A formidable field including 21 Grandmasters headed by the rising sensation and recently-crowned National champion Arjun Erigaisi promises some exciting contests when the 19th Delhi International Open chess tournament opens at the Tivoli Grand Hotel here on Tuesday.

With 33 players rated over 2400, the depth of the competition offers a great opportunity for the norm-seekers from 13 countries. This could well boast of the strongest field in the series of International Opens scheduled this year in various states. Up for grabs for the 292 participants is Rs. 25 lakh, including Rs. 4 lakh to the winner.

The presence of the teen-trio - India No. 4 Arjun, country’s youngest Grandmaster D. Gukesh and fast-improving P. Iniyan - that monopolized the podium in the National Championship earlier this month in Kanpur, underlines the importance given by these players to this annual event.

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The creamy layer comprises 16 Grandmasters, including overseas contenders like second seed Pavel Ponkratov (Russia) and fourth seed Neuris Delgado Ramirez (Paraguay), 11th seed Masoud Mosadeghpour (Iran) and 15th seed Adham Fawzy (Egy).

Showing fine form and consistency, Ponkratov, and Fawzy took the first two spots in the Guwahati International Open that ended on Sunday.

The highest-ranked among the 26 International Masters is the Tamil Nadu-lad V. S. Raahul. The three Women Grandmasters(WGM) in the fray are 16-year-old National champion Divya Deshmukh, who beat the field this month at Bhubaneshwar, Srija Seshadri and V. Varshini.

The 10-round competition, ending on March 29, will witness two double-round days.