Even as world champion Viswanathan Anand gives the premier tournament a miss in view of his pending world championship match against Israeli Boris Gelfand later this year, the Indian interest in the first high category event remains with participation of as many as five Indians in the B and C group.
International Master Sahaj Grover is likely to be the cynosure of all eyes in the C group with his nonchalant playing style that saw him finishing second in the London Classic FIDE open.
Harika and Harikrishna are the two Indians in the B group while Grover, Tania Sachdev and qualifier B Adhiban will vie for top honours in the C group that’s held simultaneously.
The A group sans Anand, will still reach the peak in terms of strength as the average ELo is highest ever. However, five times winner Anand’s absence is something that will be sorely missed.
Harikrishna has played in the tournament few times already without great success and its time to set the records straight. Given the field, the Indian has a fair chance of escalating himself to the top group if he wins and going by the record books, he is ready to give his best shot this time.
For Harika, it’s going to be a tough contest amidst many high class players and the Andhra girl should be happy to gain some experience along with some worth while ELO points.
The main Indian interest lies in the C group where both Grover and Adhiban have a big chance to prove themselves.
Adhiban, a former national champion made it to the tournament thanks to his brilliant performance in one of the qualifiers while Grover was invited thanks to his performance in the qualifier of 2010. Since then, the Delhi based youngster has come a long way and will be looking forward to become the first Indian to win this group.
All events have fourteen players and there will be thirteen rounds in all apart from three rest days. The longer format promises dividends to players who hold better stamina. Harikrishna remains a top contender in the ‘B’ group while in the ‘C’ Indian hopes are pinned on Adhiban and Grover.