World Youth Chess Festival held at Oropesa, Spain 
                                 9th October to 23rd October 2000  
  The World Youth Chess Festival organised by the Spanish Chess Federation at the Spanish Mediterranean holiday resort of Oropesa from 9 Oct to 23 Oct 2000 was a big Indian success.
At stake were 30 medals in the World Under-10,12,14,16 and 18 Championships for boys and girls. This year we won two golds and one silver.
Deep Sengupta was India's unexpected hero. He convincingly won the World Under-12 Championship. And Koneru Humpy reemphasised that her love for gold is perennial. She won the U-14 Girls. She has won the World U-10 and U-12 Girls titles at Cannes 1997 and Oropesa 1998. In 1999 at Oropesa she won the silver behind Nana Dzagnidze of Georgia. Not many can say that they won three golds and one silver in a span of three years.
Dronavalli Harika was another surprise. She got us the silver in the Under-10 Girls.  Humpy took an early lead and then suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Columbia's Ortiz. Then Nana Dzagnidze took the lead. In the last round Dzagnidze was held to a draw by Kursova of Russia and Humpy joined her in the lead. A superior tie-break score helped Humpy win her third gold medal.
However, in the U-10 Girls the Chinese girl Zhong Yi Tan edged out Harika into second place thanks to the same tie-break score.
Deep Sengupta lost a game to Ante Brkic of Croatia but recovered with splendid chess. Deep took a straight 5/5 lead. In the last six games he won three, drew two and lost one. In the end Deep won the Under-12 World Chess Championship convincingly, finishing 0.5 points ahead of his closest rivals.
We were sure of Pentyala Harikrishna (rating 2500) winning a gold. But he was stale from too much of non-stop chess.
The medal winners in all the ten categories and all Indian players:

U-10 Boys:
1 Nguyen Ngoc Truong (Vie) 9.5; 2-3 Dmitri Andreikine (Rus), Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Fra) 8.5; 10 Mekala Abhinav 7.5; 20 D.Sai Srinivas 6.5. 92 players.

U-10 Girls:
1-2 Zhong Yi Tan (Chn), D.Harika (Ind) 9; 3 Ana Muzychuk (Ukr) 8.5; 15 V.K.Sindhu 6;
56 players.

U-12 Boys:
Deep Sengupta (Ind) 9; 2-3 Laszlo Gonda (Hun), Ante Brkic (Cro) 8.5; 9 Akshayraj Kore 7; 27 Abhijeet Gupta 6; 89 players.

U-12 Girls:
1 Atousa Pourkashiyan (Iran) 9.5; 2 Vera Nebolsina (Rus) 9; 3 Diana Arutyunova (Ukr) 8; 27 Iswarya Shobana 6; 29 Kruttika Nadig 6; 75 players.

U-14 Boys:
1 Oleksandr Aryeshchenko (Ukr) 9; 2 Xue Wang (Chn) 8.5; 3 Zhou Weiqi (Chn) 8;
11 P.Harikrishna 7.5; 31 Saptarshi Roy 6; 86 Himanshu Kumar 4; 95 players.

U-14 Girls:
1-2 Koneru Humpy (Ind), Nana Dzagnidze (Geo) 9; Nataliya Hrygorenko (Ukr) 8.5; 7 Tania Sachdev 7.5; 14 Eesha Karavade 6.5; 52 Nabeela Farheen 5; 74 players.

U-16 Boys:
1 Zviad Izoria (Geo) 9.5; 2-3 Denis Khismatoulline (Rus), Mark Paragua (Phi) 8; 69 Yashpal Singh Sonwani 4; 84 players.

U-16 Girls:
1-2 Sopico Khukhashvili (Geo), Xue Zhao (Chn) 8.5; 3 Ana Novikova (Rus) 8; 25 Shraddha Samani 6; 74 players.

U-18 Boys:
GM Vallejo Pons (Spain) 8.5; 2-3 Leinier Dominguez (Cuba), Baadur Jobava (Geo) 8; 31 P.Mageshchandran 6; 75 players.

U-18 Girls:
Zeynab Mamedyarova (Aze) 8.5; 2-3 Yu Wang (Chn), Ngoc Dang Bich (Vie) 8; 40 J.E.Kavitha 5; 56 players.

Asia took five of the ten golds and the Americas, none. China was the most successful nation at Oropesa this year. Apart from winning one gold, three silvers and one bronze they had a number
of players finishing fourth and fifth. And they had the same number of players as India, 20.
The organisation of the Festival was not like in past years. Though many of the apartments were empty, they put more participants into the same, cramped accommodation, than previously. They changed the sheets, towels once in four days, and gave a small 10-gram toilet soap three times during the whole tournament! The apartments which they allotted to players had two bedrooms with four beds, a toilet, a toilet cum bath, a drawing room with TV, Washing Machine, Cooking Range, cutlery, cooking vessels and pans plus a beautiful view of the Mediterranean.
The Press room was a total disaster. There was a Press Officer who had no information for the press and brought out no press releases. He spoke only Spanish and French. They had just one Internet connection which they said was frequently out of service. The daily bulletins cost 500 pesetas. Only one bulletin per country was given free. They cost the equivalent of Rs 145 for each. Unlike in other parts of the world this bulletin was not free for the press. They had to wait and buy it themselves.
This festival is going to be held by the same organisers for the fourth successive year in 2001.
Harika was one player who, for all practical purposes never left the shores of India. She was accompanied by her parents and coach Mr N.V.S.Ramaraju. Her mother cooked all their meals in their apartment even though they had paid the organisers US $45 per day for each. She ate her Andhra food in her apartment. She was either seen in her apartment or at the playing hall. Nowhere
The last two rounds of the Festival suffered from heavy rains, lightning and thunder. Because of this the traditional display of fireworks could not be done. Two huge trucks with the fireworks
mechanisms was waiting for the closing ceremony. They stood in the rain for two days and left, unopened. The closing ceremony was shifted to the U-18 Tournament hall. Therefore there was no victory stand like in previous years. With our advantage of knowing the pluses and minuses of Oropesa over the past few years, we should do really well next time as it is going to be held once again there.

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