Second seed Nihal Sarin heads the four-player Indian brigade, including third seed R. Praggnanadhaa, sixth seed D. Gukesh and eighth seed Leon Mendonca, in the first leg of the $100,000 Julius Baer Challengers Online Chess Tour beginning on Thursday.
In the fray are 20 youngsters - 10 male players (under-18) and 10 female players (under-25). These players are divided into two teams - Team Kramnik and Team Polgar.
Nihal and Gukesh are part of Team Polgar while Praggnanandhaa and Mendonca will turn up for Team Kramnik. It may be recalled that these players have been part of the Microsense chess camps under Kramnik.
Judit and Kramnik will mentor these 20 players during the Tour. The players will get coaching from former World women’s champion Hou Yifan, Anna Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Boris Gelfand, Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Arthur Kogan.
The four-leg Tour begins with the Polgar Challenge with a 19-round all-play-all league, with five rounds scheduled from Thursday to Saturday and four on Sunday. These rapid games allow 10 minutes per player per game with five-second increment for each move. Uzbekistan’s
Nodirbek Abdusattorov is the top seed.
The winner, besides $3,000, gets a berth in the upcoming Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event beginning on April 24.
After four legs, the top-eight finishers will form the field for the $40,000 knockout final. In addition, the team with higher points tally from the Tour, will travel to Dubai where Magnus Carlsen will defend his World title in November.
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