World Cadet Rapid and Blitz 2024

Let to right: GM Ihor Samunenkov, IM Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus, Lu Miaoi

From April 25th to 29th, in the vibrant city of Durres, Albania, hundreds of talented youngsters aged 6 to 12 will gather at the prestigious venue where Magnus Carlsen and his team “Offerspill” triumphed in the European Club Chess Championship just six months ago. Competing over three intense days, these young prodigies will vie for the coveted titles of World Champions in Rapid and Blitz, in the categories spanning U8, U10, and U12.

Anticipation is soaring as this year’s event is breaking a record with an astounding 48 participating countries (!!) and approximately 400 players. This is the highest number of participating countries since the event debuted in 2017 in Minsk, Belarus, and the highest number of participating players in the post Covid era. The event was repeated at the same venue also in 2018 & 2019 but was postponed during the Covid-19 years 2020 – 2021 (although an Online event was held instead). It was revived in 2022, organised in Rhodes, Greece and in 2023 in Batumi, Georgia.

Notable participants from the Online 2020 event, which was organised jointly with the youth categories, were Gukesh D and Nihal Sarin, who have ascended to the pinnacle of the international chess scene, currently competing in the FIDE Candidates 2024.

One cannot forget the Under 10 category, where the young Lu Miaoi showcased immense talent and is today ranked second globally in the Girls under 20 FIDE rating (despite being still just 14 years old!!). She is of course expected to shine in the future!

From the inaugural 2017 Championships, players such as Bardiya Daneshvar, Volodar Murzin, Denis Lazavik, and have evolved into promising Grandmasters. Has their journey been catalyzed by the motivation gained from their medals at the championship? We say yes!

Even those who didn’t clinch medals, such as Zsoka Gaal, have found success, illustrating the resilience and growth fostered by participation in such esteemed events. Gaal, now a formidable Woman International Master (WIM), can serve as an inspiration for aspiring young players worldwide.

The Championship serves as a crucible for talent, nurturing the next generation of chess luminaries, giving the opportunity of experiencing the participation in a World Chess Championship within a short time span of a few days. Notable mentions include WIM Umida Omonova (18 years old), GM Ihor Samunenkov (15 years old), IM Shreyas Royal (15 years old), and IM Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus (13 years old), who have all flourished on the global stage. Erdogmus is already on the top 30 Juniors FIDE rating list, despite the fact that the category includes players up to 20 years old!

As the excitement builds, we await another chapter in the illustrious history of the World Cadet Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship. Stay tuned as Durres, Albania, prepares to host this celebration of youthful brilliance amidst the stunning backdrop of the Albanian Riviera!