Chess at the Spanish Pavilion

by André Schulz
11/26/2021 – In a smart move, the Spanish decided to hold a worldwide school chess tournament at the Expo 2020. The best teams, including a bunch of remarkably strong kids from India, are now competing in the finals at the Spanish pavilion. On Wednesday, they were visited by Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar. | Images: Patricia Claros

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Intelligence for Life

The Spanish pavilion at the Expo is built around the motto "Intelligence for Life". Of course, chess fits this slogan perfectly. Inspired by the Expo's World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi, the Spanish had the brilliant idea of setting up their own online school chess world championship. More than 165 schools from 40 countries signed up and participated. The championship finale will be held on site at the Spanish pavilion in Dubai and is being overseen by a number of famous figures from the Spanish chess community.

Curator of the Spanish pavilion at Expo 2020 Carmen Bueno, international arbiter Javier Pérez Llera, event director Marcelino Sión Castro and member of the administration Patricia Claros Aguilar (l.). 


The school chess tournament features a few well-known figures and names, as well. The Indian school "Velammal Nexus" boasts a team whose members have an average Elo rating of 2492. Up-to-date chess enthusiasts will most likely recognise a number of prominent players among the team members.

The Indian student team with Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh and Mendonca

Velammal Nexus

Br.   Name Elo Country FideID 1 2 3 4 5 Pts. Num. EloAVG
1 GM GUKESH D 2621 IND 46616543 1 1       2,0 2 1785
2 GM PRAGGNANANDHAA R 2610 IND 25059530 1 1       2,0 2 1767
3 GM MENDONCA Leon Luke 2536 IND 35028561 1 1       2,0 2 2114
4 IM PRANAV V 2486 IND 25060783 ½ 0       0,5 2 2024
5   RINDHIYA V 2047 IND 25040529 0 0       0,0 2 2114

It would not come as a surprise if the student Grandmasters were to win the tournament, even if some keep pointing out the fact that they are not technically students anymore. However, other teams feature players with impressive titles and even the occasional Grandmaster, as well. That's just how things are these days, apparently. If you want to be a part of your school's chess team, you should ideally have a title already, FM at the very least. Then again, a few school teams with "normal" ratings of around 1800 have made it to the finale in Dubai, as well.

The team tournament will be played in two groups, followed by a knock-out round.

After Wednesday's World Championship inauguration and press conference, Magnus Carlsen still had some time left and took the opportunity to visit the Spanish pavilion. The World Champion was accompanied by Judith Polgar, among others. At the Spanish pavilion, which includes entire rooms dedicated to chess, Carlsen signed the guest book and received gifts aplenty.

Chess at the Spanish pavilion

Carlsen with his little gift bag

Signing the guest book

Judit Polgar

High-tech mobile

The coaches of tomorrow

Magnus Carlsen and Judith Polgar were featured on a group photo with the students.

Group A

Rank Team  Pts1 
1 Mission San Jose Hopkins Junior 7,0
2 Velammal Nexus 6,5
3 Saco Oliveros 6,5
4 Gujarat State Chess Association 5,0
5 EDM Torrelavega 5,0
6 Al Ain Culture & Chess Club 0,0

Group B

Rank Team  Pts1 
1 School #1 7,5
2 Gymnazium Petra Bezruce 6,0
3 Green Village Chess Academy 3,5
4 33rd Secondary School 3,5
5 Csanyi Alapitvany Gyermekekert 2,0
6 Istanbul Erkek Lisesi Team 0,5


Results of the school tournament at 

Tournament page...

Spanish pavilion Expo...

German pavilion Expo...

Virtual Expo...

- Translation from German by Hugo B. Janz

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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