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An electrifying opening ceremony at the World Youth Championships 2019

by Sagar Shah - 02/10/2019

When the World Youth Championships 2019 come for the first time in India, how do you expect the opening ceremony to be? For all those who were present at the Convention center of the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai, the experience was "electrifying". The dance performances showcased at a glance the myriad culture of India. Players from 64 countries are taking part at the World Youth Championships 2019 (under-14,16,18). The Indian challenge at the event is being led by Praggnanandhaa (2567) and Divya Deshmukh (2362). In this article we bring to you the glimpses of the opening ceremony and also tell you about the "How well do you know India" Quiz that was conducted by us with players from across the world!

The World Youth Championships is being organized for the first time in India. It is truly a big moment for the entire chess fraternity of the country and this showed in the way the organizers welcomed players from 64 different countries It was a rousing opening ceremony! There were different dance forms performed that presented to the viewers the cultural variety of India.

Deep emotions are always attached to any Indian dance and the same was showcased in ample measure | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Perfect postures, synchronisation and complete engrossment in the art made the show a delight to watch | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Look at those expressions! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Mallakhamb dance was absolutely spectacular | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Mallakhamb is a traditional sport, originating from the Indian subcontinent, in which a gymnast performs aerial yoga postures and wrestling grips in concert with a vertical stationary or hanging wooden pole (Wikipidea) | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The adivasi/tribal dance | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The girl holds in her hand multiple lamps | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It was a colourful program, very lively, just the kind you would expect in India! | Photo: Amruta Mokal
The colourful opening ceremony captured in five minutes!

The dignitaries present at the opening ceremony (from left to right): Ravindra Dongre (tournament director), Harish Mehta (Founding member of Nasscom), Pravin Jain (Chairman of the organizing committee), Dr. Pallavi Darade (Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration), Rahul Shah (President of AMCA), Keshav Murugesh (CEO of WNS and Chairman of Nasscom), D.V. Sundar (Vice-President FIDE), Bharat Singh Chauhan (Secretary AICF). | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The traditional lighting of the lamp for an auspicious beginning by the Chairman of the organizing committee Mr. Pravin Jain | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Three of the most experienced administrators of Indian chess - FIDE Vice President D.V. Sundar, Member of the FIDE Ethics Commission Ravindra Dongre and Chairman of FIDE Technical Commission Bharat Singh Chauhan | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The highest rated players Indian players at the event - R. Praggnanandhaa (2567), who will be playing in the under-18 section and Divya Deshmukh (2362), the top seed in the under-14 girls section | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Russia would be having huge hopes on their little talent Volodar Murzin, as 14-year-old starts as the second seed in the under-14 section. He is here with his trainer GM Mikhail Kobalia. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For some travelling to India meant long flights and sleepless nights! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Go Lithuania! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The youngsters from Uzbekistan will be looking to make a mark at this event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Team Belarus | Photo: Amruta Mokal

One of the brightest talents of Mumbai and India - Om Kadam. He is the former under-9 national champion and under-10 asian champion | Photo: Amruta Mokal

13-year-old Aditya Mittal is already an IM and has decided to fight in the under-18 section | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The team of arbiters having a relaxed time before the intensive work begins! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

A wonderful thing to notice is the representation of women arbiters at the event. Both International Arbiters - Vinita Shrotri and Preeti Deshmukh | Photo: Amruta Mokal

After the opening ceremony, it was time for a nice dinner | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Live Pasta counter was in great demand!

Supriya Bhat, the business development manager of ChessBase India at the ChessBase India stall at the venue | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We have the ChessBase softwares and Quality Chess Books, both at 25% discount as compared to the international prices. We also have a whole new set of ChessBase India accessories which includes t-shirts, jewellery, photo cards, pens and much more! Don't forget to pay a visit to the tournament and the ChessBase India stall if you are present in Mumbai.

Avathanshu Bhat, the editor-in-chief of ChessBase India Juniors, interviews players for his series "Board of many Colours". The idea is to bring out the stories of different players from different countries who have come down to India for the World Youth Championships 2019. Here's the first one:

Nassim Zrikem, 2125 Elo from Morocco | Photo: Avathanshu Bhat

“I have been playing chess since the last 5 years ever since my dad taught me the game, and I fell in love with it. This is my first time in India, as well as my first World Youth, but I have a good feeling; I think it’s going to be a very promising tournament with a lot of players from different countries! I was sure the cultural barrier would be a problem, but thanks to the organizers and the amazing arrangements, it has been barely noticeable to me. I particularly enjoyed the opening ceremony dance. To be honest, I loved everything about it!” What do you think about your competition? “Eh, I’m sure it’s going to be challenging; probably players over 2100 will put me in a spot, but hey! The confidence levels are high! I’m sure this World Youth is going to be a good one. J’adore l’Inde!”

Jonas Hilwerda, Elo 2229 from the Netherlands

"I was told by a teacher at school and by my father that I might become a champion one day. I believed in that dream and worked on chess since I was 6. I never foresaw that I would become the Dutch champion of my country. Little did I know I would soon represent the Dutch team in India! I would say this is a very significant tournament; being a champion here would be something marvelous, you know? That title on your name will mean that you are more known to the chess world! I’m not actually sure about the strength of the tournament as I’ve never been here before. First of all its great to be here! You get to witness the opening ceremony and cultural differences; admittedly with a bang! [laughs] We of course are not used to that in the Netherlands. However, when it comes to my game, I don’t care who is my opponent and how strong they are, as long as I’m focused on the objective.”

How well do you know India quiz?

We conducted the "How well do you know India quiz" with some of the players from outside India. We wanted to know how well do they know the country in which they have just come to play a tournament. Also it was just a fun way to introduce them a few things about the country, if they weren't aware about the same. So, here are the questions. Try to see, how well do you know India!:

1. Who is this young boy?

2. Who are these famous Indian women chess players?

What's the name of this famous structure in India?

This one is in Mumbai where the tournament is being held. What is this famous landmark?

Mumbai is quite densely populated. Do you know what is the population of the city?

Who is this famous player, now a little older, taking part in the World Youth Championships?

Now this one is a tough one! Who are these four players and what is the common link between them?


1. That's young Vishy Anand with the picture of his mother Susheela pinned on his shirt.

2. The top two women players of India Humpy Koneru (left) and Harika Dronavalli

3. Taj Mahal, one of the most recognizable structures of India

4. Gateway of India, the most popular structure of the city of Mumbai

5. The population of Mumbai (mind you it is only a city!) is over 20 million people! That's more than many of the countries taking part in the event!

6. That little youngster over there is Praggnanandhaa!

7. Top row - Viktor Gazik and Annmarie Muetsch. Bottom row - Polina Shuvalova and Shant Sargsyan. The common link between them is that they all had won the World Youth titles in 2018 and are also playing in the 2019 championships! Gazik and Shuvalova won in the under-18 section, while Sargsyan and Muetsch in under-16.

Pragg and Divya take on the "How well do you know India" Quiz!

For all those keen to know about the players and top seeds in each section, check out our curtain raiser report. Round 1 begins on 2nd of October 2019 at 3 p.m. IST

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