Ten Indian players are fighting to reach the finals in the 128-players knockout— FIDE World Cup 2019. The top two finalists of the World Cup will qualify for the Candidates cycle and the winner of that tournament will get to play the current world champion Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship in November 2020.
The total prize fund is $1.6 million, with $110,000 for the winner and $6,000 for first round losers. The format is six knockout rounds of 2-game classical matches before a 4-game final.
Five-time World Champion Viswanathan Anand gave this event a miss. Indian players include P. Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, Surya Sekhar Ganguly, Adhiban Baskaran, S.P Sethuraman, S.L.Narayanan, Abhijeet Gupta, Aravindh Chithambaram, Nihal Sarin and Karthikeyan Murali.
First-round pairings (involving Indians):
- P. Hari Krishna (2746) vs. Yuri Gonzalez Vidal (Cuba, 2552);
- Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2658) vs. Vladimir Fedoseev (Russia, 2664);
- M.Karthikeyan (2617) vs. Ernesto Inarkiev (Russia, 2693);
- Aravindh Chithambaram (2609) vs. Michael Adams (England, 2694);
- S. L. Narayanan (2611) vs. David Anton Guijarro (Spain, 2674);
- B. Adhiban (2639) vs. Eduardo Iturrizaga Bonelli (Venezuela, 2626);
- Vidit Gujrathi (2718) vs. Alan Pichot (Argentina, 2600);
- Abhijeet Gupta (2609) vs. Anton Korobov (Ukraine, 2679);
- Nihal Sarin (2610) vs. Jorge Cori (Peru, 2676);
- S. P. Sethuraman (2624) vs. Tamir Nabaty (Israel, 2658)
In what turned out to be a mixed day for the Indian Grandmasters, Pentala Harikrishna, Adhiban Baskaran and Nihal Sarin were the only Indians to win their games in the 1st match of round 1.
Nihal, the youngest of the 10 Indian Grandmasters, shocked higher-ranked Jorge Cori of Peru.
India’s no.2 Harikrishna has started his campaign with a win in an equal endgame against Yuri Gonzalez…
… while Adhiban registered a clinical win against Iturrizaga.
It was not a rosy start for three Indians, namely Surya Shekhar Ganguly, SP Sethuraman and S.L Narayanan, as they lost their games to Vladimir Fedoseev of Russia, Tamir Nabaty of Israel and David Anton Guijarro of Spain respectively.
The other four, including India no.3 Vidit Gujrathi, started with draws. Vidit had very little difficulty to hold his opponent Alan Pichot in the first game with black pieces.
Karthikeyan, Aravindh and Abhijeet, have a tough task ahead as they will have to hold their fort tomorrow with the black pieces against Inarkiev, Adams and Korobov respectively.
Game 2 of round 1 will start at 3.30pm IST.