Arjun Erigaise starts as favourite in Delhi International Open

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National Champion, Grandmaster Arjun Erigaise is the top seed and favourite for the crown in the 19th edition of the Delhi International Open Chess Tournament that kickstarts at the Tivoli Garden resorts here on Tuesday.

The event that could not be held in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic is back albeit with a few changes because of the pandemic. So while there used to be three events with over one crore rupees as prize money, this time there is only a single event with Rs 25 lakh as prize purse, the organisers informed in a release on Monday.

Defending champion of 2020, Grandmaster and five-time Commonwealth Champion, Abhijeet Gupta is also back in the fray and starts as the third seed behind Pavel Ponkratov of Russia.

The event will be played over ten rounds with approximately 300 players in the fray. The field includes players from 12 countries apart from India and a total of 21 GMs, three Women Grandmasters (WGM), 26 International Masters (IM) and six Women International Masters (WIM).

“The past two years have not been the kind for offline chess tournaments but suddenly we have a flurry of International events now,” said Bharat Singh Chauhan, Secretary, All India Chess Federation (AICF).

After this event, the caravan will move to Ahmedabad for the final installment of triple GM International events in India.

With India winning the bid to host the Chess Olympiad to be played later this year at Chennai, the AICF will be hosting three more international events in May-June will be a sort of curtain-raiser for the Olympiad, the biggest chess event to be played in the country.

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