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For the first time on Indian soil - The World Youth Championships 2019

by Sagar Shah - 29/09/2019

It's a big moment for Indian chess - the prestigious World Youth Championships are taking place for the first time in our country. It will be held in Mumbai from the 1st to the 13th of October 2019. A total of 465 players from 64 countries will compete for six world championship crowns (under-14, under-16 and under-18 in open and girls). Some of the best talents in Indian chess will be participating in the event spearheaded by GM R. Praggnanandhaa with an Elo of 2567, who is the top seed in the under-18 open section. We give you an overview of all the sections, the favourites, the top Indian players and also tell you about the tournament, the venue, the must-visit places in Mumbai and more.

World Youth Championships to be held in Mumbai from 1st to 13th of October 2019

Have a close look at the picture above. How many World Champions do you see? 

The most common response to this question is one! Vishy Anand. The right answer, however, is six! Back in 2015 when this picture was taken, all five youngsters in this picture were World Champions in their respective age categories. At the World Youth Championships 2015 India won a record five gold medals and all five of them were from the city of Chennai and Chess Gurukul Academy. But the reason to share this photo was to show you the progress made by each of the youngsters in the last four years. Let's go from right to left in the photo above.

1. Bharath Subramaniyam (under-8 gold)- From 1602 back in 2015, the youngster is now rated 2417 and is already an IM making him one of the youngest in the world!

2. R. Praggnanandhaa (under-10 gold) - Rated just 2077 in 2015, Pragg is now one of the most talented grandmasters in the world of chess. Dubbed as a future world champion material player, Pragg's Elo is a whopping 2567.

3. Rakshitta Ravi (under-10 girls gold) - Rakshitta won the under-10 girls gold in 2015 and had a rating of 1567. She is now 2310 and is already a WIM.

4. R. Vaishali (under-14 girls gold) - Vaishali was rated 2314 back in 2015. Her current Elo is 2398 and she is now a WGM with two IM norms and one GM norm under her belt!

5. Mahalakshmi (under-18 girls gold) - Rated just 2042 back in 2015, Mahalakshmi is now 2255 and a WIM.


This goes to prove that the winners of the World Youth Championships are more often than not extremely competent players and go on to become some of the best players in the world. The 2015 edition of the World Youth was the last time that all 12 sections (under-8,10,12,14,16,18 in open and girls) were held under one roof. Since 2016 FIDE has split the tournament into two events - World Cadets (under-8,10,12) and World Youth (under-14,16,18). It's quite a big honour for Indian chess that the World Youth Championships 2019 is going to be held in the country!

The World Youth Championships 2019 will be held in Mumbai from the 1st to the 13th of October 2019

There will be in all six world titles at stake. Let's have a look at all of them individually.

Under-14 open:

Sreeshwan Maralakshikari is the top seed in the under-14 open section | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Sreeshwan shot into prominence after he beat GM Vassily Ivanchuk in the first round of the Sunway Sitges International 2018. It's been just nine months since that result, but the boy has gone on from being a 2200+ rated player to now an International Master. He is definitely a favourite to win the title but will face stiff resistance from Volodar Murzin, the second seed.

Volodar Murzin (right) is rated 2433 and is the second seed of the tournament | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The favourites from India who have a chance of winning a medal are (clockwise from top left): Pranav Anand (2361), Aditya Samant (2334). Pranav V (2308) and Aaryan Varshney (2268), Srihari LR (2283), Nikhil Magizhnan (2251)  

Top 10 seeds:

No. NameFideIDFEDRtg
1FMSreeshwan Maralakshikari46664521IND2449
2FMMurzin Volodar44155573RUS2433
3IMSuleymanli Aydin13413937AZE2426
4FMTsvetkov Andrey34139360RUS2373
5FMPranav Anand46626786IND2361
6FMBorhy Marcell770787HUN2352
7Samant Aditya S35080580IND2334
8FMPetkov Momchil2921642BUL2333
9Chyzy Jakub21806209POL2327
10FMMorgunov Marc1640305AUT2312

Complete list

Under-14 girls:

Top seed in the under-14 girls, Divya Deshmukh

Top 10 seeds

No. NameFideIDFEDRtgsex
1WIMDivya Deshmukh35006916IND2362w
2WIMRakshitta Ravi25073230IND2310w
3WFMAllahverdiyeva Ayan13412590AZE2164w
4WFMNasyrova Ekaterina44157797RUS2150w
5Roebers Eline1058401NED2102w
6WFMOmonova Umida14210363UZB2078w
7WFMKamalidenova Meruert13712802KAZ2036w
8WCMObada Ema1234803ROU1987w
9Hakobyan Astghik13311751ARM1978w
10Wikar Martyna21807663POL1969w

Complete list

From the ratings it is clear that under-14 girls is the best section for India to win a gold. WIM Divya Deshmukh, the country's biggest hope, when it comes to women's chess, is the top seed with a rating of 2362. She is followed by WIM Rakshitta Ravi, who is rated 2310.

They were the champions back in 2015, and they still are the best in their age group! That's Divya (right) and Rakshitta (left).

Under-16 open

IM Hans Niemann of USA (2439) is the top seed in the under-16 section | Photo: World Youth 2018

Georgia's present Baadur Jobava with the country's future - Nikolozi Kacharava | Photo: Facebook page of Kacharava

Although India has no player in top five in under-16 section, there are some really strong youngsters (clockwise from left to right): Aronyak Ghosh (2380), IM Sankalp Gupta (2376), IM Raja Rithvik (2369), Kushagra Mohan (2309), Harshavardhan G.B (2362) and Moksh Doshi (2328). 

Top 10 seeds

No. NameFideIDFEDRtg
1IMNiemann Hans Moke2093596USA2439
2FMKacharava Nikolozi13611860GEO2428
3FMAvila Pavas Santiago4437128COL2412
4FMDaghli Arash12572381IRI2392
5IMMakarian Rudik44105681RUS2386
6CMAronyak Ghosh25072846IND2380
7Sankalp Gupta5097010IND2376
8FMNogerbek Kazybek13710427KAZ2375
9IMRaja Rithvik R35007394IND2369
10FMTalukdar Rohan2616378CAN2369

Complete list

Under-16 girls

Leya Garifullina is the next big thing from Russia's women's chess. In the picture she is seen with the top Russian player Sergey Karjakin | Photo: Leya's Facebook page

Govhar Beydullayeva from Azerbaijan is the second seed of the event | Photo:

Mrudul Dehankar will lead India's challenge in this section. The youngster from Nagpur is the third seed | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Saina Salonika is the girl who admirably balances her chess and education. Will she be able to win a medal for India at the event? | Photo: Niklesh Jain

Savitha Shri is just 12 years old, yet she is playing in the under-16 section! Well, she is keen on taking this up as a challenge. It will be interesting to see how Savitha performs. | Photo: Deepan Subbiah

Top 10 seeds

No. NameFideIDFEDRtgsex
1WCMGarifullina Leya34127035RUS2304w
2WFMBeydullayeva Govhar13413015AZE2274w
3WCMMrudul Dehankar25096990IND2198w
4WFMBulatova Kamaliya34111546RUS2181w
5WFMLoskutova Viktoriya34166278RUS2162w
6WFMNurgali Nazerke13711261KAZ2124w
7WFMMahdian Anousha12571490IRI2103w
8WFMSalonika Saina25013971IND2100w
9WFMHajiyeva Laman13415875AZE2081w
10WFMSavitha Shri B35061887IND2076w

Complete list

Under-18 Open:

Top 10 seeds

No. NameFideIDFEDRtg
1GMPraggnanandhaa R25059530IND2567
2GMSargsyan Shant13306766ARM2562
3IMGholami Aryan12513342IRI2542
4IMGazik Viktor14928752SVK2537
5GMIniyan P25002767IND2509
6IMPultinevicius Paulius12809390LTU2503
7IMGumularz Szymon1188062POL2498
8IMArjun Kalyan35018701IND2473
9IMBuckels Valentin12942766GER2453
10IMRaghunandan Kaumandur Srihari25004964IND2449

Complete list

He is just 14, but he decided to play in the under-18 section. Top seed GM R.Praggnanandhaa | Photo: Prague Masters 2019

Praggnanandhaa decided to skip the FIDE Grand Swiss to represent his country at the World Youth Championships. Being the top seed there would be a lot of pressure surrounding him. But Pressure is not a new word for the youngster who has been the center of attraction for chess fans all across the world right from the age of 10 years and 10 months when he became the youngest IM in the history of chess. Pragg's play is free flowing and exciting. He recently won the Xtracon Open ahead of many top GMs and is definitely the favourite to win the gold.

Shant Sargsyan won the under-16 world youth championships in 2018. He is a GM from Armenia and will be also aiming for the top honours. | Photo: World Youth 2018

P. Iniyan is the only other GM apart from Praggnanandhaa in the fray. Iniyan is the fifth seed at the event and has all the ingredients in him to fight for a podium finish. | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The world has been talking a lot about Alireza Firouzja and rightly so. The boy has reached 2700+ Elo. However, there is another Iranian talent, who is around the same age as Firouzja and also is quite well-known and that is Aryan Gholami (2542).

Viktor Gazik is the top rated Slovakian junior and will be coming to the tournament with great hopes

Paulius Pultinevicius from Lithuania rated 2503 is another talent to watch out for

Six highest rated Indians in the fray are - IM Arjun Kalyan (who has three GM norms and is on the cusp of becoming a GM), IM Raghunandan KS, IM Rahul Srivatshav, Manu David Suthandram, IM Mitrabha Guha and IM Aditya Mittal.

The under-18 section is also interesting because of the participation of young talents like IM Aditya Mittal and IM Leon Mendonca, who are just 13 years old but have decided to take part in the under-18 section.

Under-18 girls

Top 10 seeds

No. NameFideIDFEDRtgsex
1WIMShuvalova Polina24171760RUS2406w
2FMSchulze Lara12956830GER2345w
3WFMAfonasieva Anna24173606RUS2312w
4WIMSliwicka Alicja1150677POL2307w
5WIMVantika Agrawal25050389IND2304w
6WGMObolentseva Alexandra24153648RUS2279w
7WFMRadeva Viktoria2915405BUL2257w
8WIMMuetsch Annmarie12971367GER2250w
9WFMHarshini A25008986IND2230w
10WFMShpanko Nadiia14132400UKR2213w

Complete list

2400+ rated Polina Shuvalova is the top seed of the under-18 girls section | Photo: Lennart Ootes

There are a lot of girl talents from India in the under-18 section. (Clockwise from top left): Vantika Agarwal, Harshini A. K. Priyanka, Aashna Makhija, Tarini Goyal and Tanishka Kotia

The venue of the tournament:

Located on the Powai lake, Renaissance, is one of the finest hotels of Mumbai. One of the reasons for choosing this hotel as the venue is its proximity to the airport. The organizers wanted to reduce the travel time for the participants. | Photo: official website

Although we presume most of the time of the players would be spent in preparing for their opponents, it never hurts to have such a view! | Photo: official website

Special tiles for the event?! | Photo: official website


Top three places in each tournament will be awarded with cups and medals. Places from 4th to 6th will receive medals. All the winners will be awarded with chess gifts. 

Apart from the medals, there are also some titles and norms at stake


Round 1 begins on 2nd of October at 3 p.m. 3rd of October is a double round at the event. There is a free day on 7th of October.

Places to see in Mumbai:

The Gateway of India is an arch-monument built in the early twentieth-century located in the city of Mumbai, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It was erected to commemorate the landing of the first British monarch in India; King-Emperor George V and Queen-Empress Mary's arrival at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai (then Bombay) in December 1911

The Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque and dargah (tomb) or the monument of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari located on an islet off the coast of Worli in the southern part of Mumbai. Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari was a kind Sufi saint with a wealthy merchant from Uzbekistan. Near the heart of the city proper, the dargah is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Mumbai

Marine Drive is a 3.6-kilometre-long Promenade along the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road in South Mumbai in the city of Mumbai, India. It is a 'C'-shaped six-lane concrete road along the coast of a natural bay. Marine Drive is situated on reclaimed land facing west-south-west. Marine Drive is also known as the Queen's Necklace because, when viewed at night from an elevated point anywhere along the drive, the street lights resemble a string of pearls in a necklace.

The city is buzzing with chess!

Multiple chess workshops have been conducted across the city in the last few months by the organizing team in order to build up the popularity of the event

The city transport buses have all been painted with World Youth banners, so that people all across Mumbai get to know about the mega event happening in their city.

Even the bus stops have the World Youth Banners!

Local media has covered interesting stories surrounding the event

The team that has been working tirelessly behind the scenes in order to make the World Youth Championships a big success

The event has complete support from the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis

ChessBase India contest for the World Youth 2019:

Our last contest on the World Cup 2019 was not won by anyone. Well, we hope that this time you fare better. This time the contest is easier and the prize is still the same - Mega Database 2019 DVD signed by the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. What is your task?


You have tell us in the comments of this article as to how many medals you think India would win at this event and the also mention the breakup of gold, silver and bronze. Only the one who gets everything correct will win a prize!

That's the prize waiting for you. All you have to do is guess how many medals India would win and the correct breakup of the medals!

Important links:

Official website

Facebook page of World Youth 2019

Twitter page of World Youth 2019

Instagram page of World Youth 2019

YouTube channel of World Youth 2019

Previous reports on ChessBase India:

World Youth 2016- One medal for India - Aakanksha Hagawane winning the gold in under-16 girls

World Youth 2017 - Three medals for India - Jishitha D (under-14) gold, Arjun Erigaisi (under-14) silver, Sakshi Chitange (under-18) silver

World Youth 2018 - Two medals for India - Divya Deshmukh (under-14) bronze, Sanskriti Goyal (under-16) bronze

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