Chess World Cup: Anand to lead seven-member contingent

The list of participants announced by FIDE, the world chess body, also includes Pentala Harikrishna, the second-highest ranked Indian.

Seven Indian players, including former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, will be taking part in the Chess World Cup to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from September 2 to 27.   -  K. MURALI_KUMAR

Seven Indian players, including former World Champion Viswanathan Anand, will be taking part in the Chess World Cup to be held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from September 2 to 27.

The list of participants announced by FIDE, the world chess body, also includes Pentala Harikrishna, the second-highest ranked Indian.

The World Cup would feature 128 players in a knock-out system. The two players, who will enter the final, will secure direct entry into the Candidates tournament in 2018. It would determine who would play the current World Champion.

Interestingly, World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin are also taking part in the event.

Anand and Harikrishna qualified for the tournament on the basis of their ratings while SP Sethuraman and Deep Sengupta made it on the basis of performances in the continental championship in 2016.

Anand has previously won the tournament on two occasions.

He recently tied for the second spot in the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, USA and finished ninth in the Rapid and Blitz Chess tournament, a part of the Grand Chess tour.

The others who will be taking part in the World Cup are Karthikeyan Murali (who qualified from Zone 3.7), Vidit Gujrathi (from Continental event 2017) and Baskaran Adhiban (FIDE nominee).

As per the draw, Anand would meet Malaysian No. 1 International Master Yeoh Li Tian in the opener, while Harikrishna would meet Cuban GM Gonzalez Yuri Vidal.

In other first-round pairings, Gujrathi has been paired against Paraguayan No. 2 GM Delgado Ramirez Neuris, while Adhiban would run into Vietnamese GM Nguyen Ngoc Truongson.

Sethuraman faces a tough task against GM Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine. If Sethuraman manages to pull off an upset, he would probably run into Harikrishna.

Sengupta would face Chinese GM Wang Hao, while national champion Murali would play Spanish GM Francesco Vallejo Pons.