Before the explosion of “open” age group events, be it World Youth, Asian Schools, or even National Age group championships, the World Junior Championship and Asian Junior Championship were the only opportunity for a country’s best young talent to showcase their talent.
Each country could only send their best player for this under 20 event and the rewards were the International Master title for the winner of the Asian Junior Championship and the Grandmaster title for the winner of the World Junior Championship.
Today, these events are still incredibly important to top young players but not for the International Master or Grandmaster title but for the title of World or Asian Champion itself as many who play are already International Masters and Grandmasters!
See this year’s World Junior Championship entry list: http://www.wjcc2010.pl/en/news/29-22062010-lista-uczestnikow
I was very pleased therefore to help facilitate Malaysia’s participation in the just finished Asian Junior Championship held in Chennai, India, and especially so when we were arguably being represented by our very best prospects.
Our players impressed in Chennai, and while the girls shone, I think that we all saw this as really more of an opportunity to better appreciate what it takes to succeed in chess at this level of competition and to take lessons for the future because if Malaysia is to develop a new generation of young players capable of flying our flag at senior level we must continue to make these investments.