November 24, 2020

Skilling Open: A tough test awaits Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit Gujrathi’s preparedness will be tested to the hilt when he takes on some of the finest names from the game in the three-day league phase of the USD 100,000 Skilling Open online rapid chess tournament beginning late on Sunday night.

Besides facing the superior playing strength of most of his rivals, Vidit will also have to deal with the physical strain of starting the day’s first game at 10.30 pm and then playing four more rounds. That means, Vidit’s last start of the day will be at 2.30 am the following day. How he deals with this punishing schedule remains to be seen.

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Seeded 13th in the 16-player field headed by World champion Magnus Carlsen, Vidit will have to play way above his rating to make the last-eight stage.

The 15-round league phase, on the first three days, comprises a best-of-four rapid-game match. The time-control is 15-minute per player for the whole game. The players get a 10-second increment for every move they make.

Carlsen vs Nepomniachtchi

Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura are among the most accomplished names in this time-format. Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi is currently considered the fastest player in the game. Interestingly, Carlsen takes on Nepomniachtchi in the first round.

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Teenager Alireza Firouzja, the Iranian who left his country to settle down in France, will continue to play under the World Chess Federation (FIDE) flag. He is considered the next big name and a possible challenger to Carlsen’s supremacy in a couple of years.

Seasoned Russian Peter Svidler, commentating for most part during the Magnus Carlsen Tour, is expected to reproduce the magic which helped him reach the semifinals of the only Tour event he was invited to play.

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