September 30, 2014

Super Six for India at WYCC 2014!

Chess in India is booming and you know it is when the nation returns with two golds, two silvers and two bronze medals at the World Youth Championships held at Durban South Africa from the 19th to 30th of September 2014.
While the bronze medal at the Olympiad in Tromso had shown how strong India has become as a chess nation, this amazing tally of six medals at the World Youth Championships is a clear indication that the future of Indian chess is in safe hands of promising youngsters.


Have a look at the above picture. This is taken during the under-9 Nationals that were held in Chennai in November 2013. The winner in the boys section was Nihal Sarin and in the girls it was Divya Deshmukh.

And guess what!! Both the under-9, National winners turned out to be the World under-10 champions!!
It was a complete sweep by the Indians in the under-10 category with Nihal and Divya both securing the Gold.

Nihal, born in the year 2004 already has quite a few accolades to his name. In December 2013, he had won the gold medal in the world under-10 blitz title. In fact the story of this victory was reported in the popular Indian newspaper Hindu. Judging from that article it seems that Nihal comes from very humble background. His father, even though short of financial resources, seems to have put in quite some money so that his son's chess career would come to fruition. And it really has! 

Nihal played some fantastic chess and won the tournament inspite of losing the last round. He scored 9/11 and in the process gained 58 Elo points.

According to coach E P Nirmal, Nihal is extremely talented and he says, "I have seen a few prodigies and he is easily the most gifted player I have come across ever!"

Nihal with AICF CEO Bharat Singh Chauhan

Nihal is a gem and the Indian chess community should take care that this young kid receives proper training and sponsorship so that all his potential can be realised.

Sauravh Kherdekar (2195) is a popular player from Nagpur. Today on facebook, he had the following post:
This was before the last round when Divya was on 9.5/10 with a nearly perfect score.

In the last round, Divya split the point and was first with an amazing score of 10/11.
Daughter of two gynaecologists, this little wonder from Nagpur already has a bunch of records and achievements to her credit. Divya became the youngest WFM in the history of chess when she achieved the title at the age of seven years. She won the National under-7 title and followed it up with winning the Asian title in both 2012 and 2013. She became the under-9 National champion and finally she has capped it all with a gold medal at the world under-10 championships.

If you do understand Marathi, then you must definitely have a look at this wonderful youtube video on Divya over here.

Seeing the board from your opponent's point of view! Is this the secret to winning the gold?

Divya is progressing rapidly. In this tournament she added a whooping 142 Elo points to her modest rating of 1607. The day is not far when we shall be seeing her compete with the best in women chess!

 The Silver Lining!

 IM Aravindh Chithambaram, Silver medal Boys under-16.
What to say about this 15-year-old kid from Tamil Nadu. You know he is a class apart when he beats Alexie Shirov with 1.b3! Aravindh Chithambaram won the silver medal in the boys under-16 category. He might be a tad disappointed though. After all he was the top seed in his category. But the field was quite strong and a silver medal is a fantastic achievement. Aravindh already has three GM norms under his belt and a rating of 2496. However, he lost 20 Elo points in a rating tournament in Andhra Pradesh just a few days ago. He gained nine points over here which takes him to a live Elo of 2485. His GM title should be a matter of time.

GM Vaibhav Suri, Silver under-18 boys.
Vaibhav won the silver in the under-18 boys section with a score of 9/11 . Before I say anything about him, let me show you a small table...

This is a list of the youngest GMs in the history of chess as on 2012. You can see Vaibhav's name on number 27. GM before Harikrishna, Judit Polgar and even the great Bobby Fischer?!! Need I say anything more!

After becoming a GM at the age of 15, Vaibhav has been in the 2500 Elo zone for quite some time now. But I feel he hasn't stagnated. Infact his giant leap is just around the corner and soon we will be seeing him in the 2600 Elo bracket.


Medonca Leon Luke, Bronze, boys under-8
Born in 2006, I dont even know what to write about this little kid! Hasn't he just entered planet Earth?!!
I tried to search for some information on him on google, or some chess website or somewhere. But I just couldn't find anything. And that's when I realized that this boy lets his moves do the talking. I downloaded the games from the official website and found a game played by him on the top board in round nine. From the Black side of Dragon, Mendonca played a brilliant game which completely belied his age! I just couldn't believe that a 8 year old kid could play so well. He was surely better in the game and had he won it, it would have confirmed his gold medal. But it was not to be and finally he had to settle for a Bronze with a score of 8/11. Here's the game:

R Vaishali, Bronze, Girls under 14. 
R Vaishali is proving that she is one of the best players in the world in her age category. In 2012 she won a gold medal in the under 12 girls and now she has followed it up with Bronze in the under 14 section. She has also started beating established players, most notable being IM B S Shivananada. With a rating of 2124, it won't be long before this young girl starts giving a scare to the strongest of GMs.


We won six medals at the World Youth championships. However there were surely a bunch of other players who played extremely well and made the country proud. Here are a few of them.

Monnisha G K: fifth in the under 16 girls section scoring 8/11 and gaining 58 Elo.

M Mahalakshmi: fourth in Girls under 16 scoring 8/11 and gaining 85 Elo points.

Nandhidaa P V: fifth in girls under 18 with 7.5/11

I have to check accurately but maybe Parnali Dharia is the biggest Elo gainer of the entire event, gaining an astronomical 159 Elo points with a score of 7.5/11 and finishing seventh.

Priyanka Nutakki: fifth in under 12 girls with a 108 Elo increase.

Murali Karthikeyan was in the race for the medals right upto the end but had to be satisfied with fifth place in boys under 16

Unlucky not to win a medal but surely one of India's biggest talents: R Pragnanandhaa who finished fourth in under 10 category and gained 109 Elo points.

Abhimanyu did well to end on eighth place in under 14 boys

N R Vignesh: Ninth in boys under 18.

A few other performances worth mentioning:
Gukesh Dommaraju: fifth in under 8 boys
Aditya Mittal: sixth in under 8 boys
Dhanush Bharadwaj: fifth in under 10 boys
Kushagra Mohan: seventh in under 10 boys
Vantika Agarwal: ninth in under 12 girls

At an age when children are busy running around and enjoying their childhood, these kids practice, train hard and sweat it out for hours at home on the chess board. They make India shine on the global scene and make the entire Indian chess fraternity proud. Let us all give a bow to these young talents.

GM Sahaj Grover added to India's glory by finishing second at the strong Open tournament held simultaneously with the event...

And GM Abhijeet Gupta was third.

 My heartfelt gratitude to the organizers and photographers of the WYCC 2014. It was only because of their excellent pictures that I could write this article.
Pictures from facebook page of Chess South Africa.
Official website: WYCC 2014

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About the Author

Name: IM Sagar Shah.
Elo: 2468 with 1 GM norm
I fell in love with the game of chess when I was 10 years old. From being a past time, it has become my full time profession. I love to write about chess and ChessAce is a website which helps me do that! My biggest success in chess has been winning the strong Dresden Open 2014 ahead of many strong grandmasters. I am happily married to the love of my life: Amruta Mokal.

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