The Asian Youth Chess Championship reeled off yesterday in Beijing, China with a record number of 348 players from 20 countries in the Under-8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups for boys and girls. See chess-results.com for results and standings. Concurrent with the tournament is a Challengers tournament with 80 children participating.
India has the largest delegation of 57 players including last year’s medalists. China has 44 players as host country followed by Vietnam with 34, Iran with 31, Mongolia with 28 and Sri Lanka with 23 players. Four International Masters and 6 FIDE Masters are seeing action in the tournament. Four Women’s IMs and ten WFMs are on the girls’ side.
The Organizing Committee is staging the Asian Youth in the high standard for which China has been famous in recent years. The same hotel and venue used for the World Mind Sports Games are the facilities for the chess event. The tournament is organized by the Chinese Chess Association and hosted by the Jinma Chess Club.
In his speech, FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong traced the history of Asian chess in the past fifty years from its humble beginnings with 10 federations, to its present strength of 47 national chess federations. He noted how the Singapore Chess Federation pioneered the under-8 category in the Asian Youth and the under-7 age group in the Asian Schools, as a result of which he pointed out the record number of players in this year’s Asian Youth.
Since then, Asia has produced World Champions in both the men’s and women’s divisions, in the World Juniors and Girls and numerous gold medalists in the World Youth and Schools events. He cited the chess in scools program for the long term development of the youth to the making of champions of tomorrow.
He credited the unity of Asia in the past years and thanked the late Florencio Campomanes for bringing many Asian nations into the FIDE family. The Assembly stood and observed one minute of silence for Campomanes who passed away two months ago.
FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong thanked all those who have made great efforts to put this event together; the Chinese Chess Association, its President Mr Chu Bo, the host Beijing Jinma Chess Club and the Organising Committee and staff headed by Grandmaster Mr Ye Jiangchuan.
In closing Leong thanked the parents for nurturing their children’s love for chess and travelling great distance to be in Beijing today.
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– GM Susan Polgar