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Anand's last chance to make it to the Candidates 2020

by Satanick Mukhuty - 08/10/2019

The highly anticipated FIDE World Cup 2019 came to an abrupt and heartbreaking end for the Indians recently. Despite a promising start, the players representing the country - ten of them in total - were all eliminated one by one after just three rounds of the tournament. The tragedy befell barely a few weeks ago and now there already is another exciting event around the corner where the best of Indian chess will once again have the opportunity to prove their mettle. The FIDE Grand Swiss is set to begin only day after tomorrow and will continue till the 21st of this month. Like the World Cup this also is a qualification event of the 2019-2020 World Championship Cycle and it only gets better as this time there are fifteen Indians ready to take once again on the World's absolute elites. In this preview article we bring all the information that you need to know before the grand chess gala kicks off.

15 Indians to fight it out in the FIDE Grand Swiss 2019

The inaugural FIDE Grand Swiss will be played from the 10th to 21st of October through eleven rounds in the Isle of Man. Boasting of giants like Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Vishy Anand as top seeds, this newest addition to the 2019-2020 World Championship cycle is by far the strongest Swiss tournament in history. The winner will not only get a direct entry into the next year's Candidates tournament but will also take home a whopping cash prize of 70,000 US Dollars! The total prize fund of no less than $433,000 (more than Rs.3 crores) has attracted an exceptional field comprising 160 players from around the world! 

How have the players qualified?

Formerly known as the Isle of Man International, the tournament now being a part of the 2019-2020 World Championship cycle, FIDE has invited a total of 120 players based on the criteria delineated above | source: official FIDE circular

In a phenomenal field of 160 strong players, eleven Indians have qualified | Photo credit: Amruta Mokal

Qualification by rating (7)

Six Indian players who have qualified on the basis of their last year's rating average are Vishy Anand, Harikrishna Pentala, Vidit Gujrathi, Adhiban Baskaran, Krishnan Sasikiran, and Sethuraman S.P. In addition to these six players Surya Sekhar Ganguly was one of the reserves but since a few players aren't taking part in the event he too qualified on the basis of rating.

World U20 Championship (1)

Abhimanyu Puranik has qualified on the basis of his strong performance last year at the World Juniors. He clinched the silver medal there scoring of 8.5/11 points with a performance rating of 2683.

Abhimanyu Puranik with his trophy and silver medal at the World Junior Championship 2018 | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Asian Continental 2019 (1)

S.L.Narayanan qualifies by this year's Asian Continental. The 2611-rated had secured fourth place in that event.

S.L.Narayanan will definitely be looking to make a mark among the elites in this event | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Promoted from Wildcard (2)

Harika Dronavalli and Nihal Sarin are the promoted wildcard FIDE qualifiers among the Indians.

Harika and Nihal are two of country's biggest hopes. Nihal sparked off a great start at the World Cup 2019 before making a disappointing exit. It remains to be seen how he fairs in the upcoming FIDE Grand Swiss | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Organizer's Wildcards (4)

In addition to 120 FIDE Qualifiers, there are 40 players who have been chosen by the organizers to compete in the event. The Indians among them are Soumya Swaminathan, Gukesh D, Prithu Gupta, and Raunak Sadhwani.

These are the Indian youngsters who have been chosen by the organizers for their extraordinary achievements in recent times | Photo: Amruta Mokal 

Schedule and format

As already mentioned, this is an eleven-round swiss event. The time control for each game is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move starting from move one. The opening ceremony of the event is scheduled to be held tomorrow, that is October 9th. The starting time for each round from rounds 1 to 10 is 3:00 p.m.local time (7.30 p.m. IST), while the final round is scheduled to start from 1:30 p.m (6 p.m. IST) on the 21st of October.

Full schedule of the event | Source: Official website

Top seeds

It is none other than the World Champion Magnus Carlsen who is the top seed of the event. He is followed by current World no.2 Fabiano Caruana, world no.8 Wesley So, and five time World Champion Vishy Anand. Sergey Karjakin, Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk are some of the other elites who feature in the top ten. Evidently, this is going to be the most thrilling of all qualification events in the 2019-2020 World Chess Championship cycle.

The top ten seeded players of the event | Source: Official website

We at ChessBase India will strive to bring the best coverage of the event with special emphasize on the games of the Indian players. Stay tuned and follow the live action on our website and social media platforms!

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