AICF to conduct selection meet for Chess WC, Vidit Gujrathi’s chances unclear

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Express News Service

CHENNAI: The All India Chess Federation (AICF) is set to hold an online selection tournament for the upcoming World Cup among the players who were scheduled to take part in the Asian Championship (hybrid chess).

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India has been given one seat from the Asian Championship for the World Cup, set to be held in Russia from July 10 to August 6, but no Indian is taking part in the continental meet due to the lockdowns now in force across several parts of the country. While the Asian Championship, which kicks off on Friday and ends on May 30, is an online event, it requires players to visit designated centres and play in the presence of arbiters.    

Now, the chess federation will conduct an online tournament of its own by the end of this month to finalise the names.

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“We need to give the list of participants from India for the World Cup by June 9 to the International Chess Federation (FIDE). We will try to have the selection tournament by the end of this month. The winner will make it to the World Cup with approval from FIDE,” AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan told The New Indian Express on Thursday.

Aside from the Asian qualification spot, Chauhan informed that there is one seat for the national federation, which will go to the national champion, and one zonal seat that will be decided by rating.

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The senior national championships has not been held since December 2019 due to the pandemic. By virtue of winning the nationals in 2019, Aravindh Chithambaram will get direct qualification for the World Cup.

India No 3 Vidit Gujrathi, who has a FIDE rating of 2726 and is ranked 23rd in the world, says that there is no clarity yet on whether he will make the cut for the World Cup.

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“The top 13 in the world get direct qualification for the World Cup. With a few pull-outs being the norm, I would make the cut with my rating in normal circumstances, but the qualification process is very complicated this time around. Things are unclear,” Vidit said.

Vidit, who hasn’t taken part in an over-the-board event since playing in Prague in February 2020, is desperately hoping that he will be able to qualify and make it to Russia for the World Cup. 

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“I haven’t missed the last 3 WCs. It would be a pity if I miss out due to the Covid situation. Personally, I would like to play the WC because that is the way to make the cut for the Candidates,” he informed.
 

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