Riding on the success of World Champion Vishwanathan Anand, the Indian Chess is on an all-time high with its players tasting success regularly at the international chess events.
The chess fever is certain to grip the country as the strongest chess event in the country, the AICF-AAI Cup, the six player double round-robin format category-18 tournament will be played at the Airports Authority Club here from December 20-30.
All players, with an average rating of over 2675 ELO rating points, would play each other twice – once with white pieces and once with black. The championship will be formally inaugurated on Wednesday at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium at 6 PM.
The inauguration ceremony of the championship will coincide with the closing ceremony of the ongoing Asian School Chess Championship underway here at the IGI Stadium. Over 400 children from 11 countries are taking part in various championships ranging from Under-5 to Under-17 age-groups for school going participants from across Asia.
It will be a fitting opener for the strongest ever Indian tournament hitting category 18 on FIDE’s rating chart with an average rating of 2684 points. Anand’s second in the last three world championship campaigns that the Indian ace won, Grandmaster Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland, will start as the top seed and a favourite for the crown when the first round starts on Friday in the 12-day event.
The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran and giving him company as compatriots will be reigning Asian champion Parimarjan Negi and former world junior champion Abhijeet Gupta.
Current Ukrainian champion Anton Korobov and former Russian champion Evgeny Alekseev complete the line-up of six participants that will play a double-round robin contest.
The games are likely to be hard-fought in the Rs. 12 Lacs prize money tournament in which Rs. 400000/- is reserved for the winner.