• | 1:32 pm

All eyes on FIDE Candidates tournament as India catches chess fever

Five players from India—Pragg, Vidit, Vaishali, Gukesh, and Humpy—are in fray at the chess tournament that begins this week in Toronto

All eyes on FIDE Candidates tournament as India catches chess fever
[Source photo: Instagram/Twitter]

Five players from India are in fray at the FIDE Candidates 2024 chess tournament beginning 3 April in Toronto, Canada.

2023 Word Cup runner-up R. Praggnanandhaa, last year’s Grand Swiss tournament winner Vidit Gujrathi, and D. Gukesh, who qualified as the 2023 FIDE Circuit winner, have claimed three out of the eight places in the men’s Candidates tournament.

Last year’s women’s Grand Swiss tournament winner R. Vaishali, who is also Praggnanandhaa’s sister, and Koneru Humpy, who qualified as the best by rating on 1 January, will vie for the women’s crown.

The other candidates for the men’s Candidates include previous World Championship match runner-up Ian Nepomniachtchi, third place finisher at the previous World Cup Fabiano Caruana, fourth-place finisher at the previous World Cup Nijat Abasov, 2023 Grand Swiss runner-up Hikaru Nakamura, and Alireza Firouzja, who qualified as the best by rating on 1 January.

For the women’s tournament, qualified candidates include previous World Championship match runner-up Lei Tingjie; 2022−23 Women’s Grand Prix winner Kateryna Lagno and runner-up Aleksandra Goryachkina; 2023 Women’s World Cup runner-up Nurgyul Salimova and third-place finisher Anna Muzychuk; and 2023 Women’s Grand Swiss runner-up Tan Zhongyi.

The winner of the Candidates’ tournament will go on to challenge reigning world champion, China’s Ding Liren, and the women’s title winner will challenge China’s Ju Wenjun.

Earlier this month, FIDE had expressed concerns over delayed visa arrivals for several players and their teams. In a post on X, the organization had appealed for a resolution from the Canadian government.

“Regrettably, players from various countries worldwide, who submitted their visa applications few months ago, have not yet received any updates on their status. With only a month remaining till the FIDE Candidates Tournament, there are grave concerns about the timely arrival of the players to Toronto,” the organization shared on X.


After a public outcry, the organization announced a week later that all visas had been issued after their initial appeal.

“Big thanks to the Canadian government, Minister of Immigration, MPs, Canadian Chess Federation, media, and the global chess community for their incredible support. Let a new chapter in chess history be written in Toronto!” FIDE shared on X.

Up for grabs, in addition to the coveted title, are a share of the prize funds of €500,000 in the open category and €250,000 in the women’s Candidates.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will be providing commentary during the tournament.

“The biggest event of the year! I’m thrilled to be providing commentary for the Candidates Tournament,” Anand had posted on X, the social networking site formerly known as Twitter.

“It’s a massive moment for Indian chess, with 5 of our players battling it out with the world’s elite to determine who will challenge for the World Championship crown,” he added.

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