Home INDIA FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament: R Praggnanandhaa Enters As India’s Best Bet | Chess News

FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament: R Praggnanandhaa Enters As India’s Best Bet | Chess News

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FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament: R Praggnanandhaa Enters As India's Best Bet | Chess News

Teen sensation R Praggnanandhaa will enter as the favorite among the three Indian participants in the Candidates chess tournament starting from Wednesday to determine the challenger for the next World Cup match. After almost 35 years, as many as three Indians – Praggnanandhaa, D Gukesh and Vidit Gujrathi – have qualified for the most prestigious event of the year with just eight participants. According to an expert, India is the new Russia of the chess world as such dominance was shown only by Russian players in the past.

Praggnanandhaa, 18, starts as the rating favorite among Indians and also as the favorite among chess enthusiasts, even though the world’s top players believe that all three Indian youngsters still need time to join the world elite.

Praggnandhaa is fearless and psychologically sound and is likely to get help from eight-time Russian champion Peter Svidler for the event. One cannot help but think that during one of the world championships, Indian grandmaster P. Harikrishna had assisted Svidler in his quest to become world champion.

While Svidler could be a game-changer, it will largely depend on Praggnandhaa’s form and how he adapts in this tough event, which will see the eight players play each other twice.

At just 17 years old, Gukesh is hailed as one of the best talents out there. The Indian is also the youngest participant in the fight and the second youngest ever after Robert James Fischer – aka Bobby Fischer – who qualified for the elite event. Fischer was 16 years old when he qualified in 1959.

That Fischer’s record stood for a whopping 65 years proves what it takes to be one of the contenders and if Gukesh wins that record, he will be the youngest ever to challenge for the World Championship title.

Vidit Gujrathi will take charge and a lot will depend on his form. During his last appearance, where he probably had his sights set on the candidates, the player from Nasik did not do well with the Prague masters and also dropped significantly in the rankings.

Praggnanandhaa was the first to qualify for the tournament thanks to his silver medal at the last World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Indian star fell to Magnus Carlsen in the final but has picked up a lot since then and has come across as fierce.

Gujrathi made it thanks to a remarkable performance at the Grand Swiss tournament in Isle of Man, UK, last year. The Indian had shown top form in the final stages of the tournament.

For Gukesh, it was tense but the teenager showed nerves of steel to secure a place in the judging process by winning a GM tournament in Chennai last December.

However, the field is diverse with a great mix of youth and experience.

American Fabiano Caruana starts as the top seed ahead of his compatriot Hikaru Nakamura. 20-year-old Alireza Firouza of France is in third place, while two-time challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia is the fourth seed.

Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh and Gujrathi trail these four in terms of FIDE ratings, while Azerbaijan’s Nijat Abasov is the last seed in the event.

The first round will start at midnight IST on Thursday. There are four rest days in total. The winner will not only get to play the World Cup match but will also be richer by 48,000 euros (approximately Rs. 45 lakh).

Road to the Candidates: Ian Nepomniachtchi (2758) – qualified as runner-up from the previous World Cup competition.

R Praggnanandhaa (2747) – qualified second at the 2023 World Cup.

Fabiano Caruana (USA, 2804) – qualified third place at the 2023 World Cup.

Nijat Abasov (AZE, 2632) – qualified in fourth place at the 2023 World Cup after the winner, Magnus Carlsen, rejected his right to participate.

Vidit Gujrathi (2747) – qualified as the 2023 Grand Swiss winner.

Hikaru Nakamura (USA, 2789) – qualified runner-up from the Grand Swiss 2023.

Alireza Firouzja (FRA, 2760) – qualified as best based on assessment on January 1, 2024.

D Gukesh (2747) – qualified as the 2023 FIDE Circuit winner.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WhatsNew2Day staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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