Velammal Nexus wins World School Tournament in Dubai

by André Schulz
12/3/2021 – As part of the Expo2020 in Dubai, the Spanish Pavilion organised a large tournament with schools from all over the world. The best teams of the online preliminaries were invited to Dubai. Favourite to win was the team Velammel Nexus from India that started with three grandmasters. The Indians won indeed but in the final had some trouble against surprisingly strong students from Peru. | Photos: Patricia Claros

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Scholastic chess on the Expo2020

The Acción Cultural Española organised a worldwide school tournament at the "Expo 2020" in Dubai, which was postponed to 2021. 293 teams with 2,637 players from 53 countries took part in this huge scholastic tournament.

After the preliminaries, which were played online at Chess24, the Spanish Chess Federation invited the best twelve teams to play the finals live in the Spanish Pavilion at the Expo. Incidentally, Judit Polgar is also sitting there, commentating the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi together with Anish Giri, who, however, shares his insights from the Netherlands.

118 young people from India, Mongolia, Peru, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the USA, Israel, Spain, Turkey and the UAE took part in the final round.

The twelve teams were divided into two groups and the six teams in each group now played a round-robin. The two best teams in each group advanced to the knockout stage. In Group A, the team from Velammal Nexus was the clear favourite. With Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh and Mendonca, the Indians brought no less than three strong Grandmasters to the start, plus an IM, a Candidate Master and a student without a title, who probably still would have had good chances to be the number one chess player in most schools of the world.

The Velammel Educational Trust is a private school and educational organisation founded in 1986 by Shrimati. M. V. Muthuramalingam. The trust began with 30 students but today, the "Velammal Educational Empire" comprises 30 institutions including three nursery schools, one boarding school, three international schools, eight high schools, eleven CBSE schools, three technical colleges and one medical college with a total of more than 90,000 students and 8500 members of staff.

Anand opens the round

The Velammal Nexus School won their preliminary group quite confidently, and the three grandmasters won all their games. The winner of the B group was the team of the 33rd Secondary School from Mongolia, which was also stocked with title holders.

The tournament venue

The breaks offered time for more chess

After the group stage, the two best teams of each group advanced to the knockout stage. Here, Velammal Nexus won against School #1, which was also from Mongolia, and the surprisingly strong team of Saco Oliveros from Lima (Peru), which had finished second in group A, eliminated the 33rd Secondary School.

Group picture with World Champion

In the final, Velammal Nexus defeated the Saco Oliveros team, but only 3-2. The 33rd Secondary School from Mongolia finished third.

Selfie with Dana Reizniece and the well-travelled Peruvians

The strong Peruvians from Saco Oliveros in Lima

The Velammal Nexus School received the trophy from Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, and José Manuel Franco, Spanish Secretary of State for Sport.

Final standings group A

Rk. Team  Tb1 
1 Velammal Nexus 15
2 Saco Oliveros 13
3 Gujarat State Chess Association 11
4 EDM Torrelavega 9
5 Mission San Jose Hopkins Junior 7
6 Al Ain Culture & Chess Club 5

Final standings group B

Rk. Team  Tb1 
1 33rd Secondary School 14
2 School #1 13
3 Gymnazium Petra Bezruce 9
4 Istanbul Erkek Lisesi Team 9
5 Green Village Chess Academy 8
6 Csanyi Alapitvany Gyermekekert 7

Knock-out stage

Semifinals
No. Team Team Res. : Res.
1   Velammal Nexus   School #1 :
2   Saco Oliveros   33rd Secondary School 3 : 2
3   EDM Torrelavega   Gymnazium Petra Bezruce 2 : 3
4   Mission San Jose Hopkins Junior   Csanyi Alapitvany Gyermekekert 3 : 2
5   Gujarat State Chess Association   Istanbul Erkek Lisesi Team 3 : 2
6   Al Ain Culture & Chess Club   Green Village Chess Academy 1 : 4
Finals
Nr. Team Team Res. : Res.
1   Velammal Nexus   Saco Oliveros 3 : 2
2   School #1   33rd Secondary School :
3   Gujarat State Chess Association   Gymnazium Petra Bezruce 2 : 3
4   Istanbul Erkek Lisesi Team   EDM Torrelavega 1 : 4
5   Green Village Chess Academy   Mission San Jose Hopkins Junior 2 : 3
6   Csanyi Alapitvany Gyermekekert   Al Ain Culture & Chess Club 5 : 0

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