Goldmoney Asian Rapid online chess: Vidit Gujrathi leads Indian brigade

Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, B. Adhiban, D. Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi will be trying to break the 'hoodoo' and enter the quarterfinals of this elite competition.

Vidit Gujrathi

Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi will lead the Indian brigade in the tournament.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

With one-fourth of the 16-player field comprising Indians, the Goldmoney Asian Rapid online chess tournament promises to provide unprecedented interest amongst the country's chess lovers when action commences on Saturday.

Grandmasters Vidit Gujrathi, B. Adhiban, D. Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi will be trying to break the 'hoodoo' and enter the quarterfinals of this elite competition.

Meanwhile, World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen will be eyeing a third straight title in the $1.5 million Champions Chess Tour. The maiden presence of four-time women’s World champion HouYifan, currently the top-ranked female player, has added to the interest.

B. Adhiban

B. Adhiban   -  The Hindu

 

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Besides the games involving Indians, there is a lot at stake for eighth seed Vidit who is tipped to qualify for the knockout for the first time. Adhiban with his fearless play has the potential of causing a few upsets, provided he refrains from playing to the gallery.

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Vidit faces Anish Giri (Nederlands), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland), Daniil Dubov, Vladilslav Artemiev (both Russia) and Adhiban on the first day. Interestingly, Adhiban plays the other three Indians on the opening day after taking on Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Ding Liren (China).

Gukesh, the youngest in the field, plays Arjun and Vidit in the first two rounds on Saturday, when Arjun is due to face Vidit in the eighth round.

For Gukesh and Arjun, the goal will be to reach or go beyond the bar set by debutant R. Praggnanandhaa in April. In the New in Chess Classic, the Chennai-youngster scored seven points and was part of four-way tie, including Vidit, for the 10th place.

What caught the attention of the chess elite was Praggnanandhaa’s four victories, including those against Sergey Karjakin and Duda besides his impressive draws against the top three finishers - Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura and Shakhriyar Memedyarov - in the league.

The preliminary stage involves a three-day round-robin league after which the top-eight players advance to the knockout stage. The rapid time-control is 15 minutes for each player plus a 10-second increment for every move made.

The players: Magnus Carlsen (Nor), Ding Liren (Chn), Levon Aronian (Arm), Anish Giri (Ned), Wesley So (USA), Alireza Firouzja (FIDE), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol), Vidit Gujrathi, Daniil Dubov (Rus), Peter Svidler (Rus), Vladislav Artemiev (Rus), Salem Saleh (UAE), B. Adhiban, Hou Yifan (Chn), D. Gukesh, and Arjun Erigaisi.

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