A bunch of Indian players including the talented, young Grandmasters D Gukesh and R Praggnanandhaa will be in action at the Chess World Cup to be held here from July 30 to August 24.

Up for grabs at the tournament featuring both men and women would be qualification for the 2024 Candidates tournaments (held to decide the challenger for the World Chess Championship).

Gukesh and Praggnanandhaa, both aged 17, would enter the tournament in the second round having been handed byes in the first round.

Gukesh would begin his campaign against the winner of the match between Cheng Bobby and Iskandrov Mistradin and could run into compatriot S L Narayanan in the third round if the latter manages to come through two matches.

Praggnanandhaa would take on the winner of the contest between Santiago Yago De Moura and Maxime Lagarde in round two.

The fast-improving Arjun Erigaisi, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, Nihal Sarin, B Adhiban, Abhimanyu Puranik and Harsha Bharatakoti are among other Indians in the fray.

In the women`s tournament, the Indian challenge would be spearheaded by the experienced Koneru Humpy and D Harika, who will enter the event in round two after receiving byes in the first round.

R Vaishali, sister of Praggnanandhaa, Mary Ann Gomes, P V Nandhidhaa and Divya Deshmukh will also be part of the women`s draw.

The 2023 World Cup would see the top three instead of the top two from each section qualifying for the forthcoming Candidates tournament, which will take place next April in Toronto, Canada.

World No. 1 and top-seed Magnus Carlsen would be eyeing a first ever triumph in the World Cup.

Current world champion Ding Liren and world No. 6 Alireza Firouzja would not be seen in action in the tournament.

The top names participating, apart from Carlsen, include Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Anish Giri, Wesley So and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave as well as the local favourites — Azerbaijan`s heavyweights and the top world players — the 2019 World Cup winner Teimour Radjabov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov as well the defending champion Jan-Krzysztof Duda of Poland.

In the women`s section, all eyes will be on Ju Wenjun, the reigning world champion, and Aleksandra Goryachkina. The challenge is likely to come from former women`s world champions Alexandra Kosteniuk (who won the inaugural Women`s World Cup, in 2021), Tan Zhongyi, Mariya Muzychuk and Anna Ushenina, as well as top players such as Koneru, Kateryna Lagno and Anna Muzychuk.

Also Read: International Chess Day 2023: When Magnus Carlsen claimed India is on track to become a leading chess nation

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