Focus on Praggnanandhaa as India begin campaign in chess at Asian Games – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The spotlight will be on the young Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa in the chess competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games, especially after his recent impressive performances in the World Cup. India is eager to secure several medals to boost their overall tally.
The 18-year-old Praggnanandhaa is a vital member of the strong team participating in the team event, which will be played under standard time control. He is joined by fellow teenager and Grandmaster D Gukesh, forming a formidable duo as India seeks the gold medal.
These two young talents are expected to lead India’s quest for the top prize, given their recent strong form. They will receive solid support from experienced players like P Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, and the rapidly improving Arjun Erigaisi.
The individual event, played in a rapid format, will kick off on Sunday, followed by the team event.
In the men’s individual event, Gujrathi and Erigaisi will represent India, while Koneru Humpy and D Harika will do so in the women’s section.
Koneru Humpy, a two-time gold medalist at the Asian Games and India’s top women’s player, will be a prominent figure in the women’s competition. She aims to add another medal to her collection as chess makes its return to the continental event after a 13-year hiatus.
Praggnanandhaa, who recently faced world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen in the World Cup final in Baku, hopes to replicate his success in Hangzhou and contribute to India’s pursuit of a gold medal.
Gukesh, currently the highest-ranked Indian player, is eager to secure an Asian Games medal and will play a crucial role in the team’s performance.
The strong men’s team also includes Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi, and P Harikrishna, making them favorites to clinch the gold.
In the individual event, Humpy and Harika will face stiff competition from Chinese players, while in the team event, India has the potential to contend for medals if their experienced stars live up to expectations.
However, it won’t be an easy task, as other nations like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam also possess the potential to perform strongly. Additionally, the formidable Chinese team, which includes former world champions, is the clear favorite.
According to N Srinath, one of the coaches with the team, tough competition is expected from China and Uzbekistan in both the individual and team events, but the team’s preparation has been solid.
The chess competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games will consist of nine rounds each in the individual and team competitions, with four gold medals up for grabs: women’s team and individual, and men’s team and individual.
Indian teams: Men: D Gukesh, Vidit Gujrathi, Arjun Erigaisi, P Harikrishna and R Praggnanandhaa.
Women: Koneru Humpy, D Harika, R Vaishali, Vantika Aggarwal and B Savitha Shri.
(With PTI inputs)

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