Chess World Cup: Adhiban well placed; Harikrishna, Vidit, Harika get first-round byes

The draw for the Chess World Cup beginning next month is out; P. Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, and D. Harika, among Indians, receive a bye in the first round.

The prospects for the flamboyant Grandmaster B. Adhiban look better than five other Indians who begin their campaign from the first round.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

With the draw out for the chess World Cup beginning next month, the prospects for the flamboyant Grandmaster B. Adhiban look better than five other Indians who begin their campaign from the first round.

As expected, P. Harikrishna and Vidit Gujrathi, seeded 11 and 13, have received a bye in the first round. Similarly, sixth seed D. Harika starts her campaign in the second round of the women’s section.

The knockout format involves 206 men and 103 women. The initial rounds feature two-game mini-matches in classical time-control. Rapid and blitz games get into play as tiebreakers. The first round begins in Sochi, Russia, on July 12.

Adhiban, expected to get past Malawi’s Chiletso Chipanga, will also start as the favourite against the winner of the clash between Bangladesh’s Niaz Murshed and Paraguay’s Neuris Delfado Ramirez. Aravindh Chithambaram plays Filipino rival Michael Concio Jr. A victorious start will place him against young Uzbek talent Nodirbek Abdusattorov or Indonesia’s Mohammad Erwan.

For Nihal Sarin, a first-round triumph against Uganda’s Arthur Ssegwanyi could set up a clash with Russia’s Sanan Sjugirov, a firm favourite against Guam’s Elmer Prudente.

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R. Praggnanandhaa could find the going tough. An expected win over Filipino Paulo Bersamina brings him face to face with the seasoned Armenian campaigner Gabriel Sargissian. World’s second youngest Grandmaster D. Gukesh meets Poland’s Pawel Teclaf while P. Iniyan, another exciting talent, takes on Switzerland’s Sebastian Bogner.

Should Gukesh play to his higher rating, he will be up against 17th seeded Russian Daniil Dubov. A win for Iniyan will see him facing another Russian Evgeny Tomashevsky, seeded 21. In the second round, Vidit plays the winner of the match between Alexander Fier (Bra) and Jergus Pechac (Svk) while Harikrishna faces either Leandro Krysa (Arg) or Yasser Quesada Perez (Cub).

D. Harika awaits the winner of the match involving Jana Schneider (Ger) and Medina Warda Aulja (Ina). For the other three Indian women crossing the second round could be a serious challenge. Following a triumphant start, Padmini Rout, Bhakti Kulkarni and R. Vaishali are due to play 10th seed Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri), 17th seed Natalia Pogonina (Rus), and 18th seed Bela Khotenashvili (Geo), in that order.

First-round pairings (involving Indians) - Men
  • B. Adhiban v Chiletso Chipanga (Mwi) - winner to play either Niaz Murshed (Ban) or Neuris Delfado Ramirez (Par);
  • Aravindh Chithambaram v Michael Concio Jr. (Phi) - winner to play either Nodirbek Abdusattorov (Uzb) or Mohamad Erwan (Ina);
  • Nihal Sarin v Arthur Ssegwanyi (Uga) - winner to play either Sanan Sjugirov (Rus) or Elmer Prudente (Gum);
  • R. Praggnanandhaa v Paulo Bersamina (Phi) - winner to play Gabriel Sargissian (Arm);
  • D. Gukesh v Pawel Teclaf (Pol) - winner to play Daniil Dubov (Rus);
  • P. Iniyan v Sebastian Bogner (Swi) - winner to play Evgeny Tomashevsky (Rus);

First-round pairings (involving Indians) - Women
  • Padmini Rout v Ulviyya Fataliyeva (Aze) - winner to play Sarasadat Khademalsharieh (Iri);
  • Bhakti Kulkarni v Anastasya Paramzina (Rus) - winner to play Natalia Pogonina (Rus);
  • R. Vaishali v Zhou Qiyu (Can) - winner to play Bela Khotenashvili (Geo).

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