On November 5, India celebrated a historic moment as both Vidit Gujrathi and R. Vaishali emerged victorious at the Grand Swiss tournament held at the Isle of Man, securing coveted spots in the Candidates tournament, set to take place in Toronto early next year.
The Grand Swiss Tournament: A Gathering of Chess Titans
- The Grand Swiss tournament is a prestigious chess event that garners worldwide attention due to the coveted qualifying spots it offers. With two slots available from each tournament (open and women’s), the Grand Swiss attracted the best chess talents from around the globe. Vidit Gujrathi and R. Vaishali, although not among the highest seeds, demonstrated their exceptional skills and determination to overcome the odds.
Vidit Gujrathi: Seizing the Open Championship
- Vidit Gujrathi, a brilliant Indian chess player, was seeded 15th in the open tournament. This placed him behind formidable competitors like Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Alireza Firouzja, and fellow Indians D. Gukesh and R. Praggnanandhaa. However, Gujrathi’s resilience and strategic brilliance shone through.
- In a thrilling final round game, Gujrathi faced Alexandr Predke and emerged triumphant, while his rivals had mixed results. Hikaru Nakamura was held to a draw by the talented Arjun Eriagaisi, and Andrey Esipenko was defeated by Anish Giri. In the end, Vidit Gujrathi secured the championship with 8.5 points, marking a significant milestone in his career.
R. Vaishali: Conquering the Women’s Title
- In the women’s section of the Grand Swiss tournament, R. Vaishali‘s journey to victory was equally impressive. Seeded 12th in the competition, Vaishali had an Elo rating 110 points below the top seed, Aleksandra Goryachkina. Nevertheless, Vaishali’s determination and skills propelled her to the forefront of the tournament.
- In the final round, Vaishali needed only a draw against Batkhuyag Mongontuul, a feat she accomplished with ease. This 22-year-old from Chennai finished with 8.5 points, securing a clear first-place victory, half a point ahead of her closest competitor, Anna Muzychuk.
Paving the Way to World Chess Championship Battles
- The winners of the open Candidates tournament will have the chance to challenge Ding Liren for the World Chess Championship title, while the women’s champion will face the reigning champion, Ju Wenjun.
- As the chess world eagerly anticipates these future battles, the Grand Swiss tournament has etched a proud chapter in India’s chess history, showcasing the nation’s chess prowess on a global scale.