P Harikrishna look to get off to good start at World Chess Cup opener
Grandmaster P Harikrishna will look to put his best foot forward when he meets Max Illingworth of Australia in the first round of the World Chess Cup, here.
Baku, Azerbaijan: Grandmaster P Harikrishna will look to put his best foot forward when he meets Max Illingworth of Australia in the first round of the World Chess Cup, here.
After a series of successes, the Indian is sitting on number 21 in world rankings.
Apart from Harikrishna, B Adhiban is the other Indian who would like to make a mark with his steady growth in the past few months.
At No. 67 in world rankings, Adhiban has crossed many Indian players and is now number three in the country behind five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand and Harikrishna.
Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia is Adhiban's opponent in the opening round.
Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly, Vidit Gujarathi, S P Sethuraman and M R Lalith Babu complete the Indian line-up in the 128-players knockout event, which has USD 1.6 million as prize fund.
The first round losers will get USD 6000, while the winner of this marathon will be richer by USD 120000. Twenty per cent of this prize fund goes to FIDE, the apex chess body.
The players list consists of almost all big names of chess with only Anand and Magnus Carlsen not part of it.
In their absence, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria starts as the top seed but in live rankings, Hikaru Nakamura of United States is the highest rated player here.
USA's latest import, Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri of Holland, Liren Ding of China, Vladmir Kramnik of Russia, Wesley So of United States and Levon Aronian of Armenia are the other big stars in the fray.
The championship is a part of the next world championship cycle as top two finishers here will find a place in the next Candidates' tournament to decide the challenger for Carlsen in the next world championship match.
Anand has already qualified for the said event being the challenger in last match.
Each match will have two games and in case of a tied result, games of shorter duration will be played to decide the winner.
M R Lalith Babu faces the toughest challenge in the first round amongst Indians as he is slated to play world number 18, Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland. Wojtaszek is a member of Anand's team for many years now.
Vidit Gujrathi will meet Bruzon Lazaro of Cuba and this could be an exciting contest for the Indian who has been consistently scaling the ELO charts. If he wins, Gujrathi will mostly get the biggest challenge of his career in Kramnik in the next round.
S P Sethuraman is up against Sanan Sjugirov of Russia, while Ganguly has to tackle the talented Vladislav Artemiev, also from Russia.