Commonwealth chess: Abhijeet Gupta and Swati Ghate in fray

Swati is the highest ranked woman in the tournament which has attracted 20 Grand Masters in the Open Category and offers a prize money of Rs 12 lakh.

Gupta (in pic) will have the home advantage as he battles several Grandmasters, including Ivan Rozum from Russia, Timur Gareyev from USA and David Alberto from Italy.   -  SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY

Reigning Commonwealth Champions Abhijeet Gupta and Swati Ghate are among the leading players in the fray in the open category of the IIFL Wealth Mumbai International Chess Championship commencing here on December 30.

Swati is the highest ranked woman in the tournament which has attracted 20 Grand Masters in the Open Category and offers a prize money of Rs 12 lakh, said a media release here on Thursday.

Gupta, the 2012 World Junior champion, will have the home advantage as he battles several Grandmasters, including Ivan Rozum from Russia, Timur Gareyev from USA and David Alberto from Italy for the top prize of Rs 12 lakh at the Mount Litera School International, a media release said.

Challenging Gupta would be the country’s 40th Grandmaster Swanil S. Dhopade, ranked 10th amongst the entries, and 12th ranked Grandmaster Shyam Sundar M who had once held the redoubtable Vladimir Kramnik to a draw, and two women Grandmasters — Swati and Kiran Manisha Mohanty.

“This is the first time I will be playing at the IIFLW in Mumbai and really looking forward to it. I gather that it is a strong field and even though I am top seed, there will be stiff challenges from players across continents. I hope to be in good form to be able to do my best,” said Gupta.

Concurrently, the U-13 Championship, with a prize purse of Rs 8 lakh, is to be held.

With an ELO rating of 2362 and an IM norm under his belt, 11-year old, D Gukesh of Tamil Nadu has been given the top seeding in this event. He will be facing stiff challenge from the reigning World Cadet and National Sub-Junior Champion, Divya Deshmukh from Maharashtra and defending champion, V Pranav.

Other participants include winners from the three regional qualifiers of the U-13 Championships that have been conducted across the country in the last two months.

The championship, to be played on a nine-round Swiss League, is being conducted under the auspices of world chess body FIDE, All India Chess Federation (AICF), All Marathi Chess Association (AMCA) and the Mumbai Suburban District Chess Association (MSDCA), the release added.