Vidit to return, Praggnanandhaa to debut in Champions Tour

Vidit Gujrathi and R. Praggnanandhaa will be part of a field headed by World champion Magnus Carlsen at the New in Chess Classic online event that begins on April 24.

Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi returns to the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Tour as one among the nine wild cards in the 16-player field. (File Image)   -  Rajeev Bhatt

In a first, two young Indians - Vidit Gujrathi and R. Praggnanandhaa - will be part of a field headed by World champion Magnus Carlsen when the $100,000 New in Chess Classic online event begins on April 24.

Vidit returns to the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Tour as one among the nine wild cards in the 16-player field while Praggnanandhaa gains the playing rights as the winner of the Polgar Challenge rapid event recently.

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Praggnanandhaa, 15, last faced an elite field in November 2018 when he was included in the blitz section of the Tata Steel event in Kolkata.

With the FIDE Candidates Tournament - played to find the next challenger to World champion Carlsen - resuming with the eighth round action on April 19 in Yekaterinburg (Russia), qualified Tour regulars like Anish Giri (the Netherlands), Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) are not available for this event.

As a result of the large number of wild cards, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan), Leinier Dominuez (USA), Sergey Karjakin (Rus), Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Poland), Vidit, Liem Quang Le (Vietnam) Gawain Jones (England), Aryan Tari and Johan-Sebastian Christiansen (both Norway) have made it.

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Iranian Alireza Fiouzja, 17, playing under the FIDE flag, was voted to be part of the field by the premier members of the official broadcast partner, chess24.com after Daniil Dubov opted out to honour his commitment to do commentary during the Candidates Tournament.

Carlsen (Norway), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Wesley So (USA), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan) and Hikaru Nakamura (USA) qualified as the top-eight players as per the Tour standings after four events.

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