On September 16, junior Julia Sevilla competed in the 2017 World Youth Chess Championship. Out of 60 competitors, she finished 34th.
Players competed in 11 rounds, and victory was based on the number of points each one accumulated. The competition ended on September 26.
The World Youth competition is an invitational that features some of the best youth chess players from around the world aged 13 to 18. One hundred and twelve American students were invited to participate in this year’s tournament in Uruguay, which is 11 more students than 2016. Of the 112, only 30 participated in the competition. A total of 385 students from around the globe were invited to participate in the championship.
Groups in the competition are divided by gender and age. The divisions are: ages 13 to 14, ages 15 to 16, and ages 17 to 18, which includes competitions in which boys and girls compete against each other within the same age group. Another division is open for girls 13 to 18 years old, in which they compete against other girls within the age group. All divisions play 11 rounds, which is part of a Swiss tournament style that pins individuals against each other on a point-to-point basis. They do not play against the same opponent twice, and no eliminations occur. The winner is decided based on the points he or she has accumulated after the 11 rounds.
The matches were broadcast live on the internet once players had reached the top six in their section. Sevilla made it to the top six in her section during rounds five and six.
“The most challenging part of competing, I believe, is making sure you’re prepared beforehand. The competitors are able to prepare against each other and often it’s hard to gain an advantage if your past games are on the Internet,” Sevilla said.
The knowledge live broadcasts give players for future matches makes the competition tough. Competitors often take the time to analyze broadcasted play-by-plays in order to better understand their opponent’s strategies, tweaking their own gameplay to anticipate their moves. Sevilla also described the competition as, “quite nerve-wracking, especially if your board is one that broadcasts the game online.”
Sevilla began playing chess at the age of 10 and has been playing in international tournaments since the age of 12.
To improve, Sevilla recommends analyzing games that are at a higher-level, as the low frequency of mistakes allow a person to gather helpful information and incorporate it into his or her own playing style.
Sevilla does not have any major plans for this year, but next year, she hopes to compete in the 2018 World Youth, which will be hosted in Halkidiki, Greece.
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in 1948 and earned recognition by the International Olympic Committee. FIDE organizes a number of international chess tournaments such as the Women’s FIDE Grand Prix Series, World Youth U14, U16, U18 Championships, and the World Chess Olympiad.