Indians set to monopolise Commonwealth chess meet

Though country’s best men and women have stayed away from this competition, but that has, in no way, slowed the Indian juggernaut.

The list of 13 Grandmasters – all Indians – is headed by the 2014 champion Deep Sengupta, ranked 15th in the country. (File Photo)   -  Sushanta Patronobish

Over the years, the Commonwealth chess championship has increasingly resembled a miniature version of Indian National championship. Whether it is the Open section – involving men and women – or the age-group categories, the Indians have hardly missed a medal.

Though country’s best men and women have stayed away from this competition, but that has, in no way, slowed the Indian juggernaut. The continued absence of the elite players from England and Canada means India will once again, virtually, monopolise the medals when the action begins, here, on Tuesday.

The list of 13 Grandmasters – all Indians – is headed by the 2014 champion Deep Sengupta, ranked 15th in the country. That is the true reflection on the lack of worthiness of the Commonwealth title for the Indian elite. The field also has 15 International Masters and two Woman Grandmasters. For the record, there are 134 Indians in a field of 166. Others have come from 11 countries. Among those missing from the field is the four-time winner and defending champion Abhijeet Gupta.

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On the brighter side, the organisation of this event has improved dramatically since 2016. This year, the competition returns to the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, here. Unlike last year, the main action will be at the spacious ground floor hall. In the seven age-groups, where the competition will be held separately for girls, as well, Indian talent is set to come to the fore.

The top-10 seeds: 1. Deep Sengupta (2526), 2. Vaibhav Suri (2556), 3. Deepan Chakkravarthy (2531), 4. M. R. Lalit Babu (2529), 5. V.Vishnu Prasanna (2525), 6. Debashis Das (2522), 7. Swapnil Dhopade (2495), 8. M. S. Thej Kumar (2495), 9. Abhijit Kunte (2494), 10. V. Karthik (2475).