The city will play to host to one of the biggest chess events in Asia in terms the number of Grandmasters taking part in it. The Ross Valley Open international chess tournament will have 36 GMs and five WGMs and will be played in an 11-round Swiss league system at the Gorky Sadan from Monday.
Super GM from Poland Radoslav Wojtaszek with a FIDE rating of 2734 will be the top seed. Incidentally, Wojtaszek and GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India worked as seconds to World Champion GM Viswanathan Anand in the last three world title matches.
GM Le Quang Liem (2705) of Vietnam will be the second seed and will be followed by GM Anton Korobov (2702) of Ukraine, GM Sergei Tiviakov (2663) of the Netherlands and GM Abhijit Gupta (2662) of India.
The meet offers a total prize fund of Rs. 12,00,000. The winner prize money will be Rs. 3.5 lakh. The runner-up and the third place winner will receive Rs. 2.5 and Rs. 1.5 lakh each.
Bengal is expected to field four GMs and 2 WGMs. Ganguly, who had won a strong tournament in Dubai, will remain the star attraction along with the top seed. Another Bengal lad, GM Sandipan Chanda, is expected to keep the local interest alive in this meet.
Players from Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Georgia, Italy, Moldova, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, the United States and host India are taking part in the tournament.
As many as nine world age group world champions will also be in fray. They are Sayantan Das (former U-12), Vidit Santosh Gujrathi (former U-14), B. Adhiban (former U-16), Padmini Rout (former U-14 girls), Abhijeet Gupta and Adly Ahmed (Egypt)( both former junior champion), Sahaj Grover (former U-19) and Karthikayan Murali (former U-12).
Speaking on the occasion, the State sports minister, Madan Mitra, urged the Alekhine Chess Club to produce more GMs from Bengal. “We must set a target of 15 GMs by 2020 from the present five. This effort will automatically raise the standard of the game in the State and in the country,’’ he said.
Radek Wojtaszek (Poland, 2734), Le Quang Liem (Vietnam, 2705), Anton Korobov (Ukraine, 2702), Sergei Tiviakov (Net, 2663), Abhijit Gupta (Ind, 2662), Ni Hua (Chn, 2660), Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Geo, 2639), S. S. Ganguly (Ind, 2630), Maxim Turov (Rus, 2630), Viorel Lordachescu (Mol, 2619), Sandipan Chanda (Ind, 2613), Adly Ahmed (Egy, 2607), Alberto David (Ita, 2607), Oleksienko Mikhailo (Ukr, 2573) and B. Adhiban (Ind, 2567) are some of the players taking part in the tournament.