The World Junior Chess Championship, the first stepping stone to future glory, is scheduled from October 5-20 in Pune. A total of 250 players from 65 countries, including 30 which have confirmed their entries till date ahead of the September 5 deadline, would be seen in action in the under 20 tournament, it was announced at a media conference here today.
The event is being hosted jointly by the Maharashtra Chess Association and its Pune affiliate at a five star hotel in Viman Nagar and 1987 winner and five-time world champion Vishwanathan Anand, who was present at the announcement, is the event's brand ambassador.
Anand and a few others from the chess fraternity met Maharashtra CM Prithrivaj Chavan last evening and the latter has agreed to be the patron of the tournament and also assured the state government's support to the event, said MCA vice president Anirudh Deshpande.
Anand, who spoke about how the world junior title that he won as his first major crown in his illustrious career nearly three dacades ago in the Philippines, said a strong field will be seen in action in the tournament. "The world junior chess championship will see a very strong field of players and will be very competitive," said Anand who is preparing for the rematch with Magnus Carlsen for regaining the world crown that he had surrendered to the Norwegian ace last November in his home town - Chennai.
"We will all be rooting for Vineet Gujrathi (ranked third in the event) who has come after winning a big championship (category 16 tournament) in Armenia," Anand said. There will be a open category for players with ELO rating of 2000 and above and a girls category for those with a rating of 1800, said Pune-based GM Abhijit Kunte, a key member of the organising panel.
"Players like Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, Kasparov and myself had won the world juniors before going on to win the world championship (seniors) title," said the Spain-based, 44-year-old Indian chess wizard.
The other Indian winners of the world junior title in the past are P Harikrishna, Abhijeet Gupta, Koneru Humpy, Dronavalli Harika and Soumya Swaminathan. The winner of the title in the 13-round Swiss League event would be richer by Rs 6 lakh.
The highest-rated player in the open category - which will see 51 participants including 13 GMs - is Wei Yi of China and Robin Van Kampen of The Netherlands - both with an identical rating of 2638 - while the lowest is New Zelander Raivath Mallela and the average ELO rating is 2300. There would be ten Indians in the fray. Among the 37-srong girls' field is one woman GM.
Alexandra Goryachkina of Russia (rating 2430) heads the field which has three Indian participants.