World Junior rest day: a journey into Maratha

by Sagar Shah
10/15/2014 – The rest day at the World Juniors is a wonderful tradition. Apart from giving players the much needed break from this strenuous event, it presents them with an opportunity to bond with each other and make new friends. Nearly 75 foreign players enrolled themselves for an outing to some historical sites in Pune and get aquainted with the Maratha culture. Big pictorial report.

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A Journey into the Maratha culture on the rest day

By Sagar Shah

The World Junior is a very long event. Thirteen rounds of fighting chess amongst the brightest young talents in the world. It is simply impossible to play these thirteen rounds consecutively and maintain your level of play. It is with this intention that a rest day is included in the schedule of every World Junior Championship after the end of the seventh round. But there is more to the rest day than just resting! In the 53rd World Junior Chess Championship which is taking place in Pune from the 5th-20th October the organizers arranged a small excursion for the participants. Nearly 75 foreign players enrolled themselves for the trip. The main intention was to acquaint them with the Indian history and culture especially the Maratha culture, which is indigenous to the city of Pune.

Three buses were arranged for the players for this trip

First on the agenda was the Shaniwar Wada

The Shaniwar Wada is a royal palace, seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Mahatha Empire. The ruler, Baji Rao, used the Shaniwar Wada as his residence in the 18th century. Shaniwar means Saturday and Wada is a residential complex. As the ceremonial foundation on January 10, 1730 was laid on Saturday, it came to be known as Shaniwar Wada. The Peshwas owned it till the British rulers captured it in the year 1818.

The organizers had arranged for a guide to explain the history of the
various structures at the Shaniwar Wada

The temperature was 34 degrees Celsius (93°F) and naturally some of the foreign players found it
quite tough to handle! But soon everyone found a way to cope with it, like Feriel Lalaoui from Algeria...

... and Sabina Ibrahimova and Ulvi Bajarani from Azerbaijan

More than sight-seeing, it was a chance for the youth of different nations to know each other better

The Chinese GM Wei Yi, who is one of the favourites to win this tournament,
took some time away from chess to enjoy the excursion

Some of the players went into the huge fortress tunnel ...

... while others (Elena Boric and Robert Zsifkovits) struck an adventurous pose on the walls

After Shaniwar Wada the buses took us to our next destination through the busy streets of Pune

Chinese girls on the bus: WIM Zhai Mo and WIM Gu Tianlu

Bart von Meijenfelt, Quinten Ducarmon, Filippos Stamos and Konstantinos Megalios in the back

The Italians: Marina Brunello, Tea Gueci and GM Michele Godena

The Raja Dinkar Kelkar museum was next on the agenda. It contains the collection of a person named Dinkar Kelkar, with sculptures dating back as early as 14th century. It also contains ornaments made of ivory, silver and gold as well as musical instruments, war weapons and vessels.

A very beautiful statue of God Shri Ram

Beautifully ornamented and carved – vegetable cutters!

And can you guess what this is? A nut cracker!

A very huge necklace and a bangle on its side

Aysa Imeeva poses with one of the more interesting statues in the museum

Why did they make such long guns, WIMs Sabina Ibrahimova and Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva wonder

Karina Azimova and Aysa Imeeva have a lot of questions to ask

Elena Boric and Robert Zsifkovits try the Indian burger known as Wada Pav. It is
quite spicy and it is commendable that both of them could eat it without any problems.

These volunteers did a wonderful job of organizing the rest day trip

A group picture of all the players who went to the excursion

After the wonderful excursion, the Russian players enjoy their lunch at the Grand Hyatt

The Dutch team at the lunch table

WGM Soumya Swaminathan (second from the right) took the players from Algeria and
Uzbekistan on a separated excursion to the nearby mall for shopping

Photos by Amruta Mokal


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Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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