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Impressions from the 1st day of the World Junior Rapid & Blitz championships in Salobrena (Spain).

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Red and yellow – these are the colors that you see when you enter the playing hall. Red and yellow are the national colors of Spain and Vietnam, 2 countries that have the most representatives in Salobrena. 118 players come from Spain, 14 – from Vietnam.

The number of the participants of the host country doesn’t surprise, of course. But the fact that so many players came to Salobrena from a far away country as Vietnam can only cause admiration! Also necessary to mention that at the World Cadets Rapid & Blitz championships in Minsk (Belarus) last August, Vietnam also had a huge delegation. Clearly, chess has a bright future in that country.

In total there are 178 players from 22 countries, among them 1 GM, 5 IMs, 12 FMs, 1 WIM, 12 WFMs.

The strongest player is Lucas Van Foreest from the Netherlands, whose classical rating is 2531. But ratings tell nothing about the real strength of the players, since all the players are young and there are not enough rapid and blitz tournaments rated.

 And we can expect lot of surprises in all rounds of the tournament. Already in the 1st round of the rapid Lucas (U-18 Open) had to conceive half a point against Spanish FM Roldan Marques. In the U-18 Girls section the top seed Anna Afonasieva lost to WFM Wiktoria Sowa from Poland.