Gaziantep, located at the Syrian border, is the sixth largest city in Turkey, populated by around 1,560,000 which is puts it at number one Turkey’s Southeastern Anatolia Region. It is one of the major economic centers in Turkey. There are two central districts within the Centrum, Sahinbay and Sehitkamil. The municipality of Sehitkamil hosts and sponsors the 2008 World Junior Championship.
The sponsor of the event also hosting it together with Turkish Chess Federation is the Sehitkamil Municipality which has been a continuous and steady supporter of chess in recent years. For example, the Municipality hosted a major local event with more than 1000 kids playing. It is among the largest districts all around Turkey. The Mayor, Metin Özkarsli, is a serious fan of chess. He founded a chess club for the Municipality which competes in the second division of Turkish league.
In the lead with 4.0/4: GM Eltaj Safarli, 2527, the Azerbaijani grandmaster who plays in the Turkish Is Bank League champions, Adana Truva, and helped the Adana team to won their first league title. Safarli also won the Essent Open last year.
Yet another 2561 rated Grandmaster, from England, GM David Howell, the young star of the British chess, is in third place with 3.5/4 points. David came to notice with wins against strong grandmasters when he was a small kid, and soon he became one of them. He already visited Turkey last year for the World Youth Championship but this time he would like to achieve a better result against a stronger opposition.
WGM Hou Yifan, rated 2557, 14 years old, is playing in the Boy's (i.e. the open) section. Hou came to Turkey twice, for the European Club Cup and the Is Bankasi Atatürk International Women Masters, a brand new super-tournament for women. She has one GM norm from Aeroflot Open 2008. She won the first edition of the Turkish super tournament quite comfortably. She Now she is back in Turkey again for fighting against the best junior players in the world.
IM Manuel Leon Hoyos, 2543, the Mexican youngster who assists Turkish-speaking Ukrainian super GM Vassily Ivanchuk. He is the leading youngster in a country where chess is spreading like a fever.
GM Wesley So, 2567, the seventh youngest person to become grandmaster, at 14 years, 1 month and 28 days. He completed his GM norms last December in 2007 Pichay Cup International Chess Tournament.
|2||6||GM||LI Chao B||2590||CHN||3½||9|
|22||GM||LEON HOYOS Manuel||2543||MEX||3||8½|
|10||GM||LE QUANG Liem||2577||VIE||3||7½|
With 3.5/4 in second place: IM Harika Dronavalli, 2461, the second highest rated female player in India after (GM Koneru Humpy). The former child prodigy has collected many medals in youth categories in Asia and in the world, the last one was her gold medal in World Under 18 title in 2006. She was one of the participants of the women's super tournament in Turkey, Is Bankasi Atatürk International Women Masters, and scored 4.0/9.
WFM Kübra Öztürk, 2188, gained a status of sports celebrity thanks to her victories in European Youth Championship in Under 16 Girls twice. After winning her first U16 Girls European title back in 2006, she was nominated for the title of Sportswomen of the Year (but lost narrowly to Neslihan Demir, the world-class volleyball star of Turkey). Then, she went on to win her second consecutive European title after giving many interviews and receiving many success prizes. After sharing the first place but coming in fourth on tiebreak in World Youth Chess Championship in the U16 Girls section, she became the first chess player ever to carry the Olympic torch, a few months before the ex-World Champion Zhu Chen was awarded this privilege.
|5||7||WIM||GOMES Mary Ann||2316||IND||3½||8½|
A selection of games is being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse the PGN games.