Chess enthusiasts in Nagpur are in for a visual treat with four top tournaments scheduled at Naivedhyam North Star, from 1st June to 9th June. The first state festival for below Elo 2000, another tourney for Under 1600 Elo, the second edition of the Maharashtra Grandmaster International Chess tournament and an innovative and unique Challenge Match featuring four players, local teen talent GM Raunak Sadhwani versus former World Championship Challenger GM Nigel Short and GM Vidit Gujrathi versus GM Peter Svidler of Russia will all be played under one roof.
The GM International tournament featuring 16 Grandmasters offers plenty of scope for players to make their Grandmaster and International Master norms and titles while the Challenge Matches featuring some of the bests in the business will give a peek into what chess is like at the elite level. Both overseas GMs, Short and Svidler have played the Candidates which is a part of the World Championship cycle while Short had also contested for the World title against Garry Kasparov.
Parinay Fuke, MCA President and an MLA said “We are committed to strengthening the chess culture and popularizing it in Maharashtra and after organizing two top tournaments in Mumbai and Pune, Nagpur was the next choice for an international event”
GM Abhijit Kunte, the Maharashtra Chess Association (MCA) Vice President said ‘We are expecting more than 85 titled players from more than 15 countries and this is a much needed platform for rising talents, especially for those whom it is not economically viable to participate in over- seas tournaments. The invitation Match should provide a good Match (one to one) experience for a highly talented Raunak while Vidit Gujrathi too gets to lock horns with Svidler”
The Grandmaster International Tournament will comprise of 11 rounds played in the Swiss league format and players from than 15 countries will be in action. The rating category events are aimed for promising players who have just begun their chess journey and aiming for strengthening their game and rating.
18-year-old Raunak Sadhwani has been a child prodigy, earning the GM Title at 13-years and is currently ranked 11th in India with a rating of 2627. At the Chess Olympiad held in Chennai, India in 2022, Raunak was part of India B Team which bagged a bronze medal. This is a classic tournament of Age versus experience as Short is more than thrice the age of Raunak. Interestingly Short himself was also a child prodigy. The Match would comprise of four Classical games, four Rapid games and 8 Blitz games. An excited Raunak quipped ‘I want to give my 100 percent on the board and play my best chess without thinking about any result
28-year-old Vidit Gujrathi on the other hand has been in the elite 2700 rating list and is currently ranked third in India with an Elo 2731 rating. Svidler has been an 8- time Russian Champion, a World Cup winner, played in Candidates, won a few Grand Slam events and in 1997 had tied for top place with former World Champions Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik. After almost giving up competitive chess, Svidler played brilliantly this month to win the TePe Sigeman tournament. Vidit too made his winning intentions clear saying “I am determined to give my best and ensure that I try to convert all my advantageous positions into victory.“