Vidit heads strong field to decide Indian quota for World Cup

The All India Chess Federation Online Selection Tournament for World Cup will take place from May 26 to 30 following a round-robin format.

Vidit Gujrathi

Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi heads a strong field of 19 players battling for the lone Indian quota for the upcoming World Cup.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi heads a strong field of 19 players battling for the lone Indian quota for the upcoming World Cup.

The All India Chess Federation Online Selection Tournament for World Cup will take place from May 26 to 30 following a round-robin format. The winner qualifies for the World Cup at Sochi, Russia, from July 10.

“Since the prevailing pandemic ruled out Indian participation in the ongoing Asian championship, the FIDE allowed India a quota spot. The AICF had asked for two spots since the Indian players had won four spots last time. We are still hopeful of an additional spot before the list is finalised early next month,” said Bharat Singh Chauhan, the AICF secretary.

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"Viswanathan Anand indicated he would not play in the World Cup but I expect P. Harikrishna to make the field on the basis of world ranking," said Chauhan and confirmed the names K. Humpy, D. Harika, Padmini Rout, Bhakti Kulkarni and R. Vaishali for the Women’s World Cup.

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Considering the Covid situation in the continent, the Asian championship in classical time-format, was planned online with the participants playing under the supervision of FIDE arbiters from designated venues in their country.

“We had booked halls in Chennai and Pune for our players to play the Asian hybrid chess championship 2021 but the COVID restrictions proved a major obstacle in moving the players. At one stage, the AICF even considered sending arbiters to the residence of the participating players. But the expert advice was against such a move. So we decided to seek FIDE for quota spots for India. As a result, we have this online rapid event,” explained Chauhan.

The time-control is 15 minutes per player plus 10-second increment per move. The schedule follows three rounds on the opening day, four rounds on each of the next three days and three rounds on the final day. Each day, the action will commence at 10 am.

The participants: Vidit Gujrathi, B. Adhiban, S. P. Sethuraman, Surya Shekhar Ganguly, S. L. Narayanan, Abhimanyu Puranik, D. Gukesh, Deep Sengupta, P. Iniyan, C. R. G. Krishna, Vishnu Prasanna, P. Rahul Srivatshav, Aditya Mittal, Raja Rithvik, S. Nitin, Vatsal Singhania, Soumya Swaminathan, P. Saravana Krishnan and Vinay Kumar Matta.

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