The Panamerican Youth Championship

by Dejan Bojkov
8/9/2018 – At the Panamerican Youth Championships at the end of July in Santiago de Chile, everything was fine besides the temperatures. The spacious playing all hall of the National Sports Stadium had too few heaters. Heaters you say? But we have record high global temperatures. Yes, indeed, but July will forever be wintertime in Chile! DEJAN BOJKOV reports. | Pictured: (left) Chilean player Antu Amigo Quintana | Photos: Dejan Bojkov

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I should have been there eight years ago. Part of the Women’s Grand Prix was scheduled to take place in Santiago. We have put it on our calendars with Ety [Antoaneta Stefanova -Ed.]. But it was not meant to be. A sudden earthquake, merciless and devastating took lives and left Chile in ruins.

The country recovered and is back on the chess map. This year its capital hosted the Panamerican Youth championships for the ages from 8-18 years. The championships are comparable to the European championships with the slight difference that there are two continents involved: North and South America.

Over the years, the Panamerican Championships have attracted more and more participants. This year’s event welcomed representatives from twenty-two countries. Besides the large group of local players, the championships traditionally see many chess players from Peru and USA. 

The schedule of the event is traditionally tough. A lot of double rounds await participants and this requires perfect organization. This year almost everything was excellent. The players stayed in comfortable hotels not far from the venue, transportation was well scheduled and on time. Pairings were up shortly after the round was over and there was enough time for preparation. The activities during the free day were excellent too.

The only problem was the temperature. The event took place in the National Stadium. It was a spacious venue, but this extra space made it difficult for proper warming. The few heaters were highly insufficient to warm up the whole room. The players armed themselves with gloves, hats and coats, some were seen with blankets, but they were still suffering. It was winter in Chile and although the temperatures were rising during the day the players could not take in the sun. After all, they had to play sitting all the time. 

playing hall

Players from 22 countries fighting on the board, and to keep warm

stadium track

In the stadium next door: Warmer outside than inside

Apart from medals, the top players fight for further rewards: titles and norms. Only the best players could win these — IM titles for the older participants, FM, CM for the younger ones.

There is also a team ranking. Traditionally, this is a fierce battle between the teams from Peru and the USA. This year, the US team was ahead. The young players from "the States" won four gold medals, two silver and six bronze medals.

How popular is chess in Chile? That is a difficult question. I'm not sure if it was just coincidence or if chess is really that popular, but the first person I met in Chile was already an avid chess fan: My taxi driver, who drove me from the airport to the hotel, once played in a simul against the best grandmaster of Chile, Ivan Morovic. He acknowledged that he was torn to pieces by the grandmaster on the board. 

Chile, too, does not remain unaffected by chess politics. Grandmasters Viorel Bologan and Julio Granda Zuniga came by and held seminars. This was part of a promotional tour in support of Arkady Dvorkovich's candidacy as FIDE president. 

Colour makes the difference

Santiago de Chile is a great city, very green and very friendly. But if you really want to see something out of the ordinary when visiting Chile, do not miss the chance to see Valparaiso. Chile's largest port, with its architecture and the way it is painted, is truly unique in the world.

Final standings - Under-18 Open (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.
1 VILLCA Julian F 7,5
2 ZAMBRANO Junior F 7,0
3 RENGIFO BLANCAS Renzo Jhonathan 6,5
4 VARACALLI Francisco F 6,5
5 GIMENEZ AGUIRRE Alejo Ismael F 6,5
6 SANTIAGO VILCA Christian Amilca 6,0
7 CORO Lucas F 6,0
8 HEINECHEN Juan 6,0
9 CADILHAC Igor Tokuichi Kikuchi F 6,0
10 SICA Mauro C 6,0
11 TORRES CUETO Jesus Marcial F 5,5
12 RAMIREZ GONZALEZ Mauricio 5,5
13 CHRISTIE Joshua F 5,5
14 VASQUEZ JIMENEZ Cristhian 5,5
15 NYDICK Brandon 5,5
16 GONCALVES Davi Sulzbacher F 5,5
17 RODRIGUEZ HORNA Lorenzo 5,5
20 MIYASAKA Matthew 5,0

...58 players. Results of all 12 categories.

All available games



Dejan Bojkov, born in 1977, is a Bulgarian GM who qualified from the Sports Academy of Sofia as a trainer, a profession which he has followed in various countries. After his work as a trainer in Kavala (Greece) he trained ex World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova. Bojkov regularly reports for and In 2009 Bojkov was champion of Bulgaria and member of the Bulgarian team at the European championships. Bojkov is the authorof a number of popular ChessBase DVDs and in cooperation with Vladimir Georgiev wrote the book "A Course in Chess Tactics" (Gambit 2010).


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