Asian Youth Championship

by Priyadarshan Banjan
11/24/2014 – In 1988 Vishy Anand became the first Indian grandmaster. 26 years later Anand is a chess legend and India has 35 more grandmasters. And more will follow. India now has a wealth of promising talents. No wonder they dominated the Asian Youth Chess Championship 2014 - together with players from the Iran. Illustrated report with lots of games.

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India and Iran rule Asian Youth Championship

The Asian Youth Chess Championships 2014 of the Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 were held from 6. to 13. November, 2014 in New Delhi, the capital city of India. The tournament was conducted by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) on behalf of the Asian Chess Federation and FIDE, and organised with the support of the Delhi Chess Association at the Hotel Park Plaza in New Delhi.

Hotel Park Plaza

Rapidplay tournament on the Opening Day

The Championship is open for all FIDE affiliated nations that are part of the Asian Chess Federation. This year delegations from 15 countries turned up. Most notable amongst the absentees was China which as International Arbiter Gopakumar Sudhakaran observed has never shown much interest in this event.

The chess festival offered tournaments in three different formats: standard, rapidplay and blitz. 156 players participated in the main event, which was played with the standard time control. A rapid tournament was played on the opening day soon after the opening ceremony. The Blitz tournament was played on the last day of the main event, directly before the closing ceremony. The top three in the main event, the rapid, and the blitz received medals. The main event was a 9 round swiss with a time limit of 90 minutes for the whole game plus 30 seconds increment per move from move 1.

Calm before the storm

Ready to rock and roll!

Under 14 Girls

32 players competed in the U14 Girls. Top seeded Indian talent WFM Vaishali R won gold scoring 7.5/9 , sailing to a smooth victory with six draws and three draws. Half a point behind followed WFM Riya Savant (India) who won silver. Aakanksha Hagawane (India) scored 6.5/9 points and won bronze on tie-break ahead of WCM Ananya Suresh. All top 10 places were taken by Indian girls - complete domination.

Vaishali R.

Born in 2001, Vaishali R hails from the state of Tamil Nadu in India, the birth place of Vishwanathan Anand. She is Woman FIDE Master, a title she gained by winning the World Youth Girls Under-12 Chess Championship in Slovenia. She is coached by GM RB Ramesh, who was also the coach of the bronze medal winning Indian Olympiad team of 2014. According to GM Ramesh, Vaishali is a very talented and hard working player. He believes that her greatest asset is her resilience which makes her survive difficult situations.

Watch this candid interview by WIM elect Amruta Mokal conducted at the recently concluded World Junior Championship 2014, Pune, India.

In the following game Vaishali R. shows an impressive level of understanding in the middlegame. After four moves the players were out of book!


Riya Savant

Riya Savant is 14 years old and a stalwart of many age group competitions. She lives in the state of Goa, a famous tourist attraction. With consistent performances she has won medals at national, Asean, and World level. She is brand ambassador for Geno Phamaceuticals Ltd., a Goa based Company. In 2013 she had won the Asian Youth Under 14 tournament, which brought her the WFM title and this year she wanted to win again and defend her title. However, she finished second with 7/9.

Have a look at this game played and annotated by Riya where she calmly sets about controlling the crucial d4 square and the complex around it.


Aakanksha Hagawane

Aakanksha Hagawane hails from the state of Maharashtra. She won bronze on tie break scoring 6.5/9, which brought her the Woman’s Candidate Master title.

Under-14 Open

34 players started in the open section of the Under-14. Top seed was Iranian talent Tabatabaei Amin. He conceded four draws, scoring 7.0/9, winning gold. Harsha Bharathakoti of India also scored 7.0/9, tying for first place; however, he had to settle for silver on tie break. Bronze was clinched by Aryan Gholami who scored 6.5/9 to finish clear third.

Tabatabaei Amin

Although FIDE Master Tabatabaei had to concede a draw to a lower seed in the very first round, he was quick to find his stride in the subsequent rounds. In the following game White squelches Black's counterplay on the queenside and broke through on the kingside afterwards.


Harsha Baharthakoti

Harsha Baharthakoti is a promising junior who regularly plays in World and Asian events for India. He is a consistent performer at the National level tournaments and performed impressively to win silver.


Aryan Gholami of Iran became third with 6.5/9 .

Under 16 Girls

26 players competed for the title in the Under-16 Girls tournament. Top seed WFM Dorsa Derakshani from Iran became clear first with 7.5/9, losing only one game. Second and third place went to Indian WFM Mahalakshmi M and WFM Mendoza Shania Mae of Phillippines, who both scored 7.0/9.

Dorsa Derakhshani

In the last three years Dorsa has always won gold – a fine hattrick! Dorsa learnt chess from her father when she was 5 years old. She credits her mother for enabling her to perform well in tournaments and aims to become a Grandmaster. She also believes that she owes part of her success to Iranian Grandmaster Elshan Morardibadi with whom she used to work on chess. According to her, the best chess book to study is My System by Aaron Nimzowitch. In her last Asian U-16 event, Dorsa made her second WIM norm.

“I owe it all to my mom!”

Dorsa is in her senior year in school and looks forward to studying. She likes to read, especially fiction, and revealed that this was her second visit to India. Let Dorsa take you through one of her fine wins.


Mahalakshmi M

Silver medal winner Mahalakshmi M has also been a consistent performer in various age group tournaments in national, Asian, and World events. Here's a game in which Mahalakshi employs a variation that in a former game helped her to beat a grandmaster.


Mendoza Shania Mae of Phillippines won bronze.

Under 16 Open

The Under-16 open section was the toughest in the tournament. Clear favorite was Indian IM and GM elect Aravindh Chithambaram who has already won numerous age titles in his career. However, this time he had to settle for third place. FM Shahin Lorparizengeneh from Iran won gold with a score of 7.0/9, silver went to India’s Visakh NR who scored 6.5/9!

Lorparizangeneh Shahin

FM Lorparizangeneh won six, drew two and lost only one game – against Aravindh Chithambaram.


Visakh NR


Aravindh Chithambaram

With a rating of 2485 GM elect Aravindh Chithambaram is a prodigious talent. In November 2013 he won the Chennai Open tournament ahead of numerous grandmasters in his home state Tamil Nadu. This article reveals more about him. Earlier this year he also defeated chess legend GM Alexei Shirov at the Riga International Technical University Open 2014, Latvia. However, in this event, Aravindh found the going tough and lost the first round and afterwards could not fully catch up. But despite his first round loss he still played fine chess as the following game shows.


Under 18 Girls

26 players started in the Under 18 Girls section. According to the new FIDE rules the winner would be awarded the IM title directly. It went to sixth seed Parnali Dharia who played steadily throughout the event and scored 6.5/9 points. Michelle Catherina of India and Tran Le Dan Thuy of Vietnam, also had 6.5/9 but the worse tie break.

Parnali Dharia

Born in 1997, Parnali Dharia had a breakthrough in the U18 Girls section of the World Youth Chess Championship, 2104 in Durban, where she finished seventh. As Parnali likes to tell, her father Satej Dharia taught her the rules of the games because he thought she was “too mischievous”. Soon after the eight year old fell in love with the game. She believes that proper preparation with databases and books while playing through games on a real chessboard (not the virtual one we are used to) and a well balanced diet are the keys for improving her game. She credits her parents and coaches IM Sharad Tilak and GM Pravin Thipsay for helping her become a better player and hopes to continue in the same vein and become a WGM soon. Let WIM Parnali take you through a game in which time pressure played a crucial role.


Michelle Catherina of India won silver in the U18 Girls. In 2012 she was National Women Challengers Champion of India.



WFM Tran Le Dan Thuy of Vietnam, bronze medal winner U18 Girls

Under 18 Open

18 players took part in the Open Under 18 section, the winner of which would automatically become an International Master. Top seed was CM Prince Bajaj who, however, withdrew from the tournament after he had failed to find his footing. Gold went to the Indian Chakravarthi Reddy M who played solid chess to finish with 6.5/9 points. Mosadeghpour Masoud from Iran also scored 6.5/9, but had the worse tie-break. Bronze went to Serikbay Chingiz of Kazakhstan.

Chakravarthi Reddy M

In 2014, with the establishment of the state of Telanaga, which grew out of Andhra Pradesh India India gave birth to its 29. state (province). Chakravarthi Reddy M is the first player from this new state to become an International Master. Chakravarthi learnt the rules of the game at the relatively late age of 12 but since then has made rapid progress. The newly minted IM commented that his immediate aim now is to cross the 2400 rating mark.


Mosadeghpur Masoud


Sarikbay Chingiz of Kazakhstan won Bronze scoring 6.0/9


Praying for divine inspiration?

Oh Bishop, why don’t you develop?!

Phew! That was close...

Eye of the tiger

God! What have I done?!

Which queen is more powerful?


Go Anand!

Wishing Vishy to make our wish come true!

The team from the Philippines!

A group picture from the FIDE Arbiters Seminar held alongside the event.

A trip to Qutub Minar


Special thanks to:

Narayanan Srinath is an International Master with two GM norms from India and has a rating of 2461. He has been playing chess since the age of five and has numerous achievements to his credit, the most prominent being the world under-12 champion in 2005. He is a regular contributor to various blogs. Unless mentioned otherwise all games in this report are annotated by IM Srinath.

Narayanan Srinath

Malith Akalanka is an International Arbiter and press officer of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka. He is also an officer in the Sri Lankan Army. Photography is his passion and chess his love. The photos in this report are by him.

Malith Akalanka

Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.


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