Vidit, Abhimanyu pull out of AICF qualifier for World Cup

The pullout of Vidit and fellow Grandmaster Abhimanyu Puranik reduced the field to 17 players. The winner of the event will grab India’s lone qualifying spot for the World Cup, scheduled from July 10 to August 6, at Sochi (Russia).

Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi withdrew from the AICF online selection tournament for the World Cup on Monday.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

Hoping to qualify for next month’s chess World Cup by virtue of his high world ranking, Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi withdrew from the AICF online selection tournament for the World Cup on Monday.

The pullout of Vidit and fellow Grandmaster Abhimanyu Puranik reduced the field to 17 players. The winner of the event will grab India’s lone qualifying spot for the World Cup, scheduled from July 10 to August 6, at Sochi (Russia).

“Given my rating, I should make the list of those directly seeded for the World Cup,” said Vidit when contacted on Monday.

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“I have been playing the World Cup for the past three editions. After qualifying from the Asian championship, I have made it twice in succession on my rating. So I have reasons to be confident of making it one more time,” said a confident Vidit.

Elaborating the reason for his withdrawal from the Indian qualifying tournament, Vidit said, “After deliberations with those who know more about the qualification process, I thought it would be unfair to play the qualifying event and spoil someone’s chances of getting the available World Cup quota.”

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Vidit is ranked 23rd in the world, behind compatriots Anand (16th) and P. Harikrishna (21st).

The list of 206 World Cup participants will be finalised in the first week of June. The top-50 players will join 78 first-round winners in the knockout tournament.

With the withdrawal of two players, the round-robin tournament will now see 17 rounds, with one player getting a bye in each round. On the opening day, there will be three rounds, followed by four rounds each on the next two days. The last two days will see three rounds each.

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