by Priya Jadhav
Mumbai: India’s latest chess sensation and the world’s second youngest grand master Praggnanandhaa R will be the star attraction at the prestigious World Youth Chess Championship to be held in Mumbai in October.
The 14-year-old king of the chequered board from Chennai will lead a star-studded field, including 6 world champions in various age-groups, in the mega tournament from October 1 to 13.
On the girls' side, Nagpur's Divya Deshmukh will spearhead India's
challenge. The world’s best talent will be seen in three age-groups for boys and girls: U-14, U-16 and U-18
“This is a great honour for India,” Dr. Parinay Fuke, the chairman of the organising committee and Maharashtra minister of state for PWD, Forest and Tribal Development, said at the announcement press conference. “We are expecting at least 6 world champions in different age groups, making it one of the biggest chess tournaments held in India,” he added.
Organised under the aegis of the All-India Chess Federation by theAll-Marathi Chess Association, a total of over 62 countries have already confirmed their participation and many more are expected to sign up over the next few weeks. Led by chess powerhouses Russia, USA, France, Italy and Azerbaijan, over 400 young players will be seen in action at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai. India has traditionally excelled at the youth level, bagging several Gold, Silver and Bronze medals since it was introduced in 2004. “We have produced many young stars over the years. Our aim is to encourage more enthusiasts as well as young aspirants to take up the sport, and aspire to take part in such world events,” Dr Fuke said.
“I would like to congratulate the AICF and All-Marathi Chess Association for this and we are quite sure that they will play a superb host to all the visiting players, officials and delegates,” Harish Mehta, co-founder Nasscom, said at the press conference.
“We would like to thank FIDE for this opportunity and are looking forward to playing host to such a wonderful tournament,” tournament director and Fide Asian Zone 3.7 president Ravindra Dongre said.
Other key officials who attended the press conference included Rahul Shah (working president of AMCA), Vijay Deshpande (Organising Secretary) and Vitthal Madhav AM(Secretary, Mumbai Suburban District Chess Association).