Albena (Bulgaria): Seeded seventh, Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta will spearhead the Indian challenge at the Grand Europe Albena Chess tournament that gets underway here.
With as many as 28 Grandmasters registered for the 30,000 Euros prize money tournament, it will be a tough challenge for Abhijeet who starts as the seventh seed in the event.
M Shyam Sundar is the other Indian Grandmaster in fray along with three GMs-in-waiting, V Vishnu Prasanna, Swapnil Dhopade and Ashwin Jayaram.
The 170-player tournament will have nine rounds in all and the games will be played with 90 minutes for both players for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes each to finish the game.
As is standard practice, an increment of 30 seconds in the clock will be added after each move is made.
The major black sea resort in northeastern Bulgaria will have Constantine Luplescu of Romania as the top seed and he is likely to face a tough challenge from the Armenian trio of Tigran Petrosian, Avetik Grigoryan and Hrant Melkumyan.
It may be recalled that en route to a title victory at the Kavala International tournament in Greece, Abhijeet had beaten Petrosian in a one sided affair.
However, the past few months have not gone Abhijeet`s way as a reversal of form has cost him a place in the top 100 of the world rankings.
At the same time, the former world junior champion was seen making recoveries in the last Dubai Open and in a tournament in Azerbaijan which helped him back in the 2600 rating club in the latest FIDE rating list.
GM norm holder Anurag Mahamal will be hoping for his second norm from here while young International Master Shardul Gagare is another fast improving player who can give anyone a run for money on his good day.
Sagar Shah, N Raghavi and Swati Mohota complete the Indian line up.
The big event will be followed by the second instalment in Grand Europe series in which the Indian senior team will also join in. The second event is slated at the Golden Sands resorts with a bigger purse of 50,300 Euros as prizes.