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India dominates Asian Youth 2018 with 35 gold medals!

by Sagar Shah - 10/04/2018

What an amazing event it was! India won 35 gold medals in Team and Individual combined in all the three formats Classical, Rapid and Blitz to stand out as the most powerful chess country in Asia as on today. And we were miles ahead of the second placed Vietnam team which won 17 gold medals. This was a fantastic team effort with AICF making sure that all the qualified players get their expenses covered by the Government of India, the parents and coaches supporting the players in every possible way and the players fighting it out with everything that they have on the board! India shining! A detailed report with pictures and analysis of winners' games.

A huge crowd gathered at the closing ceremony of the Asian Youth Championship 2018. The Indian table was the loudest! Every time one of our players would get the medal, the team would erupt into a loud cheer! Coaches, officials, kids everyone was having the time of their life!

Coaches, kids, officials - everyone enjoyed the moment to the fullest! | Source: TJ Suresh Kumar

And why wouldn't we! The youngsters had shown how dominant Indians are by winning 35 gold medals in team and individual competition in all the three formats combined - Classical, Rapid and Blitz.

That's how India fared! If you look closely, India tops in each and every format! | Photo: TJ Suresh Kumar

68 medals is quite a lot. India won 33 medals in Individual format and 35 in team. Our youngsters won 14 individual gold medals and 21 as a team. The team medals is something new that was introduced here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The points of top three players in each group would be added and the team that has the most cumulative points gets the gold medal. India did well in almost all sections showing that we had more than one player doing well in the respective categories.


But, just a few hours before this celebration, everything was quiet. The coaches and parents were tense. The players had their heads in their hands. One mistake could mean the difference between a gold and a medal-less finish. The stakes were high, but the kids had their nerves under control. In the end we won four gold medals, five silver, and five bronze in the classical format. Here's a close look at the champions!

D. Gukesh - gold under-12

Gukesh was the highest rated player not just in his section but amongst the entire 1000+ players who had gathered at the Asian Youth 2018. He stayed true to his top billing and clean sweeped the under-12 section with three gold medals in the classical, rapid and blitz section. His main competitor was Iranian Bardiya Daneshwar, who was the second seed and rated 2361. Gukesh made sure that he scored the full point against him in the fifth round.

The battle of two prodigies - Gukesh and Bandeshwar. We are sure to see their paths crossing in future as well | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

One of the things that I noticed in Gukesh's games was that when the positions were complex he found interesting ideas, but there was high chances that the game could go either way. But when the endgames arrived, he was just at an altogether different level. The boy knew just where his pieces belonged and outplayed his opponents with absolute ease. Take for example his last round win:

The golden boy of Indian chess! | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Gukesh goes back home with 6 medals - 5 gold and 1 bronze. Apart from three individual golds, he got two gold medals in team rapid and blitz and a bronze in the classical section. Gukesh will next play in the Bangkok Open in Thailand. Does the boy already have it in him to start fighting for the GM title? Well, I have to say there are a lot of areas where Gukesh can work and improve upon, but that's the scary part (for his future rivals!). If he has already reached 2400, what would happen if he starts fixing his problems! The boy is yet to turn 12 and he is already an IM. Gukesh is clearly going to make it big in the years to come. We have our eyes on him and we recommend you to do the same!

Sahithi Varshini - gold under-12 girls

Sahithi Varshini won golds in the rapid and classical format and a silver in blitz | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

To show you how talented this girl is, let me narrate an anecdote. World famous trainer and author Jacob Aagaard visited the Asian Youth in Thailand on the penultimate day. When he was in the premises, a middle aged man approached him and said, "Sir, I would very much like to show you a game played by my daughter today." Jacob was amused. He would usually get parents coming upto him and ask about improvement techniques, or which books to study or how to balance academics and chess! This was something different. He asked the man to show the game. Lokesh (that's the father's name) made the initial moves: 

White has just played his queen to e2

Said Lokesh, "Sir, do you know what my daughter played here? She took on d4 with her queen and sacrificed his queen for two knights." Aagaard has seen many sacrifices in his life to know which ones are easy and which are truly special. This was one was the latter. He looked at the entire game and was thoroughly impressed. Later in the day, while I was chatting with Jacob, he mentioned about the game. "Tremendous queen sacrifice" was Jacob's assessment. Let's have a look at the entire game:

Sahithi is trained by her father who believes in classical form of education in chess. That's the reason why you can see some really great ideas and sacrifices in Sahithi's games. The girl if directed in a proper manner can become one of India's and world's finest players in the years to come.

A proud father with his daughter | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Om Kadam - gold under-10

Hailing from a humble background, Om Kadam is a pure case of talent overcoming financial difficulties to shine on the big stage! The boy is the current under-9 national champion and he proved his mettle by winning the gold at the Asian under-10 almost with a round to spare. He lost the last round, but 7.5 was a good score to win the yellow metal.

The under-10 Asian champion Om Kadam | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Speaking to his coach Sharad Tilak, the experienced IM said, "Om has a natural flair for handling the initiative and sharp tactical vision. Because of his young age he can be impulsive at times. He is highly talented and definitely a GM prospect." 


There are two points about Om which highly impressed me when I saw him at the IIFLW 2018 in Mumbai. Firstly, the moment he got an advantage he would finish off his opponents in accurate style. His technique is fantastic. There were games against players like Divya Deshmukh where he was rated nearly 500 Elo points below them. But once he was better, he just played without any errors. This is quite rare in a ten-year-old boy. The second thing which I noticed was the tremendous dedication of his father, Manish Kadam. Manish came upto me one day and asked what was the best software for his son to take his game to the next level. I recommend the Combo of Mega Database + ChessBase 14. He immediately bought it. No questions asked. In spite of all the financial struggles the parent understood that investing in quality softwares was important for his son's progress and he did just that. It takes vision and courage to spend Rs.8250 in one go, but when it came to his child's progress there were no compromises!

Raja Rithvik gold under-14 boys

Raja Rithvik won the gold in the under-14 section | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

The name Raja Rithvik is becoming more and more popular. The boy from Telangana created a unique record in the year 2017. He won both the under-13 as well as under-17 national titles. Training with Raju, well-known for being Harika's coach, Rithvik is in safe hands. He comes across as a positional player who likes to put his pieces good squares. But when the time comes to calculate, he does that admirably as well. Have a look at the last round game where he positionally outplayed his opponent and then beat him by calculating all the tactical possibilities accurately.

Silver medal winners:

Anupam Sreekumar won the silver in the girls under-10 section. She is also the reigning under-9 national champion of India | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

A fresh face at the top Indian chess - Bristy Mukherjee. It is amazing that in a section (under-14) where we have Divya Deshmukh, Rakshitta Ravi, Mrudul Dehankar and other top players of Indian chess, Bristy was able to get the silver and finish at the highest Indian. | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Aashna Makhija from Mumbai has shown steady progress in the last three years. As on January 2015, her rating was 1605. In three years she had pumped it up to 2137 by August 2017. Definitely some systematic training and dedicated work has got her to this point. Silver in the under-16 section is one of the biggest successes in the girl's chess career till date. | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Silver medal in the under-16 section for Vatsal Singhania | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Vatsal Singhania, just like Aashna has shown great progress in terms of rating in the last couple of years. Just that his progress has been tremendous! Vatsal had a rating of 1769 in November 2016. Currently his rating is 2213 (including the 107 point increase at the Asian Youth). In fact Vatsal was well on track towards his gold with 6.0/7. However, he was able to score just 0.5/2 in the last two rounds and had to settle for the silver.

It was a big moment for Sri Lankan chess that their youngster Sasith Nipun Piyumantha became the Asian under-16 champion. This is perhaps in a very long time that Sri Lanka have been able to produce an Asian Champion! | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Bronze medal winners:

Watch out for this youngster Arjun Adireddy is a strong upcoming talent! Bronze in under-8 boys. | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Kushagra Mohan, won the bronze in the under-14 boys section | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Rajanya Datta - bronze in under-10 girls | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Nityata Jain brought happiness on the faces of MP chess fans as she won her first Asian medal - under-14 bronze | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

The Nagpur boy Sankalp Gupta has been showing stellar performances at many age category events. Bronze in under-16 adds to that tally. | Photo: Asian Youth Facebook page

Talking to ChessBase India, AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said,"I am happy with the performance but expected better. I felt that we should have at least half of the gold medals in the classical section." Bharat Singh also added, "One of the key factor for India moving on the way of becoming a superpower is the government support. Their support has helped us to send already two major trips in 2018 - the Aeroflot Open and the Asian Youth."

A very exciting Asian Youth 2018 comes to an with a big success for the Indian contingent. What's heartening to see is talents cropping out from different parts of the country. We have kids from big cities as well as small towns. Each one has his own story to tell and ChessBase India will try its best to bring out the stories of these champions in more detail. As of now a big thanks to the coaches: TJ Suresh Kumar, Arvind Shastry, Vishal Sareen and J.E.Kavitha, the arbiters who made every kid feel at home and the organizing committee led by Sahapol Nakhnavich.

Results of all Indians in classical section:

3Adireddy Arjun1506IND1111100½16,5340-24,80U8
8Mitul K H1341IND11000111½5,51540-40,80U8
9Sadbhav Rautela1319IND11011½0116,544010,00U8
13Jain Kushagra1249IND101001½104,52640-26,40U8
16Mrinmoy Rajkhowa1224IND½1½½001014,53340-25,60U8
19Shashank V S1150IND1100110004,035403,60U8
22Lakshyesh Mohan Gupta1123IND1½½1001015,0224035,60U8
23Jaivardhan Raj1119IND1000011½14,53140-7,20U8
24Rosh Jain1112IND10½10010½4,0374014,00U8
25Shashindhar Kumar R1081IND10½1011015,51440116,40U8
30Jivitesh Singh Sethi1003IND010101½104,5274019,20U8
35Divitt Arora0IND0101010115,02100,00U8
37Ishaan Singh Khanuja0IND0101001014,03600,00U8
40Karthik G Iyer0IND0000101013,05100,00U8
5Kadam Om Manish1788IND111½111107,514055,60U10
12Ilamparthi A R1596IND1100111½05,51340-28,40U10
21Viswak Sen M1430IND½101½1½½½5,5194078,80U10
22Namish Sharma1417IND101½010003,55340-41,20U10
24Swayham P Das1415IND½1½11001½5,5174060,40U10
25Kapoor Satvik1414IND1011010½½5,024400,00U10
27Bagwe Gaurang1392IND10011½1½½5,5184036,80U10
29John Veny Akkarakaran1384IND0110101105,0214042,80U10
46Vaibhav Kalpaka1146IND01010½1½½4,5394040,40U10
48Rajveer Pinkesh Nahar1097IND0010101104,045406,00U10
51Rathi Anay Anup1027IND0000000000,072400,00U10
64Pranav K0IND0110000½13,55600,00U10
1CMGukesh D2401IND11111½1½18,01100,90U12
4Pranesh M2025IND110101½015,51440-88,40U12
10CMTanmay Jain1804IND1½10001½½4,54340-125,20U12
21Aditya Bikram Paul1641IND1011110005,0224010,80U12
23Bhavik Ahuja1592IND0000000000,074400,00U12
33Adireddy Tarun1476IND1½0110½105,0254014,00U12
2FMRaja Rithvik R2280IND11½11½1½17,5120-3,00U14
3CMKushagra Mohan2276IND111½1½1½½7,0340-20,00U14
4CMRohith Krishna S2080IND11½1½½01½6,01140-4,40U14
9Srihari L R1967IND1½1101½½½6,0104013,60U14
34Kaushik G Iyer1586IND½0½110½115,5184044,40U14
51Aryan Anand1290IND01½0½½0½½3,5604049,20U14
1Koustav Chatterjee2381IND1011101016,0420-17,00U16
2Sankalp Gupta2374IND1½1½0111½6,5320-15,60U16
4Raahul V S2258IND11½½0½0115,5920-29,40U16
10Vatsal Singhania2106IND11½½1110½6,5240107,60U16
23AIMKomal Srivatsav Sajja1650IND0½10011014,5164062,80U16
3FMMitrabha Guha2366IND1½101½½015,5720-19,20U18
8FMJeet Jain2232IND½½1101½½05,01320-18,80U18
17Manish Anto Cristiano F1926IND0101100014,02040-16,00U18
7Kukreja Suguna1106IND10011000½3,52840-2,00G8
8Sri Harini A1105IND0110001104,022406,80G8
10Hatvalne Swarali1072IND101001½104,51840-33,20G8
12Shreya G Hipparagi1061IND01111010½5,594038,80G8
13Saara Jain1030IND½10100½115,01740-12,00G8
14Arshiya Das1022IND0111100105,014404,80G8
15WCMShriyana S Mallya1005IND1110010105,01340-30,80G8
17Amaira Mittal0IND1001001014,02300,00G8
18Anaishaa Pinkesh Nahar0IND000101½114,51900,00G8
27Priyansha Shetty M P0IND0000001001,03600,00G8
32Sahana Mathivanan0IND10000½1013,52900,00G8
33Shriya Patil0IND01001001½3,52700,00G8
35Tanishka Jain0IND00101000½2,53300,00G8
5Rajanya Datta1373IND11011101½6,534034,40G10
7Anupam M Sreekumar1343IND0011111117,024042,00G10
10Rout Yashita1318IND1½1½01½½05,0204016,40G10
12WCMShefali A N1274IND0111000014,02940-32,00G10
16Pragnya H G1213IND1011½½11½6,544054,80G10
19Rianna Netta B1168IND101½1½½½16,094026,00G10
21Falak Joni Naik1086IND1½0½½10104,52440-5,60G10
22Jaanvi D1061IND100101½003,5324022,40G10
4Sagar Siya1697IND10011100½4,52140-119,60G12
8Savitha Shri B1615IND11101½1½06,084022,80G12
9WCMSahithi Varshini M1573IND1001111117,0140-2,40G12
10WCMVishwa Vasnawala1558IND11½1½½0116,544059,60G12
11Velpula Sarayu1541IND1110101016,054058,40G12
15Boramanikar Tanisha S1483IND11110½½005,0154030,40G12
23Shivika Rohilla1384IND11½01011½6,01140110,00G12
24WCMPatel Riddhi R1376IND0110100½14,52440-46,80G12
26Mahi Amit Doshi1351IND01100½1003,53440-6,00G12
28Yash Jyoti Bir1338IND01½½110015,0164050,80G12
31Shah Kritee1302IND0111½10004,5194062,80G12
33Anya Seth Syed1289IND01½½010014,03240-6,00G12
42Sachika Tomer0IND001½001013,53700,00G12
1Rakshitta Ravi2270IND0101½½1½½5,01940-126,80G14
2WFMDivya Deshmukh2220IND1100101116,0440-82,00G14
5WCMMrudul Dehankar2022IND110011½½16,0540-1,20G14
8Jain Nityata1894IND11101½½½16,534067,20G14
9WCMJyothsna L1847IND1½1½1½1005,5104017,20G14
16Bristy Mukherjee1720IND10101111½6,524094,40G14
17WFMDhyana Patel1713IND101½01½½15,5114038,80G14
40Pranitha S R1196IND00½1100½03,0384046,00G14
1WFMSalonika Saina2182IND11½1½½½1½6,5440-34,80G16
4Makhija Aashna2083IND10111½½1½6,52400,80G16
6Sanskriti Goyal1943IND11½½100015,01240-45,20G16
12Tejasvi M1754IND½1011001½5,01540-33,60G16
23Sanjana Raghunath1472IND0101010014,021401,60G16
30Anaidaa Santosh1150IND½0001011½4,0254054,40G16
1WIMAakanksha Hagawane2333IND111½1010½6,0520-36,00G18
2WFMArpita Mukherjee2151IND111½½½½0½5,51240-35,60G18
3WIMTejaswini Sagar2146IND½1½½½01004,02620-56,60G18
4WFMTarini Goyal2088IND½½110½½½04,52140-106,80G18
6Priyanka K2057IND110101½1½6,0640-1,60G18
25Kavisha S Shah1702IND010110½½15,0144021,20G18
29Niharika Ch1624IND00110½0103,53140-3,60G18
37Shrinidhi N1022IND10000½½103,0354026,00G18


Classical final results:


Kadam Om Manish 7.5/9 - Under 10 Boys

CM Gukesh D 8.0/9 - Under 12 Boys

WCM Sahithi Varshini M 7.0/9 - Under 12 Girls

FM Raja Rithvik R 7.5/9 - Under 14 Boys


Anupam M Sreekumar 7.0/9 - Under 10 Girls

Bristy Mukherjee 6.5/9 - Under 14 Girls

Vatsal Singhania 6.5/9 - Under 16 Boys

Aashna Makhija 6.5/9 - Under 16 Girls


Adireddy Arjun 6.5/9 - Under 8 Boys

Rajanya Datta 6.5/9 - Under 10 Girls

CM Kushagra Mohan 7.0/9 - Under 14 Boys

Nityata Jain 6.5/9 - Under 14 Girls

Sankalp Gupta 6.5/9 - Under 16 Boys

Rapid final results:


Adireddy Arjun (under-8)

Gukesh (under-12)

Sahithi Varsini (under-12)

Mrudul Dehankar (under-14)

Saina Salonika (under-16 girls)

Arpita Mukherjee (under-18 girls)


Savitha Shree - (under-12 girls)

LR Srihari (under-14) 

Koustav Chatterjee (under-16)


Mitrabha Guha (under-18)

Blitz final results:


Gukesh D 8.5/9 - under 12

Raja Rithvik 8.0/9 - under 14

Divya Deshmukh 9.0/9 - under-14

Mitrabha Guha 7.0/9 under 18


Srihari L.R 7.0/9 - under 14

Mrudul Dehankar 7.5/9 - under 14 girls

Sanskriti Goyal 6.5/9 - under 16 girls


Sahithi Varshini 7.0/9 - under 12 girls

Jyotsna L 6.5/9 - under-14 girls

Raahul V S 6.5/9 - under 16

India's performance last year. Note: there were no team medals last year and hence India won 26 medals. This year India won 33 and bettered their last years performance!

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