Nogerbek Becomes World Junior Champion In Close Race, Divya Dominates Girls
The new World Junior Champions celebrating: Kazybek Nogerbek from Kazakhstan and IM Divya Deshmukh from India. Photo: Aditya Sur Roy/ChessBase India.

Nogerbek Becomes World Junior Champion In Close Race, Divya Dominates Girls

| 34 | Chess Event Coverage

20-year-old IM Kazybek Nogerbek was only the ninth seed but edged out 13 grandmasters to win the 2024 FIDE World Junior Chess Championship. The Girl's section was dominated by 18-year-old top-seed IM Divya Deshmukh from India, who won with an undefeated 10/11 score.

The World Junior Chess Championship took place in Gandhinagar, India, from June 2-13. The Open section had a total of 226 players, while 101 participated in the Girls section.

World Junior Chess Championship: Open

Rank Name FED Rating Points
1 IM Kazybek Nogerbek 2502 8.5
2 GM Emin Ohanyan 2501 8.5
3 GM Luka Budisavljevic 2468 8
4 GM Mamikon Gharibyan 2492 8
5 IM Tobias Koelle 2470 8
6 GM Aleksey Grebnev 2540 7.5
7 GM Jose Gabriel Cardoso Cardoso 2497 7.5
8 IM Rudik Makarian 2524 7.5
9 IM Daniel Quizon 2448 7.5
10 GM Pranav Anand 2540 7.5

World Junior Chess Championship: Girls

Rank Title Name FED Rating Points
1 IM Divya Deshmukh 2456 10
2 WIM Mariam Mkrtchyan 2300 9.5
3 WIM Ayan Allahverdiyeva 2133 8.5
4 WFM Gupta Shubhi 1943 8
5 WGM Ravi Rakshitta 2271 7.5
6 Narmin Abdinova 2121 7.5
7 WFM Rindhiya V 1965 7.5
8 WIM Dehankar Mrudul 2028 7.5
9 WIM Sofiia Hryzlova 2246 7
10 Kseniya Norman 2134 7

For full standings, see

Open Section

If the name Kazybek Nogerbek doesn't ring a bell, it certainly should now. The 20-year-old from Astana joins the prestigious list of world junior champions after scoring 8.5/11 points, finishing on better tiebreaks than GM Emin Ohanyan from Armenia. GM Luka Budisavljevic from Serbia took the bronze medal with eight points.

The World Junior title isn't Nogerbek's first major title. In 2023 he won both the rapid and blitz titles in the World Youth U18 Championship. Before that, he made headlines during the 2022 Chess Olympiad, where he started with 6/6 and ended up scoring an excellent 8.5/10 on the fourth board.

This wasn't Kazybek Nogerbek first world championship title, but his third! Photo: FIDE
This wasn't Kazybek Nogerbek's first world championship title but his third! Photo: FIDE.

He had already fulfilled all the requirements for the grandmaster title earlier this year and didn't need the direct title that is given to the world junior champion.

Going into the final round, GM Mamikon Gharibyan from Armenia was in sole lead with eight points, half a point ahead of four players, including Nogerbek. The two faced off in the final round, with the Armenian making a crucial mistake in time trouble while trying to defend a difficult ending.

The emotional final moments of the game, along with a brief interview with Nogerbek, were covered by ChessBase India: "It feels very good. To me this is a very big feeling," the new world champion said.

He pointed out that he is the second Kazakh to become world junior champion, as GM Darmen Sadvakasov, the current President of the Kazakh Chess Federation, won the title in 1998.

The World Junior Championship (Under 20 years) has a long history that goes back to the inaugural event in 1951. Former world junior champions include legends such as Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, and Viswanathan Anand, who all eventually won the World Chess Championship.

However, in recent years, more attractive tournaments have emerged, and top juniors are no longer prioritizing the event. In 2018 a total of 26 grandmasters took part, while the number has dropped to 13 this year. Among the 15 last world junior champions, only GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2009) and GM Yu Yangyi (2013) have made it to the world's top-10.

This year's edition saw just two of the world's top-30 juniors participate. One of them was 15-year-old top-seed GM Abhimanyu Mishra, the world's youngest grandmaster ever, who had a disastrous tournament and withdrew after scoring 4/7.

The American prodigy faced five Indians with an average rating of 2068, almost 600 points lower than himself. They all seemed heavily underrated, such as his 2132-rated opponent in round one, Harshit Pawar, who finished it off in style.

For Pawar the tournament was a huge success as he went on to score an IM norm, gaining a whopping 175 rating points.

Girls Section

Diviya Deshmukh is the new World Junior Champion after winning on an undefeated 10/11. Photo: FIDE
Divya Deshmukh is the World Junior Champion after scoring an undefeated 10/11. Photo: FIDE.

The Girl's section was unsurprisingly dominated by Indian home favorite Divya, who went undefeated to win on 10/11. While the 18-year-old held on to the sole lead from the sixth round onward, WIM Mariam Mkrtchyan from Armenia always stayed within striking distance. She finished just half a point behind on an undefeated 9.5 points. The bronze medal went to WIM Ayan Allahverdiyeva from Azerbaijan.

As in the Open, the Girls section was missing most of the top-rated players with Divya, Mkrtchyan, and WGM Beloslava Krasteva the only ones ranked among the world top-20.

For Divya, the title comes less than a month after she won the Sharjah Challengers tournament. "It is definitely going beyond my expectations. I am glad, and I hope this is the foundation for bigger achievements," she told ChessBase India.

It is definitely going beyond my expectations. I am glad, and I hope this is the foundation for bigger achievements!
—Divya Deshmukh

Her most convincing game was her fifth-round win:

Divya has now climbed to become the second highest-rated girl under 20 and number 20 on the overall Women's list. She will play for the Indian team in the 2024 Chess Olympiad in Budapest.

Tarjei J. Svensen

Tarjei Svensen is a Norwegian chess journalist who worked for some of the country's biggest media outlets and appeared on several national TV broadcasts. Between 2015 and 2019, he ran his chess website, covering chess news in Norwegian and partly in English.

In 2020, he was hired by Chess24 to cover chess news, eventually moving to as a full-time chess journalist in 2023. He is also known for his extensive coverage of chess news on his X/Twitter account.

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