Harikrishna excited about Sharjah online tournament

Harikrishna is the second seed at the World Stars Sharjah Online International chess tournament which features a strong line-up of players with an average FIDE rating of 2709.

P. Harikrishna will be playing in the World Stars Sharjah Online International chess tournament.   -  FIDE

The World Stars Sharjah Online International chess tournament, which opens on Friday, boasts a strong line-up. Among the six players competing in the double round-robin event is P. Harikrishna, the India No. 2.

He is also the second seed in the Sharjah tournament, behind World No. 11 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland, ranked No. 28 in the world, former FIDE World champion Rustam Kasimdzanov of Uzbekistan, Egyptian Bassem Amin and Salem Saleh of UAE are others in the fray.

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With an average FIDE rating of 2709, it is a pretty strong tournament. “It should be an excellent event and I am really looking forward to it,” Harikrishna told Sportstar over phone from Prague, where he has been living for the last couple of years along with his Serbian wife Nadezda Stojanovic.

“I have been playing online for the last couple of decades and it was on the Internet Chess Club – which is co-hosting the Sharjah tournament – that I began my foray into digital chess,” he said. “You cannot compare that to the feeling of playing a game inside a tournament hall, and I miss that experience.”

It may be a while before he could play a game of chess physically. “But I am told there is a tournament coming up here in Prague next month,” he said. “And I think some other European countries would also have tournaments before long.”

The World No. 26 said the situation had improved considerably in the Czech Republic. “The state of emergency has been lifted and small gatherings – up to 200 people – are now allowed,” he said. “You still have to wear a mask when you go out.”