Suppose you are a budding talent from Asia and your dream is to attain the absolute top chess honour of becoming the World Chess Champion. How can this dream be converted into reality? Here is the route.
Quite a long process, I agree, but this gives an opportunity to every single player to dream big! You can definitely understand the importance Asian Continental Chess Championships hold. The Asian Continental Chess Championships both for Open and Women category are being held from 16th-26th April in the city of Sharjah, UAE.
The biggest incentive for players apart from becoming the Asian champion and winning good prize money is the qualification to World Cup 2015. The top five players from the Asian Continental Open category and the winner of Asian Continental women will qualify for the World Cup 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The beautiful Gold Souq area of Sharjah at night [Image: TreckEarth]
The Sharjah Cricket Stadium, currently holding a very big event of Indian Premier League (IPL)
But let us focus our attention on chess and the Asian Continental Championship. The Open Section is extremely strong with 64 players and an average rating of 2398. There are 32 GMs and 11 IMs in the field. It is a nine round event, with a single round every day. The first prize is US $6000, and there are in all 32 prizes. So half the players will go back home with some prize money, and the last place also has a decent amount of $600.
This tournament is more like two powerhouses of Asian Chess, India and China, fighting out against each other for the top honours. In the top ten seeds of the tournament there are four Chinese and four Indian players! I have compared one Chinese player with one Indian, just to give you an idea as to how well matched they are!
Bu Xiangzhi (2699) and Krishnan Sasikiran (2680)
Bu Xiangzhi (2699) is the top seed of the event. Though he has not been playing very actively recently he still remains a huge force to reckon. Bu was at one point the youngest GM in the world when he achieved the feat at 13 years 10 months and 13 days.
While Bu’s experience at top level chess has been quite extensive,
the Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran too needs no introduction. Sasikiran is
one of the most talented and hard-working players in Indian chess. He has
not only locked horns with the best but also beaten world class players
like Aronian, Anand, Ponomariov, Adams etc. He has already qualified for
the World Cup 2015 on the basis of becoming National Champion in December
Yu Yangyi (2667) and Parimarjan Negi (2640)
Parimarjan Negi, born in 1992, is considered by many as the brightest talent in India currently. He became a GM at the tender age for 13 years three months and 13 days. He was the champion of this event in 2012, so he knows what is like to be the best in Asia. Recently he got admitted into the world famous Stanford University, which is a huge feat for a chess player in general.
Yu Yangyi born in 1994 was not as quick as Negi to achieve his GM title. However he more than compensated it by his recent achievements. He became the World Junior Champion in 2013, and if we go by the names of the past World Junior champions like Anand, Aronian, Kasparov etc. we realize that this kid has a very bright future ahead of him. Just a month ago he won the very strong Chinese Championships. The World Junior 2013 title has qualified Yu for the World Cup 2015.
Ni Hua (2654) and Surya Shekhar Ganguly (2631)
Touted as huge talents, both these players were expected to break into the 2700 mark with ease. While Ni Hua who was at one point at a high with a rating of 2724, he has now lost almost 70 rating points. Ganguly on the other hand, rendered invaluable services to Vishy Anand, which helped the latter to become World Champion or retain his title. Both these players must have come to the tournament with grim determination to perform to their true potential and become the Asian Champion.
Wei Yi (2629) and Abhijeet Gupta (2630)
While age is not the common factor amongst these two players, their strength is. Almost equally rated both these players have a lot of achievements to their credit. Wei Yi has the amazing distinction of become the youngest player in the history of chess to break in 2600, at the age of 14 years and four months. The ease with which he beat Nepomniachtchi and Shirov in World Cup 2013 just shows his immense talent. Even Garry Kasparov has made a note of him as a rising star.
On the other hand Abhijeet Gupta has a penchant for winning tournaments. He became the Junior World Champion in 2008, and has won many prestigious events, like the Prasvanath International Open, the Commonwealth Chess Championships, the Al Ain Classic, the Philadelphia Open – and the list continues. Just to make my task easier I can direct you to his newly launched website to know more about his achievements.
To the not so observant viewer, this might seem like an India-China match. However there are two more spots left in the top ten seeds and they are taken up by players from Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
Rustam Kasimdzhanov is the second seed of the event with a rating of 2693. He already won the World Cup in 2004 and become the FIDE World Chess Champion. He worked for many years as Vishy Anand’s second and helped him in his bid to become the World Champion. The list of top ten seeds is completed by Nguyen Ngoc Truongson (2621) who is one of the best players from Vietnam after Le Quang Liem.
The Indians have sent a very strong contingent with all of their four young talents in the form of Vidit Gujrathi (2601, top left), B Adhiban (2609, top right), Lalith Babu (2594, bottom left) and S.P. Sethuraman (2578, bottom right) taking part in this year’s Asian Continental. These four youngsters are marching ahead as a unit when it comes to their ratings, and all of them are a grave threat to the top ten seeds of the tournament.
|3||18||GM||Ghaem Maghami Ehsan||IRI||2556||3.0||2490|
|11||48||Chu Wei Chao||CHN||2315||2.0||2505|
|12||17||GM||Salem A.R. Saleh||UAE||2561||2.0||2470|
|16||33||GM||Shyam Sundar M.||IND||2481||2.0||2248|
|37||GM||Vishnu Prasanna. V||IND||2465||2.0||2576|
|24||7||GM||Ganguly Surya Shekhar||IND||2631||2.0||2513|
|26||10||GM||Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son||VIE||2621||2.0||2502|
|29||11||GM||Vidit Santosh Gujrathi||IND||2610||2.0||2415|
With the top five Chinese women Hou Yifan, Xie Jun, Zhao Xue, Ju Wenjun and Ruan Lufei, and the top two Indian women Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika, not taking part in this year’s Asian Continental women championship, the strength of the tournament is quite diminished. Yet it boasts of a decent rating average of 2141, with 32 players in the field. The first prize is US $3000.
Chinese WGM Tan Zhongyi, rated 2488, is the top seed in the Women’s Section
IM Munguntuul Batkhuyag (2432) from Mongolian is the second seed
IM Tania Sachdev (2427), who has recently achieved
great success in chess teaching
through her DVD “Improve your chess with Tania Sachdev”, is the third seed
|1||17||WGM||Nguyen Thi Thanh An||VIE||2237||2.5||2494|
|3||12||WGM||Sukandar Irine Kharisma||INA||2319||2.5||2349|
|10||13||WIM||Nguyen Thi Mai Hung||VIE||2312||2.0||1623|
|12||15||WGM||Hoang Thi Bao Tram||VIE||2280||2.0||2166|
|14||5||WGM||Gomes Mary Ann||IND||2386||1.5||2436|
|16||18||WIM||Hoang Thi Nhu Y||VIE||2207||1.5||2277|
|20||9||IM||Pham Le Thao Nguyen||VIE||2332||1.5||1990|
On 19th April after the 3rd round, a blitz championship will be held, with a first prize of US $1500. The time control of the event is 3 minutes + 2 sec increment. GM Pentala Harikrishna from India, with an ELO of 2726 the fourth highest rated player in Asia after Anand, Wang Hao and Wesley So, will take part in the Asian Continental Blitz Championship. He will be the hot favourite to win the title.
13th Asian Continental Open and Wome's Chess Championship Round 1
13th Asian Continental Open and Wome's Chess Championship Round 2
13th Asian Continental Open and Wome's Chess Championship Round 3
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