The idea was the brainchild of William Ritson-Morry and he organized the 1951 inaugural event to take place in England. Borislav Ivkov was the first champion. Since then it has been held every two years until 1973, when an annual schedule was adopted.
The first tournament was 11-round Swiss, but in subsequent years preliminary tournament have been played with players divided into sections of approximately equal strength. From these preliminaries sections, players qualified for the top, middle and lowest sections i.e. A, B, C and D finals.
In the period 1951-1973 finals were held as Round-Robin tournaments. Since then preliminaries were canceled and a 13-round Swiss event was adopted.
In 1982, a separate tournament for girls U-20 was organized. The first winner was Agnieszka Brustman of Poland. The first event was also called the World Cup. Since then the World Girls U-20 Championships have been held every year except the 1984 year.
There are many top junior players of all continents are taking part in Championships. Champions under 20: Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand became World Champions. The World Girls U-20 Champion Zhu Chen became the World Women Champion.
In the 2008 year in Turkey 109 juniors and 67 girls from 50 countries took part. In the 2009 year in Argentina 80 juniors and 45 girls from 61 countries took part.