World Youth U16 Chess Olympiads
The World Youth U16 Chess Olympiads — quite awkwardly recognized as "Children's Olympiads" by FIDE (which is sort of exaggeration given that 16-year old players are super GMs rather than innocent sucklings those days) — date back to 1993 when Serbian manager and arbiter Dmitraje Bjelica organized its premier edition in Linares, where he was umpiring the legendary GM tournament at the time. In his job he was, and still is, accompanied by ex-World Champion and UNICEF ambassador Karpov.
The interesting 1994 edition took place in Malta. The event saw 12-year old prodigies Ponomariov and Vallejo Pons and other players to reach top level in near future as Solak, Soćko or A.Horváth. The 1995 Olympiad held in the beautiful scenery of the Canary Islands was the first that is officially recognized as one from FIDE Children's Olympiads series.
|Dmitraje Bjelica (b. 1935)
| Serbian player (FM), arbiter and well-known journalist. He is prolific writer (a.o. "My friend Bobby Fischer"), author of 70 books and many videos and CDs. He is in the Guinness Book of Records (1997 simul in Subotica at 312 boards) and holds World blind simul record (55 boards in Herceg Novi in 1997). He was manager and arbiter of many international tournaments a.o. in Bugojno, Metz and Linares. He was Karpov's second in the WCh match in 1986. For many years he has been tirelessly spending his time and money on promoting children's chess. See his home page.
There is absolutely no data available for 1996-1998 period (maybe you can help to fill the gap?). The 1999 and 2000 editions took place in the famous Youth Center Artek in sunny Crimea. Some brand new talents emerged there like Eljanov, Jobava, Timofeev or Karjakin. The 2000 Olympiad was the last one to be organized jointly by FIDE and Bjelica/Karpov duo. The co-operation was broken then, and Mr. Bjelica organizes his own tournament named as the International Children’s Chess Games, which annually takes place in Novi Sad and is on purpose individual event. FIDE continued with the U16 team Olympiads however following not very successful attempt in Brazil in 2001 where just 8 teams (mostly minor) arrived. The Kuala Lumpur edition was managed with great hospitality and the conditions were perfect. Underestimated China produced fantastic result, arguably most impressive ever seen at the Children's Olympiads. In 2003 favoured Ukraine lost again edged out by Hungary. The Chinese team won once more in 2004 in India. Next year the Olympiad was cancelled because too few teams took interest.
The Olympiads have always been well-known from flawless management, decent standard of facilities provided and abundancy of prizes handed not only to the winners. They are also unique opportunity for many young chess players from all over the world to meet other players of their age. Due to collapse of U20 World Team Championship the Children's Olympiads are the only worldwide junior team event.