the top players in the world, such as Keres, Flohr and Reshevsky and for today’s puzzle I have chosen a game between Ozols and Rueben Fine, the famous American grandmaster.  The full game is below but go to move 12 to see the puzzle.

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”http://chessmicrobase.com/microbases/3884/games/535935?token=y5p7g2l5&embedded=1#hcp-” frameborder=”0″>]

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