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Friday, April 12 2024
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Good Chances of India-China Clash in World Chess Title

Good Chances of India-China Clash in World Chess Title
Photo Credit : IANS

Chennai: Will the World Chess Championship be an all-Asian fight – a fight between the players of two of the most populous countries in the world?

It could happen and cannot be ruled out though none of the three Indian players in the open section are favourites, said experts.

Both the open and women’s world titles are now held by Chinese players viz Grandmaster (GM) Ding Liren (Elo rating 2,780-World Rank 4th) and (GM) Ju Wenjun (2,549, World Rank 5th).

Five Indian chess players will fight it out in the Candidates 2024 tournament to be held in Toronto in Canada.

The winner of the tournament will be the challenger for the World Chess Title – Open and Women sections.

There are three Indian men in the open section and two women in the women’s section in contention.

The three Indians in the open category are: GM R.Praggnanandhaa (2,743 -13th), GM D.Gukesh (2,725-25th) and GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (2,742 – 14th).

In the women’s section the two Indian hopefuls are: the experienced and World number two GM Koneru Humpy (2,554) and the young Woman GM (WGM) R.Vaishali, ranked 14th with a rating of 2,481 points.

“India is represented by three players (in the open section). All of them are worthy contenders, however none of them is among the favorites. Combined probability of one of the three to win it is clearly less than 50 per cent, but I’d rate it above 25 per cent,” GM Emil Sutovsky, CEO, FIDE or International Chess Federation, told IANS.

“So, yes, it could happen that the Title Match at the end of 2024 will be contested between Chinese and Indian players – and it would be exciting. But, say, the match between Chinese and American will be no less exciting,” Sutovsky added.

Never in the past, India had a substantial representation at the chess Candidates tournament.

“India has a healthy representation in the 2024 candidates in both sections. Especially a strong representation from the youngsters. I see this as a good beginning which will hopefully culminate in an Indian fighting for the World title in the near future. Best wishes to all the players for a wonderful competitive event,” GM R.B.Ramesh a noted coach who has been selected for the Dronacharya Award told IANS.

Interestingly this will also be the first time, siblings – Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali- will be participating in the Candidates tournament from India.

Apart from the three Indians, the five players in the open category are: GM Ian Nepomniachtchi (2,769, World Rank 5th), GM Fabiano Caruana (2,804, ranked 2nd), GM Hikaru Nakamura (2,788, ranked 3rd), GM Alireza Firouzja (2,759, 6th) and GM Nijat Abasov (2,641, rank 102nd), the replacement player if Magnus Carlsen decides to withdraw from the event.

Barring Abasov, the other four players are ranked above the Indians.

With the former World Champion and the World’s highest-ranked player Carlsen (2,830) likely to withdraw from the race, the contention is open as the young Indian players who have been punching above their weight can outsmart any strong player.

It may be recalled that Gukesh had notched up a score of 7/7 at the Chess Olympiad held in Chennai.

In the women’s section apart from Humpy and Vaishali, the other contenders are: GM Lei Tingjie (2,550, rank 4th), GM Kateryna Lagno (2,542, rank 6th), GM Aleksandra Goryachkina (2,553, ranked 3rd), GM Anna Muzychuk (2,525, rank 7th), GM Tan Zhongyi (2,521, rank 8th) and WGM Nurgyul Salimova (2,426, rank 38th).

While India’s Humpy is the highest rated amongst all the contenders, Vaishali, ranked 14th in the world is ahead of only Salimova. Here China has two contenders – Tingjie and Zhongyi.

So, interesting times are ahead for Indian chess.

Read more:

18-yr-old Praggnanandhaa, reaches chess world cup final

Chess World Cup: Carlsen draws first blood against Praggnandhaa

Global Chess League: Anand and Carlsen clash marks Day 2

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