Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand will face fellow Indian Raunak Sadhwani in the first round of the Isle of Man International Chess tournament that gets underway on Sunday.
The teenager Sadhwani is likely to get the experience of his life by playing against one of his idols in the classical chess format.
The chess.com Isle of Man International is touted as the toughest open of the world even though the top four players on the current rating list are giving it a miss.
The top two – Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of United States – are not present as they play the next World Championship contest in less than two weeks.
In spite of the absence of top four, the world’s 5-11 top rated players are here and that makes a very impressive list, boasting of stalwarts like Levon Aronian of Armenia, Anish Giri of Holland, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France and Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
Add to that Anand and American duo of Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura and this tournament has the biggest names in the chess world, sans the two highest rated.
The Indian interest is not limited to Anand in the finest open event that has just 165 participants, that includes 35 from India. This includes a mixed field with Vidit Gujrathi as the second highest rated Indian in the fray and IM norm seekers like Dushyant Sharma and Pranav Anand trying to make an impression against tough opposition.
The presence of Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa who are both Grandmasters in their early teens adds some more value to the event while GMs like Vaibhav Suri and Debashish Das would like to make an impression.