National under-9 meet from today

Arvind Aaron

Chennai: The Indian Bank-Vels National Under-9 chess championship for boys and girls starting at Pallavaram in Chennai on Sunday promises to be an exciting one. The importance of the event is that the winners will represent the country in the World under-10 championship to be held in Russia in 2006.

India — along with Russia, Georgia and China — has been one of the strong nations in this age category group. Two of our players, P. Harikrishna (1996) in boys' and Koneru Humpy (1997) in girls' have won the World under-10 titles.

Tamil Nadu will have the advantage of playing at home. The talented Andhra Pradesh players, should be well prepared for the event since their state selections concluded only this Friday at Gudur.

Chennai is hosting this event for the third time. The age group festival itself started at IIT Madras in the hot summer of May 1988. Many of those who had won this age group had gone on to become Grandmasters. Namely, Harikrishna, Chanda, Ganguly in boys' and Humpy, Vijayalakshmi, Meenakshi Subbaraman and Harika in girls' sections.

Tamil Nadu State Chess Association is the organiser of this event. There will be eleven rounds and the total prize fund is Rs.52,000. There will be one round on Sunday and three days will feature double rounds. June 9 will be the free day. The closing ceremony will be on June 13.

Rating wise the top seeds here are G.V. Sai Krishna (AP) in boys' and K. Chandana Priya Reddy (AP) in girls' sections.

For the first time in the event, officials are trying to place the over-age related complaints under the scanner and refer them for a medical check.

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