Meet Abhijeet Gupta – meet the Junior World Champion

8/21/2008 – Four years ago Nigel Short, while winning the Commonwealth Championship, ran into some problems: "In the second round I drew with some 15-year-old boy from some very obscure place, some village somewhere. I think his name was Abhijeet Gupta." Last week nineteen-year-old Abhijeet won the prestigious World Junior Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey. Interview.

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The World Junior Championship was held in Gaziantep between 2-16 August, the sixth largest city and one of the major economic centers in Turkey. Abhijeet Gupta and Harika Dronavalli, both from India, won the World Junior titles, after dramatic turnarounds, which are frequent in World Junior Championships.

Interview with Abhijeet Gupta

By Özgür Akman for ChessBase

Would you introduce yourself briefly?

I am eighteen years old, a freshman (first-year student) in B.A. English Honors Indra Gandhi National Open University from Delhi. I live in Bhilwara [in Rajahstan], my native place. Bharat Petroleum pays all my expenses and I work for them. [Bharat Petroleum is one of the largest public-sector undertaking in India, one of the largest around the world. The Mumbai based company is working in the petroleum sector, as can be figured out easily]. I became grandmaster last year.

How did you start playing chess?

When I was six, I entered a school competition, but before that I used to play with one of my neighbors. I just saw them playing and the game looked interesting to me.

What do you think of Gaziantep, and describe your path to the title.


The winners of the 2008 World Junior Championship in Turkey:
Parimarjan Negi, Abhijeet Gupta (both India) and Arik Braun (Germany)

A very-well organized tournament with a nice hotel, nice tournament hall... The games in the first 4-5 rounds were pretty much okay. Then I lost the seventh round. I knew that I have to stick on to the tournament. The last rounds were very important in this Swiss system. I tried to remain focused in the last rounds and in the end I won.

Do you find it similar to the last editions’ winner, i.e. Ahmed Adly’s case?

Yes. He lost first two games and then won a lot of games. In the last rounds he won most of his games.

Did you have the goal of winning the title before coming to Turkey?

No, I just wanted to be in top three before coming. I mean everybody comes to win the title in general, but I thought top three should be okay.

What are your impressions about the organization?

The tournament hall was good, the hotel was nice. I think the tournament was quite well organized.

Have you ever been to Turkey before?

I came to Denizli for World Under16 Olympiad in 2003.

How much do you know about Turkish chess and what are your general impressions about chess in Turkey?

I have read a lot of articles on ChessBase, like European Championships, European Club Cup and many other tournaments happening in Turkey. I think Turkish Chess Federation is a very good organizer.

What is your near-term schedule?

I will play in Commonwealth Championship in Nagpur, India in September. I will also play in a tournament in Europe. Then I think I will have some training sessions.


Abijeet Gupta scored five consecutive victories in the final rounds

Who are you training with?

I train with Vishal Sareen. I also worked with Elizbar Ubilava from Spain.

Do you have an idol in chess?

As with most of the other chess players who live in India, Anand is my favorite.

Is there any chess book and a player that had profound influence on you?

When I started playing chess, I heard the name of Harikrishna a lot as a player. When I was young I was just used to the Informator.

What are your next targets in your chess career?

Reaching 2600 very soon. I mean this year.

It is not very frequent that one country wins both world junior titles, isn’t it?

I think it is the first time. Chess in India is on the boom so I am sure we are going to receive more medals.

All pictures by Özgür Akman

Boys (open section) – final standings after 13 rounds

Rank
SNo. Title Name Rtg FED
Pts
1
19 GM GUPTA Abhijeet 2551 IND
10
2
26 GM NEGI Parimarjan 2529 IND
3-7
23 IM BRAUN Arik 2533 GER
9
14 GM HOWELL David 2561 ENG
9
28 GM SAFARLI Eltaj 2527 AZE
9
16 WGM HOU Yifan 2557 CHN
9
13 GM AMIN Bassem 2561 EGY
9

Summary: Abhijeet Gupta, born in 1989, hails from Bhilwara in Rajasthan, India. In 2002 he entered the Limca Book of Records after becoming the youngest National Junior Champion (under-19) champion at the age of 13 years and 10 days. At fifteen he became India's youngest International Master, and at eighteen India's 17th grandmaster. He has won 14 international medals, including six gold medals from the Asian, Commonwealth and British age-group categories. On August 15th 2008, Abhijeet won the World Junior Chess Championship at Gaziantep, Turkey. He is the third Indian to win this championship.

In January 2004 Nigel Short spoke in an interview about the start of his successful Commonwealth Championship in Mumbai, which he won. "You had some problems in the beginning?" we asked him. "Well, I didn’t start very well at all," he replied. "In the second round I drew with some 15-year-old boy from some very obscure place, some village somewhere. I think his name was Abhijeet Gupta (picture left). He played quite reasonably well..." Well, that young boy from the obscure village is now the Junior World Champion, Nigel.

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