An electrifying opening ceremony at the World Youth Championships 2019

by Sagar Shah
10/2/2019 – When the World Youth Championships 2019 come for the first time in India, how do you expect the opening ceremony to be? For all those who were present at the Convention center of the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai, the experience was "electrifying". The dance performances showcased at a glance the myriad culture of India. Players from 64 countries are taking part at the World Youth Championships 2019 in under-14,16 and 18. The Indian challenge at the event is being led by Praggnanandhaa (2567) and Divya Deshmukh (2362). In this article we bring to you the glimpses of the opening ceremony and also tell you about the "How well do you know India" Quiz that was conducted by us with players from across the world!

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The World Youth Championships is being organized for the first time in India. It is truly a big moment for the entire chess fraternity of the country and this showed in the way the organizers welcomed players from 64 different countries It was a rousing opening ceremony! There were different dance forms performed that presented to the viewers the cultural variety of India.

Deep emotions are always attached to any Indian dance | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Perfect postures, synchronisation and complete engrossment in the art | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Look at those expressions! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Mallakhamb dance was absolutely spectacular | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The adivasi/tribal dance | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The girl holds in her hand multiple lamps | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It was a colourful program, very lively, just the kind you would expect in India! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The colourful opening ceremony captured in five minutes!

The dignitaries at the dias | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The dignitaries present at the opening ceremony (from left to right): Ravindra Dongre (tournament director), Harish Mehta (Founding member of Nasscom), Pravin Jain (Chairman of the organizing committee), Dr. Pallavi Darade (Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration), Rahul Shah (President of AMCA), Keshav Murugesh (CEO of WNS and Chairman of Nasscom), D.V. Sundar (Vice-President FIDE), Bharat Singh Chauhan (Secretary AICF).

The traditional lighting of the lamp by Mr. Pravin Jain | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Three of the most experienced administrators of Indian chess | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The highest rated players Indian players at the event - R Praggnanandhaa and Divya Deshmukh | Photo: Amruta Mokal

14-year-old Russian hope Volodir Murzin | Photo: Amruta Mokal

For some travelling to India meant long flights and sleepless nights! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Go Lithuania! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The youngsters from Uzbekistan will be looking to make a mark at this event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Team Belarus | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Former National under-9 and Asian under-10 champion Om Kadam | Photo: Amruta Mokal

13-year-old IM Aditya Mittal has decided to fight in the under-18 section | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The team of arbiters having a relaxed time before the intensive work begins! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

International Arbiters Vinita Shrotri and Preeti Deshmukh | Photo: Amruta Mokal

It's dinner time | Photo: Amruta Mokal

The Live Pasta counter was in great demand!

Supriya Bhat, the business development manager of and at the ChessBase India stall at the venue | Photo: Amruta Mokal

We have the ChessBase softwares at 25% discount as compared to the international prices. We also have a whole new set of ChessBase India accessories which includes t-shirts, jewellery, photo cards, pens and much more! Don't forget to pay a visit to the tournament and the ChessBase India stall if you are present in Mumbai.

Avathanshu Bhat, the editor-in-chief of ChessBase India Juniors, interviews players for his series "Board of many Colours"

Nassim Zrikem, 2125 Elo from Morocco | Photo: Avathanshu Bhat

I have been playing chess since the last 5 years ever since my dad taught me the game, and I fell in love with it. This is my first time in India, as well as my first World Youth, but I have a good feeling; I think it’s going to be a very promising tournament with a lot of players from different countries! I was sure the cultural barrier would be a problem, but thanks to the organizers and the amazing arrangements, it has been barely noticeable to me. I particularly enjoyed the opening ceremony dance. To be honest, I loved everything about it!

What do you think about your competition?

Eh, I’m sure it’s going to be challenging; probably players over 2100 will put me in a spot, but hey! The confidence levels are high! I’m sure this World Youth is going to be a good one. J’adore l’Inde!

Jonas Hilwerda, Elo 2229 from the Netherlands

I was told by a teacher at school and by my father that I might become a champion one day. I believed in that dream and worked on chess since I was 6. I never foresaw that I would become the Dutch champion of my country. Little did I know I would soon represent the Dutch team in India! I would say this is a very significant tournament; being a champion here would be something marvelous, you know? That title on your name will mean that you are more known to the chess world! I’m not actually sure about the strength of the tournament as I’ve never been here before. First of all its great to be here! You get to witness the opening ceremony and cultural differences; admittedly with a bang! [laughs] We of course are not used to that in the Netherlands. However, when it comes to my game, I don’t care who is my opponent and how strong they are, as long as I’m focused on the objective.

How well do you know India quiz?

We conducted the "How well do you know India quiz" with some of the players from outside India. We wanted to know how well do they know the country in which they have just come to play a tournament. Also it was just a fun way to introduce them a few things about the country, if they weren't aware about the same. So, here are the questions. Try to see, how well do you know India!

Who is this young boy?

Who are these famous Indian woman chess players?

What's the name of this famous structure in India?

What is this famous landmark in Mumbai?

Mumbai is quite densely populated. Do you know the population of the city?

Who is this famous player. now a little older, taking part in the World Youth Championships?

Who are these four players and what is the common link between them?


1. That's young Vishy Anand with the picture of his mother Susheela pinned on his shirt.

2. The top two women players of India Humpy Koneru (left) and Harika Dronavalli

3. Taj Mahal, one of the most recognizable structures of India

4. Gateway of India, the most popular structure of the city of Mumbai

5. The population of Mumbai (mind you it is only a city!) is over 20 million people! That's more than many of the countries taking part in the event!

6. That little youngster over there is Praggnanandhaa!

7. Top row - Viktor Gazik and Annmarie Muetsch. Bottom row - Polina Shuvalova and Shant Sargsyan. The common link between them is that they all had won the World Youth titles in 2018 and are also playing in the 2019 championships! Gazik and Shuvalova won in the under-18 section, while Sargsyan and Muetsch in under-16.

Pragg and Divya take on the "How well do you know India" Quiz!

Round 1 begins at 3 p.m. IST


Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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