Grandmaster Vidit S Gujrathi will be the lone Indian in the fray in the Skilling Open online chess tournament, beginning on Sunday.
He will start his campaign against Alireza Firouzja of Iran.
World No.1 Magnus Carlsen heads a star-studded 16-player field for the tournament which is the opening event of the USD 1.5 million Champions Chess Tour.
Gujrathi, the Indian No.3, said he was excited to be part of the tournament and playing with the best players.
“I am excited to be a part of this tournament, playing with the best in the business.
“This is a great initiative by Play Magnus Group in uplifting the sport of chess and I am happy to be representing the Indian chess community at the International level,” he was quoted as saying in a press release.
After opening his campaign against the young Iranian with white pieces, Gujrathi will play more rounds on Sunday.
Five rounds are scheduled on the opening day and the Indian’s other opponents are: Armenia’s Levon Aronian, Poland’s Jan-Krzysztof Duda, China’s Ding Liren and the Netherlands’ Anish Giri.
The other players in the fray are: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Ion Nepomniachtchi (Russia), Sergey Karjakin (Russia), Liem Quang Le (China), David Anton Guijarro (Spain), Wesley So (USA), Peter Svidler (Russia) and Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan).
Fifteen rounds, spread over the first three days, will be played in the 16-player all-play-all league phase. Thereafter, the top eight performers will advance to the knockout phase.
The quarterfinals, semifinals and the final will be over two days each. Each knockout round comprises two 4-game rapid matches. In case of a 1-1 deadlock, two blitz games will follow. If the tie persists, then an Armageddon game will decide the winner.
The winner will receive USD 30,000 and the runner-up USD 15,000.
The Champions Chess Tour is an initiative by the Play Magnus Group wherein the world’s top players will compete over 10 tournaments for a total prize fund of USD 1.5 million. It will be played online and will run till September 2021.
The Nashik-based Gujrathi was the captain of the Indian team which won a historic gold medal at FIDE Online Chess Olympiad and is only the fourth Indian ever to cross 2700 ELO rating in 2017.
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