History of the World Youth Chess Championships

Jun 19, 2010

The World Youth Chess Championship is the global chess competition for girls and boys under the age of 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18.

The first predecessor of the youth championship was the Cadet Championship. It started off unofficially in 1974 in France for players under 18. The 1975 and 1976 editions were also for U18. The 1976 featured very young players such as Garry Kasparov and Julian Hodgson (12+) but also players slightly older than 18, but younger than 19 such as Louis Roos. It was recognized in 1977 by FIDE as the World Championship for Cadets for players under 17. In 1981 the age limit was reduced to under 16, applicable at the start of the year the championship is played in. It was also the year in which the first women’s championship for U16 was played.

In 1979, International Year of the Child, the first edition of the World’s Children’s cup was played for U14. This cup had four editions, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984. In 1985 the U14 edition was included in the first edition of the World Youth Chess Festival for peace. Subsequently, the age categories U10, U12 and U18 were introduced. In 1987 the festival included the sections U10, U12, U14 and U18, while the U16 was help separately. In 1988, U16 was incorporated, but U18 was held separately. It was not until 1989 that the festival included all five age categories. Later, the U16 and U18 were sometimes played at separately f