Delhi International Open to breach the crore-mark in prize money

The event has attracted a record number of entries, with 29 Grandmasters, 31 International Masters and three woman Grandmasters from 20 countries among others in Category ‘A’.

Local boy and fourth seeded Grandmaster Vaibhav Suri leads the Indian Challenge at the Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament.   -  Rakesh Rao

What was considered improbable only a few years ago has finally turned a reality. Continuing with the trend of sizable increase in the prize-money year after year, the 2019 edition of the Delhi International Open Grandmasters chess tournament offers a total of Rs. 1,01,00,000 spread over three rating-categories.

Apart from golf and the big-ticket televised events held in the country, chess is the only other discipline to breach the mark of Rs 1 crore as prize fund. As a result, the event has attracted a record number of entries, with 29 Grandmasters, 31 International Masters and three woman Grandmasters from 20 countries forming the cream of the 317-player field in Category ‘A’ where Rs 35 lakh is at stake.

The event, beginning at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday, is the third stop of the four-city caravan that has already travelled through Bhopal and Mumbai. Chennai hosts the concluding leg later this month.

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With most of the leading Indian players already committed to play in other elite events in different parts of the world, local boy Vaibhav Suri leads the Indian challenge as the fourth seed, behind favourite, Farrukh Amonatov (Tajikistan), Alexandr Predke (Russia) and Levan Pantsulaia (Georgia). Other leading Indian title-aspirants are former champion Abhijeet Gupta, young talent S. L. Narayanan and two-time former National champion M. Karthikeyan.

Given the depth of the field - 42 players are rated above 2400 - the race to the top prize of Rs 6 lakh is expected to be very tough. Among the women, it will be interesting to watch the progress of recently-crowned Asian champion Padmini Rout through the 10-round grind.

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Category ‘B’ and Category ‘C’, to be played in that order, concurrently with Category ‘A’, have so far attracted 926 and 1270 entries respectively.

    2016    2017   20182019
Total prize-fund (in Rs.)35,00,00051,51,00077,77,7771,01,00,000

Category A total

(Rated players)

12,50,000

18,17,000

27,77,777

35,00,000

First prize

  3,00,000

  4,00,000

  5,00,000

6,00,000

Category B total

(1899 and below)

11,50,000

17,17,000

25,00,000

33,00,000

First prize

  1,50,000

  2,00,000

  2,51,000

3,01,000

Category C total

(1499 and below)

11,00,000

16,17,000

25,00,000

33,00,000

First prize

  1,50,000

  2,00,000

  2,51,000

3,01,000

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