The Queen’s Gambit Comes to Life!

the queens gambit comes to life blog image

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Step aside, Beth Harmon! Eline Roebers is the new U-14 World Chess Champion.

Eline became a chess world champion through hard work and dedication to this game many of us love and respect.

Where one person has gone, others may follow. Eline’s achievement will no doubt inspire other chess players.

Beth Harmon had Mr. Shaebel as her mentor. Eline is fortunate to have her coach, IM Robert Ris, to guide her.

If you are fortunate to own any of the high-quality courses Robert has produced for, you know first-hand how good a coach he is.

Path To The U-14 World Chess Finals

Eline Roebers first had to qualify for the finals of the U-14 World Chess Championship by playing in the European Continent qualifier. This proved a good opportunity to warm-up for the finals.

She started the qualifier perfectly with a score of 6/6. By the time she suffered her first loss, Eline had already qualified for the last 16.

Before the qualifying tournament Eline did nothing extra-special to prepare. She worked with her coach, Robert Ris, as normal.

Eline spends between 4 and 5 hours a day working on her chess. She is focused on improving her openings but still spends time doing tactical exercises or reading chess books.

The pandemic gave them the opportunity to intensify the training a little.

Eline was not unduly troubled by the lack of over-the-board tournaments. She kept up her hard work on improving her game.

i like the attacking and unbalanced positions that arise after 1..f5 - Eline Roebers

When the opportunity arose to play in a weekend tournament, in the Netherlands, Eline seized the opportunity for tournament play. On her way to a 5/6 score, Eline defeated a strong IM.

This result clearly showed her hard work was paying off.

Before we continue, if you are interested in improving your chess with Eline’s coach, IM Robert Ris, The Ris Method is a great place to start.

The U-14 Rapid World Chess Championship

In the finals, things didn’t go quite as well as in the qualifier.

Eline made progress with the aid of her improved chess skills and mental toughness. When games turned against her Eline held her nerve and turned things around.

U-14 Rapid World Chess Championship – Semi-Final

The semi-finals proved she had the mindset to become world champion.

In the following video, her coach, IM Robert Ris, analyzes one of her games playing as white in the semi-finals:

In her first game against Laysa Latifah, from Indonesia, Eline misplayed a promising attack and found herself two pawns down in the endgame. Her opponent successfully converted this advantage into a win.

Fortunately for Eline, there wasn’t much time to stew over the loss. The second game started a mere 25 minutes later.

The second game also proved a hard-fought battle but this time it was Eline who got the victory to force an Armageddon match.

Despite her passive play Laysa reached a position where she could have won the game. Although, in all fairness, the winning line was not an easy line to spot.

This time it was Eline who recovered quickly and transitioned into a winning pawn endgame.

Here is the hard-fought Armageddon match which Eline won to advance to the finals.

U-14 Rapid World Chess Championship – The Final

IM Robert Ris goes over what probably was Eline’s best game in the torunament, playing a Dutch Defense:

In the finals, Eline was playing against WFM Zsoka Gaal, from Hungary.

Like a true champion, Eline took control of the final by winning the first game in convincing style.

Against 1.Nf3, Eline chose to play the Dutch Defense Leningrad system. This is an opening she plays quite regularly because of its fighting, unbalanced nature.

The game remained even all the way through until move 25.

When her opponent gave her a chance to gain the advantage, Eline didn’t miss her chance. She met 25.Qc3 with 25…Qc5! And played the brilliant intermediate move 26…Ra1+

Eline’s opponent resigned after move 32 because there was no way to stop the advanced c-pawn from promoting.

Nothing is Easy in the Finals

All Eline needed to win the title was a draw in the second game. The pressure on her would make this very challenging even though she was playing with white.

The opening was safely negotiated, but Eline grabbed a poisoned pawn in the middlegame. This gave her opponent the chance to infiltrate Eline’s position.

Suddenly Eline found herself in a lost position after playing 21.Bxb5?. Zsoka didn’t miss her chance and played the accurate 21…Ra1!

Five moves later, Eline was playing with a rook against two knights. In a position, the chess engine assesses as -5! Black had a decisive advantage.

Defending like the champion she was about to become, Eline leveled the game five moves later.

She could have gained the advantage on the very next move after drawing level. Instead, she played a move that was good enough to earn her a draw.

This game clearly showed Eline’s mental toughness. She stayed calm even though the position was lost.

A picture of Eline Roebers who won the U-14 World Chess Championship by working hard at her chess and showing he mental toughness to overcome challenging  positions in her games.
Eline Roebers won the U-14 World Chess Championship by working hard at her chess and showing her mental toughness to overcome challenging positions in her games.

In fact, had she played 33.Re1 instead of Re4, the position would have swung from -5 to +3.5 in her favor. Missing this opportunity shouldn’t detract from the fact she fought back from -5 to draw the game.

Eline stayed the course and got what she needed to become the U-14 World Rapid Chess Champion.

What’s Next for Eline?

When over-the-board play resumes, Eline Roebers will continue her journey towards obtaining the title of FIDE Master.

Once she has achieved this goal, Eline intends to continue improving her playing strength and one day become a strong Grand Master.

There’s no doubt the good habits she has formed this early in her chess career will ensure she enjoys more chess success in the future.

Eline Roebers will continue to benefit from having Robert Ris, a proven world-class coach, by her side as her journey continues.

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