World Youth Chess Championships: All eyes on Praggnanandhaa

This is for the first time India will be hosting the World Youth Chess Championships, and six world titles, in boys and girls categories, will be at stake.

All eyes will be on the 15- year-old Praggnanandhaa, when the World Youth Championship begins in Mumbai in October 1.   -  R. Ragu

All eyes will be on Grandmasters R. Praggnanandhaa, P. Iniyan and Armenia’s Sargsyan Shant when the World Youth Chess Championships begins here on October 1.

This is for the first time India will be hosting the tournament and six world titles -- boys and girls categories -- will be at stake. The tournament will see the participation of 700-plus players and will be streamed live on social media, according to Ravindra Dongre, Tournament Director.

The event is being organised by the All Marathi Chess Association, under the aegis of All India Chess Federation. India’s highest woman GM, Koneru Humpy, said: “India is probably hosting a tournament of this magnitutde for the first time. It is an opportunity for young kids to get inspired by rubbing shoulders with budding international stars.

Participant nations include Russia, Azerbaijan, Chile, Georgia, USA, Italy, France, Germany, to name a few. Dongre observed: “Many of the world chess stars started their journey at the World Youth Championships. The gold, silver, bronze medals are treasured by youngsters all their life.”

GM Harika Dronavalli recalled: “I started my professional career with the World Youth chess in 2000 at Spain. I won many medals at the event which put me on my journey to the top.”

Notable players taking part from India include  Sreeshwan Maralalshikari (boys), Rakshita Ravi, Divya Deshmukh (girls). Asked about GM Nihal Sarin’s absence, Dongre explained: “We would loved to have him, but after playing the FIDE World Cup in Russia, fatigue is the reason.” The 15-year-old Indian has stunned established players in the recent past and his absence will be a big blow. In his absence, Praggnanandhaa -- the world’s second youngest GM -- remains the biggest Indian name in the fray.