Experience vs exuberance: Candidates vie for big chess prize | Chess News

Apr3,2024


Nagpur: For the first time after the candidates chess The tournament was first played in 1950, with five Indian masters vying to challenge the World Chess Champion.
It has taken a decade for an Indian to qualify for the Candidates since five-time world champion Vishwanathan Anand last played on this stage in 2014. The eight-player event, played in open and women's categories, will begin at The Great Hall. Toronto, Canada, from Wednesday.
The 20-day tournament, which will have 14 rounds in both the open and women's categories, will conclude on April 22. Played in a double-round robin format, the 2024 Candidates Tournament organized by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) will be played simultaneously. Under one roof for the first time.

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After a tough qualification process, the best eight players in the world – in both categories – earned the chance to challenge for the World Championship title. At the end of this year, the Open winner will face world champion Ding Liren of China and the women's winner will face Xu Wenjun, also of China.
Young Indian Grandmasters Rameshbabu Praggnanand (18), Dommaraju Gukesh (17) and 29-year-old Vidit Gujarati will make their debut in the Open category of the tournament, which will see an interesting contest between youth enthusiasm and experience.
Anand, who played Candidates from 1991 to 2014, feels that the experienced players will overpower the young stars. However, he wants the three Indian candidates to “settle down in the tournament first and try to play good games”.

Like Anand, former world champion Magnus Carlsen said Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura of the United States are the clear favorites and will have “excellent chances”.
Carlsen, who has ruled himself out of the World Championship cycle in 2022 citing lack of motivation after winning the title five times, also named Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi and France's Alireza Firouzja as the unexpected players of the tournament.

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Having dominated the 64 category for years, Carlsen described the Candidates event as “almost as psychologically tough as the World Championships”.
Despite the odds stacked against them, teenagers Praggnanand and Gukesh will be eager to make their mark and hope to prove Anand and Carslane wrong. Given their consistent performance ratings of 2781 Elo and 2712 Elo respectively over the last 12 months, both Prag and Gukesh will be players to keep an eye on.
Prag, who plays fearlessly, starts off as a favorite among the Indian players. The teenage sensation, who will be assisted by eight-time Russian champion Peter Svidler for 20 days, is also a favorite of chess lovers.

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“After May 2023, Prague was suddenly performing better everywhere,” Anand was quoted as saying in an interview with Chess.com on Tuesday. I think he feels more confident and has already set his sights quite high. I wouldn't be surprised if he qualifies for the finals.
“Prag has some weak moments, but he is also very stable psychologically, he will perform well,” Karlsson said.
Gukesh, 17, is the third youngest contestant among the Candidates after Bobby Fischer and Carlson. A consistent performer for the last four years, he is known to make accurate calculations on the same board as Carlsen. Gukesh has better win ratio among the three Indian candidates
Games – 48% – with the highest rating of 2758 Elo. He was the first Indian since Anand in 37 years to score 2750 points.
Now, Arjun Erigiassi, who failed to qualify for the Candidates, has an Elo rating of 2756 and is the highest ranked Indian at number 9 in the world. Nashik GM Vidit Gujarati, 29, is the oldest among the first four-Indian participants in the time zone.

Carlsen talked about Vidit's abilities to surprise in the tournament.
Carlson was quoted as saying, “Vidit has improved significantly, especially from a psychological point of view.”
Speaking to TOI, Vidit said, “It is the dream of every chess player to play with the candidates and get a chance for the World Championship. So definitely, this is the biggest tournament of my career. I am definitely going to give my best and ensure that no stone is left unturned.”
Koneru Hampi women to lead the challenge
World 2019 Rapid Champion Koneru Humpy will lead the Indian challenge in the Women Candidates Chess Tournament.

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Russian GM Alexandra Goryachkina is the rated favorite for the crown and former women's world champion Lei Tingjie of China will be the player to watch.
Hampi, 37, is the oldest participant in the women's field in Toronto, while 22-year-old R. Vaishali – Prague's sister – will make her candidate debut.
Humpy qualified due to her consistently high ratings, while Vaishali's never-say-die attitude helped her earn a spot in the biggest tournament of her career. She won the Women's Grand Prix crown last year to qualify for the Candidates, making history for two siblings to qualify for the Candidates.
Having played in three World Championships from 2004 to 2010, Humpy has the experience and will be keen to pose a challenge as this is a title that has eluded India's top chess star.



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