World Junior Chess Championship 2023 – Rolling Report

This year’s World Junior Chess Open and Girls Championship is being held in Mexico City at Hotel del Prado. This event is held from 20 September – 02 October. The Championship is organized by the Mexican Chess Federation in collaboration with CONADE (National Sports Commission), COM (Mexican Olympic Committee), and Culture Ministry, under the auspices of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). The winners of the World Junior Chess Championships would directly qualify to get Grandmaster (GM) and Women Grandmaster (WGM) titles, respectively. That being said, the tournament is witnessing several GMs and WGMs highlighting the importance of the crown itself.

IM Tarun and WIM Trisha Kanyamarala are representing Ireland. Their starting seed is 49th and 9th, respectively.

Day 10:

A crucial final round for Trisha as a win or maybe a draw would allow a podium finish. Trisha was on 7.5/10 playing on board 2 against top-seed IM Carrisa Yip from the USA with the black pieces.

Round 11:

The game started with the Classical Sicilian opening. Both sides seemed to know the theory. A rich middle-game arose comprised of Double Rooks + Queen vs. Double Rooks + Queen. At first, Trisha had some initiative on the Queenside, in materialize she should have gone for a queen trade with Qc8. The rook endgame is slightly favorable as the d5-pawn is weak. Carrisa found good moves after another which created problems for Trisha’s kingside. In time scrabble Trisha sacrificed her rook on c2 which was a decisive mistake, afterwards Carissa flawlessly went on to win the game and a silver medal in the final standings.

Closing Ceremony

Girls Section:

1st place: WGM Candela Francisco, Argentina; 2nd place: IM Carrisa Yip, United States of America; 3rd place: WGM Beloslava Krasteva, Bulgaria

Trisha came 7th in the final standings.

Trisha holding her 7th place trophy with former Women’s World Champion GM Susan Polgar

Day 9:

Round 10:

Day 8:

Round 9:

Day 7: Topsy-turvy

Round 8:

The lesson I learned yesterday was “seize when you get the chance”. Today I kept that in mind and was very patient when I got a decisive advantage. I won by a nice endgame technique.

Day 6: Close miss

Round 7:

I was paired against Benjamin Faybish from Belgium. I was with the white pieces. I went for 1.e4 this time unlike my previous white game where I opened with 1.d4. The opening was a Sicilian Rossolimo. The middle-game was very closed, however, fireworks started after I played e5. I missed a decisive win in the late middle-game. Soon I got in a difficult situation where the game ended in a draw.

Trisha was paired against Barbara Goraj from Poland. Trisha nicely controlled her position and exploited weaknesses around her opponent’s king. Trisha was exchange up in the endgame which she converted to a full point:

Day 5: Comeback

Round 6:

With a rest day, I was able to re-energize myself for the next half of the tournament. I was paired against Ferran from Mexico. The game was very double-edged, however with fine attacking ideas I was able to get a better endgame and hence won the game.

Day 4: Disaster

Round 5:

After the previous loss, I thought to play solidly today. I was paired against the local Santiago with the white pieces. I got a fine position out of the London System. After a few trades, I misplayed and got into a worse position where I had to decide to give material or keep material at the cost of a weak king. I went for the latter which turned out to be a bad decision. My opponent clinically finished me off.

Day 3: Ups and Downs

Round 4:

I was paired against Christopher Leonel from Ecuador with the black pieces. I was a bit surprised by the opening choice of his. I mixed up my move order and ended up in a pawn-down position. I had a choice to suffer a pawn down game or complicate by sacrificing a knight for a pawn. I went for the latter, which honestly was fun on the board, but objectively it was really bad.

Day 2: Hectic Day

Today was a double-round. The morning round started at 10:00 and the evening at 17:00.

Round 2:

I was up against GM Momchil Petkov from Bulgaria with the black pieces. Incidentally, we played before at last year’s World Junior Championship, Sardinia. Moreover, we played on a double-round day and I was with black pieces.

Round 3:

The pairings were up an hour prior to the start of the round. This was not enough to prepare, so I was just chilling. I was paired against Donald from Zimbabwe.

Day 1: Colorful Day

By Tarun

Opening Ceremony

The moment we sat in the hall where the opening ceremony was due to commence, we were warmly greeted by our Gailege (Irish) language – Fáilte! The organizers presented a slideshow of all countries with their flags, famous structures, and welcome greetings in the respective country’s national language.

The inaugural ceremony exceeded all expectations. It was a vibrant showcase of Mexican cultural heritage, featuring traditional dances, music, and rituals that dazzled the audience.

The ceremony was graced by the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including the renowned Grandmaster Susan Polgar, who had the honor of inaugurating the World Junior Championship.

A women holding a fire-lit torch
GM Susan Polgar holding the fire-lit torch.

The top seeds from the Open and Girls sections, GM Hans Niemann and IM Carissa Yip, took the stage to determine the color selection. The organizers added a creative touch by enlisting two gentlemen sporting hats, one positioned to the left and the other to the right of the players. The top seeds were tasked with selecting a hat, and upon their choice, the designated gentleman would remove his hat to reveal the color of their chess piece. It provided a comical moment as Hans deliberated while selecting his hat, and at one point, it seemed as though one of the gentlemen almost lost his hat, fortunately without causing the chess piece to fall. After a minute of contemplation, Hans made his decision and unveiled a white chess piece, much to the amusement of the audience.

Hans Neimann Happy
Hans is happy after choosing a white piece.

After the opening ceremony players were advised to collect their goodie bags. Unpacking all the stuff in the bag was a delight.

In the bag:

  • Chess set with all logos of the World Junior Championship
  • Black Diary
  • Red Pen
  • Red Flask
  • A box of Mexican candies
  • Black T-shirt with the logo of the World Junior Championship
Panoramic view of all items in the bag
A panoramic shot of all the goodies in the bag!

Technical Meeting

An hour before round 1 started, the technical meeting was held. In the meeting, Chief Arbiter Carolina Muñoz Solis, Deputy Chief Arbiter Garry Bekker, and anti-cheating officers went through the regulations of the championship. After the meeting, I got my accreditation card. The organizers said participants of the girl’s section would get the cards tomorrow.

Round 1:

I was paired against Diego from Mexico. I was with the white pieces. I was able to positionally outplay to secure the victory. The game was played on a non-digital board so I won’t publish the game here, maybe after the tournament:)

Trisha was paired against Durga from Singapore. Trisha too was playing with the white pieces. It was a long 4.5-hour game, Trisha came out victorious in the end.

Arrival Day: A Long Journey

By Tarun

The distance between Ireland and Mexico is roughly 8000 KM. We chose to travel with AirFrance. We got an early morning flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport.

Two person standing in fron of an Aircraft
Minutes before boarding the Dublin to Paris flight.

We waited for three hours before we boarded a 12-hour flight to Mexico. We boarded at 12pm Central European Time and landed at 4 pm Mexico City Time.

Two persons sitting in the aircraft
Paris to Mexico Flight

The final few hours of the journey felt really tiring however, we quickly got energized when we got out of the aircraft it was sunny and really warm.

City view from Hotel Room
City view from our hotel room

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