The strongest young stars begin the WJCC in India
The World Junior Chess Championship 2011 will take place 1-16 August in India. It is one of the strongest WJCC ever, featuring over 80 titled players among the juniors and girls.
Top rated in the junior section are the Russians GM Maxim Matlakov (2632) and GM Sanan Sjugirov (2629). It is difficult to project them as favorites, given the full list of participants including the Spanish star GM Ivan Salgado Lopez, the Russian talent GM Alexandr Shimanov, the WYCC participant GM Tamir Nabaty, Armenia’s champion and WYCC team member GM Robert Hovhannisyan and his compatriot who currently is playing in Lake Sevan GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, the USA star and one of the youngest GMs in the world GM Ray Robson, the Polish talent GM Dariusz Swiercz, the top Indian junior GM Adhiban, and many other GM, IM, and FM talents from around the world.
In the girls section 30 titled players are favorites for the title, in what is expected to be a very close race. Top rated is the medalist from the 2008 WJCC WGM Nazi Paikidze, followed by WGM Anastasia Savina and WGM Olga Girya (all three of them stars from the Blondes vs Brunettes match), the Peru top junior WGM Deysi Cori, and the local star Padmini Rout.
More about the World Junior and Girls U-20 Championships
The idea was the brainchild of William Ritson-Morry and he organized the 1951 inaugural event to take place in England. Borislav Ivkov was the first champion. Since then it has been held every two years until 1973, when an annual schedule was adopted. The first tournament was 11-round Swiss, but in subsequent years preliminary tournament have been played with players divided into sections of approximately equal strength. From these preliminaries sections, players qualified for the top, middle and lowest sections i.e. A, B, C and D finals.
In the period 1951-1973 finals were held as Round-Robin tournaments. Since then preliminaries were cancelled and a 13-round Swiss event was adopted.
In 1982, a separate tournament for girls U-20 was organized. The first winner was Agnieszka Brustman of Poland. The first event was also called the World Cup. Since then the World Girls U-20 Championships have been held every year, except 1984 year.
Top junior players of all continents are taking part in Championships. Champions under 20: Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand became World Champions. The World Girls U-20 Champion Zhu Chen became the World Women Champion.
In the 2009 year in Argentina 80 juniors and 45 girls from 61 countries took part. In the 2010 year in Poland 109 juniors and 67 girls from 50 countries took part.
Indian players have been regularly participating in World Junior Chess Championships. The current World Champion and World No.1 GM Viswanathan Anand made India proud by becoming the first World Junior Champion in 1987. Since then, GM Pentala Harikrishna (2004), and GM Abhijeet Gupta (2008), had won World Junior Championship.
The current World Women’s Champion contender GM Koneru Humpy became the first Indian girl to win the World Junior Girls Championship in 2002. After her Dronavalli Harika (2008), and Soumya Swaminathan (2010) emerged as Champions in World Junior Girls Championship.
The rise of Viswanathan Anand and Koneru Humpy in the world arena has inspired many Indian Juniors to take up chess more professionally. At this year’s WJCC are expected a large contingent of Indian players to take part this time as this prestigious event is to be organized in the historical city Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.