Nineteen GMs, ten WGMs in 16th Asian team chess championship
December 20th, 2009 – 1:06 am ICT by IANS

Kolkata, Dec 16 (IANS) As many as 19 Grand Masters and 10 Women’s Grand Masters are among the 100-odd players taking part in the $5,000 16th Asian team chess championships that begin here Sunday, though defending champions China will be missing.Being held in the eastern metropolis for the first time, the tourney would see 10 countries, including the hosts, in action, with the men’s and women’s champions being richer by $1,000 and $700 respectively. Besides India, who won the title in 2005, nine other countries are Indonesia, Iran, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Nepal, Singapore and Mongolia.

The historic Town Hall in the city centre will be the venue, with India’s P. Harikrishna being the highest rated player with an Elo rating of 2,672. Harikrishna is closely followed by teammates K. Sashikiran (2,664) and Surya Sekhar Ganguly (2,654), Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem (2,624), India’s Parimarjan Negi (2,620) and another Vietnamese, Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (2,616).

Among the promising juniors, all eyes will be focused on reigning Asian junior girls’ champion Orissa’s Padmini Rout and world junior girls’ title holder Soumya Swaminathan.

While Sasikiran will captain Indian Team A, Satyapragyan (2,480) will lead Team B, as the host country is eligible to field two sides. On the women’s side, D.Harika (2,467) will captain Team A while Nisha Mohota (2,351) will lead Team B in the tourney. Union Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the competition Sunday and the matches begin Monday.


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