Isle of Man International Chess: Viswanathan Anand to face Raunak Sadhwani
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will face fellow Indian Raunak Sadhwani in the first round of the Isle of Man International Chess tournament that gets underway here.
After what can be termed as a small fiasco in the Chess Olympiad where the Indian men's team did not win a medal despite high hopes, Anand is back at what he does best -- enthral his huge fanbase in the elite company.
The teenager Sadhwani is likely to get the experience of his life by playing against one of his idols in the best format of the game -- the classical chess.
The chess.com Isle of Man International is touted as the toughest open of the world even though the top four players on the current rating list are giving it a miss.
The top two -- Magnus Carlsne of Norway and Fabiano Caurana of United States -- are not here as they play the next World Championship contest in less than two weeks when this event finishes.
In spite of the absence of top four, the world's 5-11 top-rated player is here and that makes a very impressive list, boasting of stalwarts like Levon Aronian of Armenia, Anish Giri of Holland, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
Add to that Anand and American duo of Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura and this tournament have the biggest names in the chess world, sans the two highest rated.
The event to be played over nine days in a nine-round competition offers excellent playing conditions as well as prize money. Besides, the top players here get participation fee, an undisclosed nuance in the chess world.
For the records, the first prize is an astonishing 50000 Pounds Sterling -- an amount unheard of in an open tournament in the world. The total prize fund exceeds 120000 Pounds with the best women player getting 7000 Pounds as her take the home first prize.
The Indian interest is not limited to Anand in the finest open event that has just 165 participants. The list is huge and in fact and maximum -- 35 -- participants are from India. This includes a mixed field with Vidit Gujrathi as the second highest rated Indian in the fray and an IM norm seeker like Dushyant Sharma or Pranav Anand trying to make an impression against toughest opposition they have faced.
The presence of two most talented Indians in Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa who are both Grandmasters in their early teens adds some more value to the event while Grandmasters like Vaibhav Suri and Debashish Das would like to make an impression.
The tournament promises ample excitement for the chess buffs across the globe with the presence of 37 countries and among them 73 Grandmasters.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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