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CBIJ #03: Who is the highest rated under-11 in the world?

by Avathanshu Bhat - 19/04/2018

The third edition of CBIJ (that's ChessBase India Juniors) brings to you all the news about the Asian Youth 2018 and the players that did a fantastic job at the event. It also features an interview with Siddharth Jagadeesh, the World no.1 in U-11 category. Siddharth Jagadeesh represents Singapore but originally hails from India. He tells us about his bold decision to leave school and pursue chess and also sends us two instructive annotated games. We received a poem from young Trisha Krishnan, our first little contributor! Do check out the answer to last week's trivia and know more about the player. Try your hand at this edition's trivia! Enjoy the third edition of CBIJ by our young editor-in-chief Avathanshu Bhat. 

Great news on the Juniors of India!

India's Juniors are really shining this month! The tremendous performance at the Asian Youth 2018 put India a mile ahead of its competitors. As seen in the official report on the ChessBase India main page, we won 35 gold medals in Team and Individual events in Classical, Rapid and Blitz. Some of the players really stood out and contributed a sizable amount to the victory.

Om Manish Kadam | Photo: Asian Youth 2018 Facebook page

Om Manish Kadam, who played in the U-10 category with a rating of 1788, He dominated the event as the winner of the gold medal! He lost the last round with a final score of 7.5/9, but his score was enough for the first place. Om in person is a shy boy. The confidence that he displays over the board seems quite uncharacteristic of the boy! He really played a major role for the massive win by Indians. Watch out for this boy in upcoming articles!

D. Gukesh | Photo: Niklesh Jain

The latest young IM was also at the event, and almost left nothing else for the rest! IM Gukesh D bagged six medals. Three of these were gold medals from the individual event, two were also gold from the Team Rapid and Blitz, and the final one was a bronze in the team Classical section. Trust Gukesh to ace a tournament with style!

Sahithi Varshini | Photo: Asian Youth 2018 Facebook page

Not to forget in the U-12 Girls section, Sahithi Varshini also showed great spirit throughout the tournament. She won two gold medals in the classical and rapid events and secured a silver medal in blitz. Her father, Lokesh, is her trainer and believes in traditional way of learning chess. This is reflected in her games by tactical combinations which are not at all easy to figure out! 


Indian chess clearly seems to be in the right place in the hands of these juniors! I am sure we can expect a lot from them in the years to come!

Junior of the edition - Siddharth Jagadeesh

Siddharth Jagadeesh, a boy who lives in Singapore, has made the hard decision to leave his school and has toiled for 6 months now. He has gone from 1237 to 2137 Elo and is the highest rated player in the U-11 category. Read on for an interview of the bold lad!

Siddharth Jagadeesh and his family | Photos: Siddharth Jagadeesh

1. How did you start playing chess?

I remember my dad watching Anand-Carlsen world championship matches (Chennai) live relay online and was surprised to see him get glued to the commentary so much and was wondering what was it that made my father show so much interest. I also sat with him and although I didn’t understand the commentary much, I started playing with my father from that week itself and slowly picked up the game.


2. How long have you been playing chess?

I started playing chess at around age 7.

3. Tell me some of your greatest achievements.

a) I won Singapore National Schools championships 3 times in a row (year 2017, 2016, 2015). I had to skip 2018 tournament due to overseas tournament commitments.

b) I got Gold medal for Blitz category in Asian Schools (Iran) in U-10 category. 

c) I finished joint 3rd (Standard) in East Asia Youth Chess Championships, Mongolia 2017. 

d) I have also got several team silver medals in Asian Schools, ASEAN Age group in year 2015.

e) I have also been Singapore National Age group chess champion 3 times.


4. How was it for you when you became the highest rated player in the under-11 age category?

It was a pleasant feeling because I have worked hard for past 6 months full time on chess and it was nice to see myself as no. 1 in Under 11. However, I think it is only a small milestone because as you know rating can always go up and down but playing strength is what is important. I always want to play harder chess tournaments to ensure my rating and playing strength compliment each other.


5. Who has been a major influence in your chess career?

On the personal side I am heavily influenced by my father (he is just a 1580 rated player but his chess interest is an everyday affair and we discuss chess all the time). He also left his senior position in Singapore to support me and travel with me for chess during the past 6 months. 

Doing just about everything to make sure that his son becomes the best chess player in the world - Jagadeesh

From a coach perspective I am heavily influenced by IM Navin Kanna T.U. who was my mentor for 3 years (till I reached a rating of 1800). He is a great coach and has always encouraged me to learn chess without computer, not go behind rating and enjoy chess beyond success or failure.


Professionally, I am much influenced by the way Nihal Sarin plays and I love his confidence on the chess board.


6. Which do you think was your best tournament? What about best game?

My best tournament in recent times is Delhi open 2017. I scored 100 rating points in a tough field. It is a special event for me because just a week before I did lot of careless blunders in IIFL Juniors and Open (I had no stamina to play 18 rounds in 9 days) and was very dejected with my performance. I was determined to stage a comeback after losing 100 points in IIFL and did well in Delhi Open.


The best game in Delhi Open was against Arpan Das Jr. It was not against a very high rated opponent but I liked the game because I kept things simple in a Caro Kann defence and the win seemed effortless to me. I also got appreciation from my current coach Vishnu Prasanna sir for keeping it simple in that game.

However, the game that made me learn the most was also in Delhi open where I played against Sekar B. I played a lot of natural moves to equalize from black side and felt very comfortable with the position and entered a rook and knight vs rook and knight ending where my knight was dominant. However, I did not follow the basics and got excited (I grabbed a pawn and lost tempo) and lost the game suddenly. An easy draw slipped in to a terrible loss. After that game, I always remind myself the golden chess rule "activity over material".

7. Do you have any interesting incidents?

I am listing 2 recent incidents below.

a) Playing in the same playing hall as Magnus Carlsen and Anand in Grenke Open 2018 a fortnight ago in Germany. I really felt inspired seeing the great chess players in action.

b) Seeing Kasparov and getting his Autograph in the book " My Greatest Predecessors" when he visited Singapore.


8. What other interests do you have?

I have a natural interest to read books. When I am not working on chess, I always love to read a book. My recent book is "Unstoppable" by Maria Sharapova and I have just bought "Open" by Andre Agassi. Apart from serious books, I am fond of Geronimo Stilton and Diary of Wimpy Kid series also.


9. Does anybody else in your family pursue sports?

No. All are sports lovers but no one is a player. By the way, my younger sister Tarini is a wonderful artist according to me who can draw, draw all day.


10. If you don’t become a chess player, what do you think you would be?

I think I would have been a statistician because I love numbers and always like to note down records, analyze rankings (not only in chess but also in cricket, tennis) etc.


Even I think that math and chess complement each other! Thank you for the interview, Siddharth. ChessBase India Juniors wishes you all the best for your next tournament!


Poem Corner:

ChessBase India Juniors is pleased to inform you about our first contributor: Trisha Krishnan! The young girl has written a very nice poem and sent it to us. Remember, you can send it too, at

Young Trisha Krishnan | Photo: Vanita Noronha

All the pieces are equal

by Trisha Krishnan


All pieces are equal, 

however big they look

Let’s understand this,

by starting with the rook.

The rook is very mighty; 

he holds his chance to win tightly.

He can go from one corner to another in one move only.

That’s his advantage; his disadvantage is he can’t go diagonally.

Let’s go on to the next piece, 

It’s more or less in the middle; 

Now don’t think so much,

as if I asked you a riddle!

Let’s start with the queen, who is as beautiful as all the nature that is green.

She is also very strong but her thoughts can go wrong. 

When she ends up in a fight with the tricky knight, 

if the knight tried with all his might, the queen could lose her life!

The bishop is also very strong but it can go only on one colour,

as the other colour is handled by its bishop brother!

Bishop and rook are more or less the same,

but the bishop is stuck on one colour throughout the game.

The pawn is a piece,

but is worried about the least;

If it reaches the end of the board, it has the power 

to become a piece which is as pretty as a flower!


Trivia time! This dimpled boy is a close friend of mine and can give a tough fight over the board if he wished it!

Note: The winner gets a discount coupon of Rs.250 to buy any ChessBase softwares from the ChessBase India shop

Did you know that Vincent Keymer, a 13 year old 2403 rated chess player, is a strong talent who impressed even Kasparov a few years back. He recently won the Grenke Open 2018 ahead of many 2700 grandmasters. He is just 13 but has already achieved all his GM norms! What do you have to say about the world-prodigy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below

Last week's answer:

Rakshitta Ravi, who won her recent WIM norm. She has worked really hard to achieve it and is slowly gaining more and more of the spotlight. She also had a recent incident to share: In the Moscow Open 2018, Rakshitta made a WIM norm with four rounds to spare. Unfortunately, her eighth round opponent did not turn up. She even requested the arbiters to call the opponent, but there was no response. Something worked so hard for gone in just half an hour! The mental pain could have been shattering. Rakshitta however just gathered her wits and took a break for the day by playing with snow! Such good sportsmanship is rare in kids of her age! 


This time, we had two people who guessed it right. Good job, ChessRatingWatch and Rajini kanth! Claim your prize by writing to us at

Editor's Pick - Chess or Academics?

Recently, the Aavhan 2018 took place in IITB. A good amount of the players were people from IITB. Such players who love chess may have had to make a decision, pursue chess or studies. It is often seen that chess hinders studies, but that is actually not the case. In fact, the opposite is quite true. They both go hand in hand. You begin to see that it is easier to recollect much more, much faster by playing chess.


As you grow older, however, you are forced to make a decision. It’s either the growing studies or the improving rating or skill at chess. Take the organizer of the Aavhan 2018, Amogha HA, as an example. Amogha loved playing chess, but at one point gave into IITB and pursued that instead. But all the years playing did not go to waste. The achievements built up in chess actually help you get into big colleges. The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is no less than other giants. Amogha said, “It was my sporty spirit that got me into IIT.” This shows that past the myths and rumours, Chess has a good side to it in its beautiful relation to education and has the ability to make a difference in every step of the way ahead!

Contact us:

Did you like the second edition of ChessBase India Juniors? If you want to see any content of yours on the page, or win a special prize by guessing, start pouring your opinions in the comments section below! You can also email us at

About the author:

Avathanshu Bhat has been writing about chess for well over a year now. He has published innumerable articles for ChessBase India and his articles have been well received by the audience. He is the editor-in-chief of ChessBase India Juniors. His main intention is to bring the best junior players of our country into the limelight with his writings. Here is some of the work he has done in the past:

Life of a young chess player

Joy of losing

G. Akash wins the Grand Hyderabad affair

10-year-old boy's deep calculation (50,000+ hits on Youtube)

12-year-old chessentrepreneur Avathanshu Bhat

Chess species classified

Hemant Sharma becomes International Master

Colours of Black and White

Champion from Chudamani - IM Sidhant Mohapatra

Blindfold simul by Timur Gareyev

A letter from 2050

ChessBase India Juniors #01

ChessBase India Juniors #02

56,000 hits on Youtube!

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