Dubai (UAE): Defending champion Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta will spearhead the Indian challenge in the 14th edition of Dubai International Chess Open here.
Gupta, who became the first Indian to win the title here last year, has followed up his success with some tremendous results in the last one year that includes winning two major International opens, the Vizag GM and London Classic FIDE Open, and the National championship in 2011.
The Delhi-based player is all geared up for the tournament but was quite pragmatic in his outlook.
"This remains one of the toughest opens in Asia and this time too there is a very competitive field. One can`t really think about winning such tournaments unless it`s the last few rounds," Gupta said.
Indeed it was the last round when he beat fellow compatriot Parimarjan Negi to annex the title and this time too, Negi is in the fray as the second highest-rated Indian in the fray in the USD 50,000 tournament with USD 10,000 reserved for the winner.
The Indian contingent also includes multiple-time national champion and world champion Viswanathan Anand`s second Surya Shekhar Ganguly who should be in the firing line along with his Kolkata city-mate Sandipan Chanda. Of the two, Chanda is off-form for some time as the huge drop in ratings indicate.
With 22 Grandmasters over 2600 ELO rating, this will be among the most exciting tournaments in recent times and all eyes will be on the Indian trio of Gupta, Negi and Ganguly who have it in them to finish on the podium.
Negi especially has been displaying top form which has taken him closer to the 2650 ELO rating mark. The second youngest Grandmaster ever in history was impressive in his last outing in France where he finished joint first alongside higher ranked P Harikrishna.
Former National and Asian champion Tania Sachdev will be among the top woman player here but has been out of form for a while.
Among other Indians in the fray, double GM norm holder Sahaj Grover is a promising talent looking forward to getting his final Grandmaster norm.