Young Indian Grandmasters D Gukesh and R Praggnananda will challenge in the Chess World Cup to be held here from July 30 to August 24. This competition for male and female players will give a chance to qualify for the 2024 Candidates Tournament (the tournament to decide the challenger of the World Chess Championship). Seventeen-year-olds Gukesh and Praggnananda both got byes in the first round and will go straight into the second round. Gukesh will open his campaign against the winner of the match between Cheng Bobby and Iskandrov Mistradin. Gukesh is likely to face compatriot SL Narayanan in the third round if he can win his opening two rounds.
Praggnanandhaa will take on the winner of the match between Santiago de Mora and Maxime Lagarde in the second round. Other Indians participating in the tournament include Arjun Erigey, Vidit Santosh Gujarati, Nihal Sarin, B Adhiban, Abhimanyu Puranik and Harsha Bharatkoti. Leading the Indian challenge in the women’s tournament will be the experienced Koneru Humpy and D Harika. Both of them also got a bye in the first round. Praggnananda’s sister R Vaishali, Mary Ann Gomes, PV Nandhidhaa and Divya Deshmukh will also compete in the women’s tournament. Through the World Cup 2023, instead of the top two, the top three players will get a chance to qualify for the Candidates Tournament to be held in Toronto, Canada in April next year.
World number one and top seed Magnus Carlsen will be eyeing a maiden World Cup win. Reigning world champion Ding Liren and world number six Alireza Feroza are not taking part in the tournament. Apart from Carlsen, Ian Nepomaniacchi, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri, Wesley So and Maxime Vachier Lagrave will take part in the event along with host Azerbaijani legends Temur Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and defending champion Jan Kristof Duda of Poland. In the women’s section, all eyes will be on defending world champions Xu Wenjun and Alexandra Goryachkina.