Chinese Youth Event Final Report

Here is the final report from UK team leader and team coach, Martin and Helen Harvey, from their base in Xi'an:

19 Aug (Day 4): Today was full of Chinese history and culture. In the morning, the organisers took us to visit Louguantai Temple, situated in the northern foothills of the Qin Mountains (70 km east of Xi'an), the birthplace of Taoism. It is a famous holy place for tourists to visit, founded in the Western Zhou Dynasty and flourishing in the Sui and Tang Dynasties. It is a beautiful and scenic spot, surrounded by mountains, a bamboo forest and decorative buildings. Whilst there the teenagers dressed up in traditional costume, sang, played games of Go and practiced bow and arrow shooting, much to the delight of the media cameras. Great fun was enjoyed by all. In the afternoon, we visited Han Yang Ling Mausoleum Museum, located on the bank of the Wei River in the northern suburbs of Xi’an City. It is built on the Yangling Cemetery where King Jing of the Western Han Dynasty and Queen Wang were buried together in different caves. Many burial graves were seen with personal effects for the afterlife.

20 Aug (Day 5): Rounds 4, 5 and 6 were played and the UK opponents continued to be very strong (the weakest grade being a 1D). First the UK played Weinan Tongguan (China) - graded 5D, 5D, 3D, 3D. In round 5 they played Xian Han and Tang Youth (China) - all graded 5D - and finally played the Malaysian team - graded 3D, 3D, 2D, 1D. The evening was finished off by going to watch a very impressive performance about Chinese history. It was held outdoors with a wonderful backdrop of a mountain, trees and water. The stage sets, fountain displays, graphics, dancing and costumes were extremely grand and fabulous to watch. All the UK team members thoroughly enjoyed themselves and gave a very big thank you to Zhao and his father for a great night out and for their generous hospitality in purchasing the tickets.

Aug 21 (Day 6): In the morning it was R7, the final round. The UK players had hoped to play against the French team, but instead we played another strong team Ulumuqi (China) - graded 4D, 4D, 3D, 2D. Whilst we lost to this team, to our great surprise and enjoyment, Rowan (12k) beat his 4d opponent, and indeed all our players felt they played their best games in this final round. All 4 boards were narrow wins, adding to some boards where we had narrow defeats in the first 6 matches.

In the afternoon came the Closing Ceremony, where the top 3 teams received cheques, the next 3 teams certificates, and all 20 teams a nice, tall and heavy, glass award. Winning the tournament was the Xi'an No. 83 Middle School Team, with Korea second and Japan third.

The UK Team of mostly double-digit kyu players - Edmund Smith, Rowan Borrow, Daniel Gascoyne and Amy Upton - reflected on how games had gone. True, we didn't manage to beat any of the 7 teams we played, as we always faced stronger opponents - all 28 being dan players. But any UK team would have struggled, and we would have gathered a stronger team if we'd had more notice of the event - held in the UK summer, with holidays already planned. Also, the UK's oldest teenagers expected their A-level results on the day we left England, so they were unable to accept a China place. Even so, those players who were selected were delighted that they were, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole Chinese adventure. Much learning and experience - and many memories - were gained by all. All our players recorded most of their games, and benefited from those reviewed in Xi'an, with reviews of the remaining games to be received when back in England.

In the evening, Mr Zhao drove 1 of 2 cars he kindly provided, to take us round the city. This enabled us to enjoy walking along the impressive city wall, and also along the very pretty south lake.

Aug 22 (Day 7): This would be our last day in China. We spent it - again courtesy of Mr Zhao - visiting the Terracotta Army, before his cars took us (with luggage) to the airport for a meal. The warriors site is a contender for the 8th Wonder of the World. This was one of the great discoveries in the history of archeology in the 20th century. It was added to the World Cultural Heritage list by UNESCO in 1987. As you can image, this was an intensely busy tourist location. The UK Team was very pleased to have had the chance to visit this location.

We are all taking home with us many happy memories of the friendly and kind people we have met during our stay in China, and are full of thanks for the organisers, hosts, Fan Hui, interpreters, and Mr Zhao and his son.



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