Eteri Kublashvili’s photo spread from the World Youth Rapid Championship in Minsk
The 2nd World Cadets Rapid and Blitz Championships started in Minsk on June 22nd. In general, 747 boys and girls under 8, 10 and 12 years old from 27 countries are participating in the rapid event.
The opening ceremony was attended by Chairman of the City Executive Committee of Minsk Andrei Shorets, First Deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus Vyacheslav Durnov, Head of the Belarusian Chess Federation Anastasia Sorokina, and FIDE official representative, the tournament’s Chief Arbiter IA Takis Nikolopoulos.
Right after the official part, the enormous hall of the Palace of Sports was flooded by children and their accompanying persons. They hurried to find and take their seats, give helpful advice, take photos and perform their special pre-start rituals. The majority of children consider everything as a big chess holiday, but rating favorites and leaders are quite serious: they don’t talk too much, they hardly smile while being photographed, and they are highly concerned about their games and final result.
By the way, I would like to brag a little bit. This year, Anastasia Sorokina offered my colleague Anastasiya Karlovich and me to organize an exhibition with our photos. Nadezhda Kravchuk was of a great help to us by doing a great technical job. So, children and their parents can not only see our photos of chess legends and young players, but also buy something or order some pictures as a keepsake.
Four rounds were played on the first tournament day.
Ten participants, including the Russians Lev Zverev, Aleksandr Usov, Semen Novozhilov, Timofey Fotchenkov, Alexander Borsch, Artem Gagarinskiy, and Sergey Ryazanov, are leading the race in the U8 open group. Five players, including Darya Tsareva, Anna Grakholskaya, and Varvara Kuzmina, are leading the U8 girls' category.
U10 open group is headed by nine participants with Ivan Tokmantsev, Artem Lapin, Sarkis Sarkisyan, Patrik Pershin, and Vladimir Amirdzhanyan among them. The Russians Anna Shukhman, Valeria Kleymenova, Alexandra Shvedova, and Klara Szczotka (Poland) are leading the U10 girls' group.
Almas Rakhmatullaev (Uzbekistan), Artsiom Strybuk, Artsiom Siniauski, and Mikhail Spizharny (all from Belarus) are heading the pack in the U12 open group. The Uzbek players Umida Omonova and Mokhinur Khabibullaeva have scored 4 points in the same age category.
The final 5 rounds of rapid chess will be held on June 23rd.