Record participation in the World Youth Chess Championship Print
Sunday, 24 November 2002 00:00
By Casto Abundo From its small start in the late 80Os, the World Youth Chess Championships have grown in popularity to rival the Chess Olympiad. This year, a record 894 players have come to Crete for chess and for fun. Double that number for accompanying parents and coaches, and you can see how there can easily be more people gathered for this event. By Casto Abundo

From its small start in the late 80Os, the World Youth Chess Championships have grown in popularity to rival the Chess Olympiad. This year, a record 894 players have come to Crete for chess and for fun. Double that number forĀ  accompanying parents and coaches, and you can see how there can easily be more people gathered for this event.

Fortunately, the huge Creta Maris hotel complex is an ideal resort with facilities for young and old alike. As the day warms, you can find many swimming and frolicking on the beach, far removed from the icy winters of Northern Europe. Sports facilities include ping pong, billiards and even bowling. The tournament schedule is well planned to allow children free time for sports and even take a short nap before the 4:30 pm games. And in the evenings you can see the older boys and girls in the hotel disco.

It is over a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet early on, most of the group leaders were from CIS countries. The Soviet School of Chess continues to leave its mark on a new generation.

Russia has one of the biggest delegations with 19 boys and 21 girls and an almost equal number of parents and coaches. Greece, and Crete in particular, are favorite vacation places for Russians. Add a chess event and it is no wonder that many Russians would like to accompany their budding grandmasters.

When the World Youth was held in Spain, the country with the largest number of players was, of course, Spain. Today, Greece has the largest delegation with 29 boys and 12 girls.

But distance has not deterred participation. Mexico has 13 boys and 15 girls. India sent 16 boys and 12 girls. South Africa is fully represented with 10 boys and 10 girls. Canada has 14 boys and 7 girls while Kazakhstan sent 12 boys and 3 girls.

Europeans came in force: France with 20 boys, Germany with 12 boys, 15 girls; Georgia with 16 boys and 13 girls. From Asia, China boasts 10 girls and 12 boys.

The World Youth Chess Championships once won a Peace Award from the United Nations. Such an event promotes peace and understanding among peoples all over the world. GreeceOs traditional rival, Turkey, is in Crete with 12 boys and 8 girls, who we are sure will return home with fond memories of the tournament and spread good words about the warm hospitality given by the Greek organizers.

 
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